A trip and a tank full

The Chippewa National Forest puts on a dramatic show of fall color when the weather begins to cool. The fall season is a favorite for visitors who want to take in the gold tamaracks, red maples, campfires, and cool breezes of the season. The Chippewa National Forest offers miles of scenic byways to travel, as well as colorful trails. After a busy summer, many visitors seek out a quiet drive through the colorful autumn forest.

Paved Scenic Drives:

Deer River/ Marcell Area:

Avenue of the Pines State Scenic Byway: 17 miles | Lake Winnie to S. Lake, Minn.

  • From the junction of County Road 9 (the Winnie Dam road) and County Road 46, travel north on 46 along the Avenue of the Pines past Cut Foot Sioux Recreation Area and north to S. Lake.

Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway: 47 miles | Grand Rapids to Bigfork, Minn.

  • Self-guided interpretive tour along the way, watch for green Discovery Site markers.

Blackduck/ Cass Lake  Area:

Ladyslipper Scenic Byway: 26 miles | Hwy 2 to Blackduck, Minn.

  • Very popular in early summer when the Showy Ladyslippers bloom, this is also a wonderful autumn drive. The byway takes you past Knutson Dam, Webster Lake and Camp Rabideau.

Walker Area:

Lake Country Scenic Byway: 67 miles | Walker to Detroit Lakes, Minn.

  • A short section within the National Forest, stop and enjoy the view at Shingobee Hills.  

Backcountry and Unpaved Scenic Drives:

Walker Area:

Woodtick Trail : 13 miles  | Longville to Hackensack, Minn.

  • The Trail is actually a maintained gravel road that runs along the southern border of the Forest. Great wildlife viewing. Bring a Motor Vehicle Use map to track the smaller roads off the Woodtick.     

County Road 50: 8 miles | Walker to Hackensack, Minn.

  • A short winding drive through mixed hardwood forest and along the Shingobee River. Starts just south of Walker and ends north of Hackensack near the Woodtick Trail.

Deer River Area:

County 8 and Tamarack Point: 12 miles | Bena to Winnie Dam, Minn.

  • Take County Road 8 off either Highway 46 or Highway 2 near Bena, MN. Travel Co 9 (also known as the Winnie Dam Road) to Tamarack Point off State 46.          

Favorite Picnic Spots

Cool breezes and brilliant tones of maples, aspens and oaks make for a relaxing day in northern Minnesota. Pack up your picnic basket and enjoy one of these favorite spaces on the Chippewa National Forest.

Blackduck Area:

Benjamin Lake Wayside Rest | Highway 39, Ladyslipper Scenic Byway

  • Picnic tables and campfire rings available.

North Twin Lake Picnic Area | Highway 39, Ladyslipper Scenic Byway

  • Picnic tables and campfire rings available.

Lost 40 and Dora Lake Picnic Area | County Road 29

  • Picnic tables at Lost Forty Parking area, also nice to picnic along trail in old growth pines.
  • Dora Lake Picnic Area has tables and campfire rings. We like to picnic at the boat access too!

Camp Rabideau Picnic Shelter  | Highway 39, Ladyslipper Scenic Byway

  • Tour the National Historic Landmark and then relax at the CCC-built picnic shelter.

Walker Area:

Shingobee Hills Recreation Area  | Highway 34, Lake Country Scenic Byway

  • Picnic tables next to chalet or bring some chairs to picnic at the top of the hill.
  • Picnic tables also available at the wayside rest, just west of the sledding hill road.

Lake Erin Wayside | Highway 371 south of Walker, Minn.

  • Hike this short trail before sitting down at the picnic tables at this little wayside rest.

Mabel Lake Picnic Area | Highway 200, near Remer

  • Beautiful little beach and picnic area here along Mabel Lake. The campground is next to the picnic area.

Deer River Area:

Birches Picnic Area | County Road 8

  • Enjoy the view of Lake Winnibigoshish from this CCC-built picnic shelter.

Laurentian Divide Wayside | Highway 38, Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway

  • Highway 38 is known for fall color. Enjoy the brilliant yellow birch and aspen of the boreal forest.

Cass Lake Area:

Norway Beach Picnic Area | Highway 2 five miles east of Cass Lake, Minn.

  • Picnic along the shores of Cass Lake. The log picnic shelter is reservable through Recreation.gov for large groups. Picnic tables and fire grates available throughout picnic area. 

South Pike Bay Picnic Area is a great stop along the Migizi bike trail next to South Pike Bay campground.

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