Best Hikes in Chippewa National Forest (MN)

Chippewa National Forest Overview

Chippewa National Forest, located in northern Minnesota, was the first national forest established east of the Mississippi River in 1908. Over 400,000 acres of the Chippewa National Forest are actually lakes and wetlands. The Chippewa contains two of Minnesota’s five largest lakes, and eight different types of wetlands each with distinct plant and animal life. The Forest is one of the largest breeding areas of bald eagles in the lower-48 states. Eagles can often be viewed soaring over the larger lakes. Fishing is the most popular recreational activity attracting visitors to the forest. However, the best hikes in Chippewa National Forest below are worth a visit.

Nearest Metro AreaDuluth, MN
Area Size672,167 acres
EstablishedMay 23, 1908
Hiking Trails160 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Chippewa National Forest

(*** = Best hikes in Chippewa National Forest)

Cut Foot Sioux Trail – 18 mile loop
Cut Foot Sioux, Photo by Joe Calhoun

An extension of the Simpson Creek Trail, this is an 18-mile loop along old Forest Roads with gravel and sand. Access from the Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center or the Highway 46 Wayside rest 5 miles north of the Center.

Lost 40 Loop*** – 1.4 mile loop
Lost 40
Lost 40, Photo by Joe Passe

A one-mile, self-guided trail winds its way through the towering pines of the Lost 40. Minnesota was one of the largest timber-producing states in the country in the late 1800s, but 144 acres of red and white pines went untouched by loggers when a surveying error mapped the area as part of Coddington Lake. The survey crew’s error in 1882, became one of Minnesota’s greatest treasures. Today, less than two percent of Minnesota’s forested land contains old growth timber. The Lost 40 pines are 300-400 years old, originating when the pilgrims came to America. The trees remain as remnants of the natural resources that drew people to new frontiers and shaped America’s character. 

Featured Image: Chippewa National Forest, Photo by US Forest Service

Don’t forget to stock up on the essentials before you plan your next hiking or camping trip! We have recommendations on: