U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Chippewa National Forest


Custom Search

Forest Information

he Chippewa National Forest is located in north-central Minnesota. It is comprised of 665,694 acres. There are 24 developed campgrounds, 22 of which meet the selection criteria.

The Chippewa National Forest, originally named Minnesota National Forest, was established in 1908. It was the first National Forest established east of the Mississippi. The history of the area ranges from pre-historical through the logging of the area to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. Examples of the rich and varied history of the area can be found throughout the Forest, in the little museums, along trails, and at roadside displays. But the Chippewa is more than a history lesson, a wide variety of recreational opportunities and some outstanding camping locations make this Forest a great place for either a family camping vacations or to enjoy the peace and solitude of a delightful National Forest.

With over 700 lakes, 920 miles of streams, and 150,000 acres of wetland, water is the Chippewa's dominate feature. The Forest has over 420 miles of canoe routes and 291 miles of other trails. These trails give visitors an excellent opportunity to view the Forest closeup.

Just east of the little community of Cass Lake is a cluster of four campground loops in the Norway Beach Recreation Area. These nicely developed camping locations can accommodate car, tent, recreational vehicle (RV) and motorhome camping enthusiasts, as well as, folks looking for a variety of water-related activities. The Norway Beach Visitor Center also provides a means of entertaining young people of all ages with several interactive exhibits. Northeast of this area is the enormous Lake Winnibigoshish (a.k.a. Lake Winnie) and another assortment of camping locations. It must be said Lake Winnie is three times the size of Cass Lake and, where the campgrounds at Cass Lake as close to each other, Lake Winnie's various camping locations are more scattered around the Lake. Leech Lake, the third largest lake in the Chippewa, must be mentioned. Not only is there great fishing and wildlife viewing here but the RV/motorhome friendly Stony Point camping is located on the banks of Leech Lake. Nice long parking aprons, electric hook-ups, and individual family bathrooms with all the modern conveniences, make this another popular location for family camping vacations.

White pine grow to their full majestic glory towering over the robust forest of Red and Jack pines, elms, maples, and oaks. The forest floor is home to a large community of animals but the White pines are home for the Bald eagle. The combination of healthy lakes and numerous White pine provide the Chippewa National Forest an ideal environment for the Bald Eagle. The Forest boasts of being home for some 1,500 breeding pairs of our National bird.

Chippewa National Forest contains one of the country's few remaining, semi-intact Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps - Camp Rabideau, south of Black Duck, MN. The Camp was built and established by Company 3749 from Bennet Springs, Missouri from August 1935 to January 1936. This Company was relocated to California afterwhich Minnesota Company 708 assumed responsibility for the Camp. Company 708 remained at Rabideau, performing work projects until the end of 1941. In 1945, the camp was leased to the University of Illinois for engineer and forestry students and eventually the Chippewa National Forest took responsibility for the Camp.

Another example of CCC workmanship is the Chippewa National Forest Headquarters building. It was built in 1935 from local Red pine and is a three story, 8,500 square foot structure. The stairway railing was constructed by hand fitting selected maple trees and limbs that had been damaged by frost. The pride in workmanship by the CCC is most evident in this unique structure.

Whether the visitor comes to observe a Bald eagle soar high above, observe wildlife, fish for Walleye, hike one of the numerous trails, study the unique examples of CCC workmanship, or work on perfecting their marshmallow roasting technique, the Chippewa National Forest is ready to satisfy.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS Route 3 P.O.B. 244 Cass Lake, Minnesota 56633 218-335-8631 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Blackduck HC 3, Box 95 417 Forestry Dr. Blackduck, Minnesota 56630 218-835-4291 Deer River P.O.B. 308 1037 Division St. Hwy. 6 North Deer River, Minnesota 56636 218-246-2123 Marcell 49554 State Hwy. 38 Marcell, Minnesota 56657 218-832-3161 Walker HCR 73, Box 15 201 Minnesota Ave., East Walker, Minnesota 56484 218-547-1044

Fred and Suzi Dow