Chippewa National Forest – Shingobee to Co. 50 day hike
Why go there? The trail passes through a diverse forest, including planted red pines, mature hardwood-conifer forests along the Shingobee River, and crosses a bog on the famous Anoway Lake troll bridge.
- This is a great section to tackle on snowshoes in winter, although snowshoers are asked to please not walk on the set XC ski track
- Fine views from atop the Shingobee sliding hill, from the Anoway Lake bridge, and from Co. Rd. 50
- Historic Shingobee Winter Playground Area
- Route of the Walker North Country Marathon
Flora / fauna of the area: This area is very characteristic of Minnesota’s famed “Northwoods.” It contains a mixed forest of spruce-fir, aspen, and planted pines. Wildlife abound and includes white-tailed deer, black bear, fisher, and a variety of birds. If you’re lucky, you’ll see signs of wolves on the trail and spot a bald eagle above Shingobee River.
Geology of the area: The Shingobee River flows from Williams Lake northeast through a shallow valley into Leech Lake, Minnesota’s 3rd largest lake. This area was heavily glaciated.
Land ownership:Chippewa National Forest
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Directions to and GPS Coordinates for trailheads:
- Shingobee Recreation Area trailhead: From Walker, head southwest on State Hwy 34 approximately 5 miles and look for signs for the Shingobee Rec. Area, which is on the south side of the road. The side trail from the trailhead leaves from the eastern most corner of field just in from the parking area. Look for a Carsonite post with the NCT emblem. GPS Coordinates: N 47° 2’14.97″ W 94°38’35.07″
- To reach the Co. Rd. 50 trailhead, head southwest from Walker on State Hwy 34 and then turn south on Cass Co. 50 and follow it south for about 5 miles. The trailhead parking area is located on the east side of the road just past the Shingobee River crossing and across from a spur trail from the Paul Bunyan State Trail. GPS Coordinates: N 47° 1’44.85″ W 94°35’45.01″
General route description: From the Shingobee (Ojibwe for cedar bows) Recreation Area parking area, head east on the marked side trail that parallels State Hwy 34 to its intersection with the North Country Trail and take a right. Along the way to Co. Rd. 50 the trail will pass through Red Pine plantations, over the scenic Anoway Lake bridge, and along the Shingobee River valley. This section of Trail is utilized for the Walker North Country Marathon each September so it is maintained to be a bit wider than usual and part of it is groomed for XC skiing in the winter. You’re almost guaranteed to see Bald Eagles and wolf sign on this hike.
Trail map:Map MN-9
Camping information: Camping and lodging is available in the nearby community of Walker while backcountry tent camping is also available on the NCT anywhere on National Forest lands. A designated backcountry campsite is located .
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