Located nearly in our backyard, the Heartland Trail provides a multitude of recreational opportunities for our guests at Woodson Cabins. The Heartland Trail was established in 1974 along the old abandoned railway line. One of the first trails of its kind in the country, the Heartland Trail has been widened, resurfaced, and connected to the Paul Bunyan Trail. Today, the paved trail is 49-miles in length and runs from Park Rapids to Cass Lake. A westward trail extension was approved in 2006 to run from Park Rapids to Detroit Lakes. Still in the planning stages, the exact route has not been finalized.
In the summer, the trail is used by avid runners on a daily basis. Activities such as hiking, biking, and in-line skating are common. You will also find an occasional birdwatcher or berry picker along the trail.
The Heartland Trail is very scenic as it passes through wetlands, rolling hills, and forest. The forest changes from hardwoods to pines as you head north. Wildflowers grow abundantly along the edge of the trail and berries attract many four-legged friends. The sumac grows tall in some spots and is very colorful in the fall. There are numerous lakes, rivers, and streams along the way. Towns include Park Rapids, Dorset, Akeley, Walker, and Cass Lake.
The Paul Bunyan State Trail is the longest continuously paved trail in the Minnesota system. With 112-miles of paved path (120-miles when completed), it travels from Crow Wing State Park near Brainerd to Lake Bemidji State Park north of Bemidji. Note the map for access points along the Heartland Trail.
There are also trails throughout Itasca State Park. Bring your own bikes or rent them in the park.