Travel to the heart of north central Minnesota and you’ll find yourself surrounded by tall pines, clear water, and the sounds of nature. Woodson Cabins is located on Muskie Bay on the northeast shores of Lake Belle Taine near Nevis, Minnesota. With seven cabins and 475-feet of pristine shoreline, Woodson Cabins offers a rustic, refined getaway for those wanting to escape and recharge surrounded by the loon’s cry, crackle of an open fire, and stunning shades of purple and pink as the sun sets across the calm waters of our quiet, secluded bay.
Sitting at the intersection of the Heartland Trail and Paul Bunyan Drive, Nevis is situated midway between Park Rapids and Walker, Minnesota, just off Highway-34. Woodson Cabins is less than a mile west of town, just off County Road 18. We are a two-hour drive north of St. Cloud and an hour south of Bemidji. From the Fargo-Moorhead metro, you can be here in less than two hours enjoying everything this stunning, untouched area has to offer, and the distance is roughly the same from the Brainerd-Baxter area. From the heart of Minneapolis-St. Paul, you can be at your cabin’s front door in just three hours, trading traffic and bumper-to-bumper delays for open air and sits in our panoramic, outdoor sauna.
Learn more about our property here.
Lake Belle Taine is well-known for its clear waters and firm sand bottom. It makes for an ideal recreation lake for those who enjoy swimming, water skiing, or simply enjoying a warm afternoon on the boat. However, fishing put Nevis and Lake Belle Taine on the map.
Fishing on Lake Belle Taine can be challenging. Most anglers take to exploring the many bays and inlets that provide an excellent habitat for a wide variety of fish, including the elusive muskie and rare silver pike. Lake Belle Taine is considered one of the top walleye lakes in Minnesota, and locals regularly fish Belle Taine for walleye, northern, bass, and crappie. To add to the fishing experience, you may be able to access both Deer and Shallow Lakes from Lake Belle Taine depending on water levels and the size of your boat.
If you are interested in fishing during your stay at Woodson Cabins, we recommend that you check out the Minnesota DNR website. We also suggest that you ask questions when you stop to buy your fishing license and bait. The local staff can often tell you about the current “hot spots” on the lake. And be sure to check out our fishing page for more information and a few of our suggestions!
Woodson Cabins is located in Muskie Bay on the north shore of Lake Belle Taine.
From Woodson Cabins, boats may access the main body of water by traveling under the bridge just to the east of our property or by going around the end of the island. In the 1930s, our bay was used by the University of Minnesota as a rearing pond to propagate muskie and other species of fish. Directly across from the resort is a good spot to fish for bass, as the island across the way provides the perfect amount of protection and vegetation. In the winter months, you’ll find fish houses speckled across the ice of our bay, making it look like a scene straight out of a “Grumpy Old Men" as visitors and locals alike partake in ice fishing.
Lake Belle Taine, "the lake into which the river pitches and ceases to flow."
Lake Belle Taine covers 14,350-acres and offers over 22-miles of shoreline. It is the third-largest and southern-most lake in the Mantrap Chain of Lakes, connecting the Mantrap Chain to the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes. A total of 17 lakes flow from north to south, without an outlet, along a path carved by the great glacier. From Lake Belle Taine, an underground waterway through beds of gravel form springs that feed the eleven lakes in the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes. It’s likely because of this that the original Ojibwa name for Belle Taine translates to “the lake into which the river pitches and ceases to flow.” According to some of the “old-timers” in the area, the construction of Highway-34 many years ago plugged the only direct flow of water from Lake Belle Taine into the Crow Wing Chain of Lakes.
Records and old plat books at the Hubbard County Courthouse identify Lake Belle Taine as Elbow Lake. The name Belle Taine is first recorded in the 1870 surveying of the Nevis township. Prior to that time, original settlers in the area referred to the lake as Elbow, likely due to its unique, jointed shape.
Over the years, the water level of Lake Belle Taine has fluctuated a great deal. In the spring of 2001, the lake level reached an all-time high. Options to lower and effectively maintain the water level were explored but no action was taken. While the county commissioners and residents of the entire watershed district weighed the merits of such action, the lake naturally returned to a more acceptable level. Hydrologists who have studied the lake basin cannot explain with any certainty why the lake seems to go through a cycle and experience periods of high water repeatedly every 12-15 years.
The town of Nevis, Minnesota sits on the northeast shores of Lake Belle Taine and falls along the Lake Country Scenic Byway. This picturesque drive follows Highway-34 from Walker to Detroit Lakes with an arm that reaches up Highway-71 to Itasca State Park. Each community along the byway has a unique and interesting history. As you travel the byway, you will also travel back in time and learn about the people who settled here. The communities along the byway were home to trappers, traders, farmers, and lumberjacks. They came because of the beauty and abundance of natural resources. Today, the small communities along the byway continue to thrive.
Nevis itself was once an old logging camp and railway stop, and it is now a prosperous small community. It has a diverse economic base in which tourism plays a major role. Nevis is well known throughout the state for its excellent school system, and it is home to a variety of light industry and many year-round and seasonal businesses.
Two other stops along the Scenic Byway that you’ll want to make are Dorset, just 6 miles west of Nevis, and Akeley, 6 miles to east. Stroll down Dorset’s famous boardwalks to explore the unique shops and sample the cuisine in this quaint small town. Dorset’s title is “restaurant capital of the world,” with more restaurants per capita than any other city. The first week in August, people come from all over for the “Taste of Dorset” celebration.
Akeley, on the other hand, lays claim to being the birthplace of the legendary Paul Bunyan. Logging is and has always been a way of life in northern Minnesota. The tales of the legendary Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox, vary from community to community, but this tree-cutting giant is definitely our tallest and most famous area resident. Stop in Akeley to take your picture sitting in the hand of the 50-foot statue of Paul Bunyan, and then take in a musical show at the renowned Woodtick Theatre.
The gateway to the Paul Bunyan State Forest and home to “World’s Largest Tiger Muskie."
Directly north of Nevis is the Paul Bunyan State Forest, a largely uninhabited wilderness area. It encompasses more than 72,000-acres of terrain that’s rough and hilly, with many tiny bogs, ponds, and lakes scattered throughout. Inside the state lands, there are groomed and ungroomed snowmobile trails and a variety of challenging mountain bike trails. ATV and OHM enthusiasts will discover a paradise in the backyard of Woodson Cabins. Hidden in this remote sanctuary are some excellent fishing spots, and the forest land is a haven for horseback riding and hiking, as well as for birdwatchers wanting to glimpse the local wildlife.
Years ago, Lake Belle Taine put Nevis on the map as a fishing destination. In the center of town sits a large statue of a muskie built in the early 1950s commemorating the town’s claim to fame as being home to the “World’s Largest Tiger Muskie.” Every summer, locals and visitors gather for a few days in July to celebrate “Muskie Days.”
Explore Itasca State Park, Minnesota’s oldest state park.
Just north of Park Rapids, Itasca State Park is about a 45-minute drive from Woodson Cabins and is absolutely worth the trip. It can easily provide more than a full day of activity and is known as Minnesota’s oldest state park.
Here, the Mississippi River begins its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Within the park, there are many opportunities to learn about wildlife and plants native to Minnesota. So, get your feet wet at the Headwaters, take an excursion boat ride on the lake, bike one of the nature trails, visit the many interpretive centers, and learn about the history of the park and the people who settled here. And don’t forget to have lunch at Douglas Lodge before you shop for souvenirs.
Hike, bike, ride, or run the Heartland Trail.
The 49-mile Heartland Trail runs from Park Rapids to Cass Lake, with plans to soon extend through Detroit Lakes all the way to Moorhead. Years ago, the railroad line through Nevis was abandoned, and in its place, we have the Heartland Trail.
The first trail of its kind in Minnesota, the Heartland Trail was recently widened, resurfaced, and linked to the Paul Bunyan Trail. Nevis is the most centrally located stop along the bike trail. In the center of town is a park with picnic tables and playground equipment. Learn more about the trails and how to access them here.
Enjoy the lake and local events.
Nevis has one of the nicest public beaches in the area and a handicapped-accessible fishing pier. There is a boat ramp at the public access at the edge of town, and because Lake Belle Taine is a popular recreation escape, Nevis hosts several events throughout the year in addition to “Muskie Days” in July.
During the summer months, the lake is the site of two very popular fishing tournaments: The Gene Cirks Memorial Catch and Release Fishing Tournament, and the Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament for younger anglers. Additionally, with its proximity to Lake Belle Taine and the Heartland Trail, Nevis is the perfect setting for the Northwood’s Triathlon (swim, bike, run) held every year in early August. Come Fourth of July, lake residents decorate their boats and pontoons in patriotic colors to join the water parade and fireworks displays are held throughout the area in Park Rapids and Walker.
Minnesota is known as the “land of 10,000 lakes,” and we argue that Lake Belle Taine is one of the best.
Come to the heart of Minnesota where blueberries grow wild and the tall Norway pines whisper in the breeze. Sit on the end of our dock and dangle your feet in the cool, clear water. Bask in the sun as the Monarch butterflies dance among the wildflowers. Watch a blue heron catch his lunch. Dig your feet into the cool, damp sand and listen as the water ripples and splashes against the shoreline. Sit around the crackling campfire at night as the frogs croak and crickets chirp. Notice the subtle sway of the tall grasses along the water's edge and hear the hauntingly beautiful loon cry.
The tall graceful trees, beautiful chain of lakes, and abundance of wildlife and scenic trails are all reasons why our guests fall in love with Nevis and Lake Belle Taine. Come see and experience it for yourself at Woodson Cabins.