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Backwoods Adventures in the Grand Rapids MN Area

There is something very special about traveling the backwoods of northern Minnesota, and Grand Rapids has lots of backwoods to seek adventure!

In the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area there are over 1,300 miles of roads to travel, and most of them can be considered backwoods roads. Below is a couple of scenic drives that will take you on backwoods roads:

Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway

The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway is 47 miles long and connects Grand Rapids to Effie, Minnesota. This windy and rolling hills byway is one that you will want to take your time to enjoy the scenery. Most of the byway has a speed limit of 40 miles per hour. There are 14 historic places to discover hidden natural and cultural history of northern Minnesota. You will want to make sure to plan a stop at the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center in Marcell.

Scenic 7

Hwy 7 is also known as Scenic 7 for those of us who live in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area and travel east on Hwy 169 that accesses Hwy 7. It is not a national byway, but it sure has a lot of scenery to view along the drive. You will find many gas stations, convenient stores, restaurants, lodging facilities and the Scenic State Park on this route.

Here are some backwoods adventure stops you will want to plan for along your drive:

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center

Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center is a worth the drive north of Grand Rapids. The staffed interpretive center has many native northern Minnesota animal mounts. They offer FREE naturalist programs June-August, Thursday-Saturday. They rent out a cabin called Marcell Lodge that is located on Lake Ranier. They rent canoes and kayaks to use on Lake Ranier on the Discovery Center property. They also have a great gift shop for you to purchase a souvenir of your trip up north.

Chippewa National Forest

Chippewa National Forest located in the heart of northern Minnesota, is a celebration of seasons, culture and environment.  Within the Chippewa National Forest, we have a few places we think that you should stop: Laurentian Divide is a great place to take a hike in the woods, stop for a picnic and read about this historic site. The Joyce Estates is also located with the Chippewa National Forest. It is a great place to hike or bike in (preferably mountain or fat tire bikes). The trail is mowed grass into the Joyce Estates and it is approximately 8 miles round trip. What is still remaining is a couple of cabins and other structures from the early 1900’s family complex.

Lost Forty

The Lost Forty is located approximately one hour and 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. If you like hiking and being in nature, then the drive is well worth you time. Grab a box lunch at the Pinecone Restaurant in Marcell and have a picnic once you get there on one of their picnic tables. There is a nice 2 mile loop hike that will take you amongst tall pine trees that are over 200 years old. Very scenic area.

Scenic State Park

Scenic State Park is a Minnesota state park near Bigfork in Itasca County. It encompasses 3,936 acres of virgin pine forests that surround Coon and Sandwick Lakes. It also includes portions of Lake of the Isles, Tell Lake, Cedar Lake and Pine Lake. It is located 40 miles north of Grand Rapids. They offer FREE naturalist programs on Saturdays.

here are some of our favorite backwoods places to dine:

Dining in the Backwoods

Along the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway (aka Hwy 38) you will find Cedar Creek Grille which is located only 10 minutes north of Grand Rapids offers homestyle meals, homemade from scratch, great steaks, salads, sandwiches. They also have a full service bar and beautiful patio area with outdoor fireplace. The Pinecone Restaurant is a great place to grab breakfast or lunch. They make made from scratch recipes and their pie is to die for! Timberwolf Inn is located in Bigfork on Hwy 38. They have onsite lodging rooms, and serve chef inspired meals. Great northwoods ambiance and a nice outdoor patio area to enjoy on warm summer days.  Up the Scenic 7 (aka Hwy 7 north of Hyw 169) has some great little diners to stop and grab a meal. Balsam Cafe offers a full menu in a cozy and simple diner setting. Scenic Pines Bar & Grill is a great place to grab lunch or dinner. They have a northwoods atmosphere, full service bar, and great steaks.

Lodging in the Backwoods

There is great places to stay in the backwoods of northern Minnesota. This is your opportunity to disconnect from the everyday responsibilities, and reconnect with your loved ones. These Minnesota Family Resorts and lake home properties are just what the Doctor ordered to help reduce the stress of life. Come together in Minnesota’s nature at one of these great lodging properties:

Pine Acres Resort

Pine Acres Resort – This Minnesota resort is beautifully secluded among 13 acres of tall majestic pines on the Scenic Byway, yet ideally located within a short distance of many modern conveniences such as shopping, dining, all the local attractions and treated as a special guest at our own hair salon.

Wildwood Resort

Wildwood Resort – Wildwood is a year round family vacation resort located on Bass Lake near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. A Minnesota family resort offers 9 lakeside cabins all at lake-level with knotty pine interiors, fully furnished kitchens, modern bathrooms and convenient amenities. Five of the nine offerings are brand new luxury “lodges”.

Moose Lake Resort

Moose Lake Resort – Located 20 miles north of Grand Rapids (and 10 miles from Deer River) on Moose Lake. The resort features 12 cabins nicely spaced along 1200 feet of shoreline, and 40 acres of land. Cabins include either two or three bedrooms, and most are located within 20 feet of the shoreline for easy lake access and beautiful water views.


Buckhorn on Caribou Lake

Buckhorn on Caribou Lake – Located 23 miles north of Grand Rapids in the Chippewa National Forest near the Laurentian Divide and Soumi Hills trails. Three beautifully hand-crafted log lodges available year round at Caribou Lake. Each has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a sauna. Perfect for family gatherings! Log homes come equipped with a full kitchen, stone fireplace, yard, private docks and swimming area.

Jessie View Resort

Jessie View Resort – Relax and enjoy beautiful northern Minnesota at the only 4-season resort and campground on Big Jessie Lake. Offering 7 large cabins (ranging from studio to 5 bedrooms) and an RV Park, Jessie View Resort is located 32 miles northwest of Grand Rapids in the Chippewa National Forest.

Loon’s Landing Resort

Loon’s Landing on Big Jessie Lake – Nestled alongside beautiful Jessie Lake, Loon’s Landing sits on over 15 acres of gorgeous lakeside property. With 580 feet of shoreline, a large beautiful sandy beach and loons singing in the background, you are sure to have a relaxing vacation at Loon’s Landing.

Bowstring Shores

Bowstring Shores – A classic year round, northern Minnesota resort on the shores of Bowstring Lake. 13 vacation cabins with full kitchens and ample dock space at the 160-foot fishing dock. Resort amenities include heated outdoor pool and sun deck, lodging with games, book, and snacks, on-site laundry facilities, large children’s playground and kayaks.

Marcell Lodge

Marcell Lodge – The Marcell Lodge is the perfect northwoods getaway and is the newest lodging opportunity in the Edge of the Wilderness area! The Lodge is located close to great dining, terrific hiking, biking, family programs, great fishing, and more. It comes with a FREE boat use, canoe, and paddle boat. It has its own private swimming area and dock.


Loon Point Resort

Loon Point Resort – A top notch resort located only 35 miles northeast of Grand Rapids on the beautiful, scenic Wasson Lake.  Loon Point Resort is a very private and quiet resort – the only resort on the lake AND no public access to the lake.  Wasson Lake is a 420 acre lake that is noted for trophy size large mouth and small mouth bass, northern pike, crappie and bluegill.  You will have 9 distinctive cabins to choose from: log style cabins, private lake home, and seasonal cabins.


Rising Eagle Resort

Rising Eagle Resort – Welcome to Rising Eagle Resort.  We are a family ran resort located on the North west end of Jessie Lake in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest.   Currently we have 7 rentals available from Opening fishing in May all the way thru Deer hunting in the end of Nov.  Our location is perfect for those who want to ‘get a way’ from it all.





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