Welcome to Bemidji & Chippewa National Forest
Chippewa National Forest, a sprawling pine patch with 21 campgrounds, 160 miles of hiking trails, 1300 lakes, bald eagle habitats and Ojibwe lands, is a prime place to get in on the action. The small town of Cass Lake, home to the park's headquarters, provides a good starting point.
On the western edge of the forest, tidy Bemidji is an old lumber town with a well-preserved downtown and an enormous, photo-op statue of logger Paul Bunyan and his faithful blue ox, Babe.
Also in the region is Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River begins its epic journey. The headwaters are surprisingly puny – so puny you can wade across them.