One of the most beautiful places to visit in the US is Superior National Forest! Miles and miles of trees, lakes, and streams make this area a nature lover's dream. So enter Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota and discover why people return year after year to this serene destination!
About The Forest
In the 1800s, loggers and miners flocked to the area in search of lumber, copper, nickel, and platinum, which were plentiful in the area. Many hoped to strike it rich by becoming successful loggers and miners. But as time went on, the forest's resources started to disappear as people took them from the area. It was feared that the almost 3-million acre forest would disappear. Efforts were made to protect the forest and to ensure that it would grow instead of shrink. Now it is the fourth largest national forest in the nation and the 8th most visited! It’s so popular, it even ties with the Mall of America as the number one attraction in Minnesota. Water bodies make up much of this forest, with more than 2,000 lakes and streams. There are a total of 440,000 acres of lake and 3,400 miles of stream! This clean, natural water source nourishes the pines, firs, and spruce trees, and provides hydration for moose, grey wolves, black bear, and many other animals that call this forest home.
Whether you’re looking for a glamping experience or want to rough it, Superior National Forest has tons of options! Most of the camping areas are rugged, backwoods areas that make it easy for you to connect with nature. There’s nothing more peaceful than being out in the woods with minimal people around!
Located at the East Bearskin Campground, you’ll find great cabins to rent! They sleep anywhere from 5-7 people and offer bunks, wooden bed platforms, and foam mattresses. You will need to bring sleeping bags and cooking equipment, such as a portable outdoor grill, as there isn't a stove or running water. There also isn't a bathroom, but there are outhouses that the entire campground shares.
With close to 60 different campgrounds, tent and RV camping accommodations are easy to find! These campgrounds vary from rustic to modern and everything in between. We’ve highlighted a few of them for you, but there are plenty more to choose from.
- Iron Lake Campground
This small, unique campground offers sights you don’t get to see every day. Having burned in 2007, you can still today see some of the remnants of the fire today. There are only 7 campsites for both RVs and tents and they offer drinking water and vault toilets. There is a carry-down canoe launch area, so bring yours along if you have one! Iron Lake is great for catching walleye and northern pike, and blueberries grow through out the area!
- McDougal Lake Campground
McDougal Lake Campground offers 21 campsites, some of which are long-term sites. They have drive-in sites for those with RVs or if you'd like to have your vehicle close by, or hike-in spots for tent campers! Here you will find a great picnic area, potable water, a boat ramp, and scenic overlooks! After hiking the beautiful one-mile long trail, jump in the nice swimming area to cool off.
- Fall Lake Campground
Here you will find a more modern campground. Fall Lake Campground has 64 campsites with restrooms that feature flush toilets and showers. Both 30 and 50-amp electrical hookups can be found around the sites and you can even get a group camping spot with a cooking shelter! Activities include swimming, a playground, picnic area, boat ramp and canoe landing, and a hiking trail.
- Whiteface Reservoir Recreation Area
This campground offers 52 campsites, 32 of which have electricity. It includes a playground, picnic areas, boat launch with docks, and a barrier-free fishing pier. You can spend hours out on the two-and-a-half miles of hiking trails looking at all the gorgeous scenery!
- Sawbill Lake Campground
Sawbill Lake Campground boasts 51 campsites as well as an RV dump station! You’ll find a picnic area, canoe storage, barrier-free fishing, and an access point to Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Modern restrooms with showers as well as vault toilets are located in this campground.
Dispersed camping, or boondocking, is when you set up camp in an undeveloped area where there are no rangers or facilities. If you boondock, be sure to hang your food up out of reach of animals and remove all your trash. Bears inhabit this forest and you don't want to attract them with food scraps or trash. The majority of these sites are accessible by foot and water only, but a few seem to be able to handle an RV as well. Some of these sites include Dumbell Lake, Island River Canoe Route, Agassa Lake, Bear Island Lake, Big Lake, Circle Route, Sand Lake, and Tofte Lake. With more than 75 approved areas for dispersed camping, you should be able to find a nice remote area to relax!
You could spend weeks in the Superior National Forest and not run out of things to do. So grab your outdoor gear and set off on a hike, go fishing, launch your canoe, pick some berries, or just take in the beauty that surrounds you. The plentiful activities are not only good for your heart, but they're great for clarity of mind as well.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
Stretching over 1 million acres, this is the best place in the US to get out on the water. When the glaciers moved through here thousands of years ago, they carved out amazing formations and streams that are breathtaking. You’ll find amazing cliffs and crags, beautiful canyons and hills, and magnificent rock formations! Along the water ways there are numerous sandy and rocky beaches to explore, enjoy a picnic, or even play Frisbee 500! With the many dispersed camping sites in the area, you could easily grab your canoe and a tent and spend days out in the area. Plan your trip today!
There are more hiking opportunities in this forest than you can even imagine! With over 400 miles of trails, you could spend a lot of time playing in the woods. Again, hiking is another great way to check out all the dispersed camping areas. Pack up your tent and everything else you’ll need and spend a few days hiking! If you’re into climbing or bouldering, there are great rock formations to climb!
The hundreds of acres of lakes and miles of streams make Superior National Forest an ideal place for fishing! There are opportunities for ice fishing, lake and pond fishing, and river and stream fishing. You can find walleye, lake trout, bass, crappie, northern pike, yellow perch, rainbow trout, cisco, and eelpout! Get your poles and bait ready and cook your great catch over an open fire!
Blueberries, raspberries, thimbleberries, dewberries, juneberries, cranberries, and strawberries all thrive in Superior National Forest. All you need is a bucket and you can pick berries for days! Create delicious jams, pies, and muffins, or just eat them right off the vine! Be sure to do your research before you head out to make sure that you know what you’re picking. You don’t want to pick something inedible or poisonous thinking it’s going to be a delicious blueberry! Also, bears love blueberries too! If you see, avoid it! There are plenty of patches of berries to choose from, so there’s no reason to fight a bear for a specific area. As you’re picking, remember that the plants and other animals need these berries as well, so don’t get crazy! Leave some behind for the wildlife and for the plants to reproduce. There will also be other people that will come after you that would love to pick some!
This forest isn’t just for the warmer months! There’s plenty to do when the snow is falling and a whole new set of scenery waiting to be explored. Bundle up for some mushing, skijoring, skiing, sledding and tubing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing! Getting out and being active in the winter is a great way to beat the winter blues and get in some great cardio.
In order to keep the population of the wildlife under control, hunting is permitted in Superior National Forest. There’s a huge variety of hunting opportunities including big game, small game, and bird and waterfowl. You’ll be able to hunt big game such as black bear, deer, and moose! Small game includes grouse and snowshoe hair! Remember that you will still need a hunting license and permit and you must respect the hunting seasons. There are parts of this area that are privately owned and hunting on this land is only allowed if you have permission from the owner. When you get to the area you should be able to find a map that will help you ensure you are not on someone else’s land. It is also illegal to hunt on developed campground areas and boating sites! Stay as far away from these areas as possible to avoid accidents. Make sure you avoid the wolves as well! They are endangered and even accidentally shooting one is illegal!
When you think of carnivorous plants, do Venus Fly Traps come to mind? Superior National Forest is home to carnivorous plants called butterworts that use sticky stuff on their leaves to trap and digest insects. You can learn about plants like these, as well as the history on things such as lumber mills, mining, and people in the area, through the forest's learning program! You can get involved with the LaCroix District Naturalist Program on weekends at both Echo Lake and Lake Jeanette campgrounds. You can go on a hike, have a campfire, learn about natural and cultural history, and get the little ones involved with the kids programs! The North Shore Resort Naturalist Programs offer hiking and campfires at many of the campgrounds along the North Shore area. Some of the things they have planned for 2016 include a lumber mill tour, bird watching, tracking, and learning about animals such as beavers, bats, and wildcats! If you’re full-time RVing and have children you are home/road schooling, this is a great place to get in educational opportunities that will count for their studies! If you want something a little more laid back, check out the Discovery Auto scenic drive! You get a map that will take you through different beautiful areas of the forest and you can even pick up a guidebook for a small fee at either the LaCroix, Kawishiwi ranger districts offices, the Lake Vermilion Resort, or at many of the local businesses. This guide is jam packed with information about the areas you’ll visit with both cultural and natural history!
Located in Northern Minnesota, Superior National Forest is the perfect destination for your next camping adventure! Whether you're traveling with an RV or are planning to pitch a tent, there are abundant opportunities for you to surround yourself with all that the Superior National Forest has to offer.