Bog Walk Hiking Club Trail

Lake Bemidji State Park, Minnesota

Trip Date: Friday, October 6th, 2017
Last Updated: Thursday, November 9th, 2017
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★☆(4/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 2.5 miles roundtrip
Time 1 hour
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible Yes

Highlights

Hike Walkthrough

This is the flagship hike of Lake Bemidji State Park. Featuring crazy carnivorous plants, odd orchids, and mossy moss, the bog plants are a special sight. As a short accessible trail, everyone can do this hike and enjoy the splendid nature here. And since it's only about 6 miles to Bemidji, it's the perfect afternoon activity while you're in town.

Dogs are allowed on leash. This is an excellent family friendly hike for several reasons: it's short and flat, it's part of the Hiking Club program which has trails in most Minnesota State Parks with a secret password to entice you and your kids to keep hiking, and there are expertly placed signs to help identify the unique plants in the bog and learn something about this special landscape. This entire hike is designated as wheelchair accessible (one of several Minnesota State Parks with accessible trails), with a wide, flat dirt path leading to the wooden boardwalk. This route is available for hiking only in the three warm seasons; while the boardwalk portion is open to hiking during the winter, as a catch-22 the trail leading to the boardwalk is for cross country skiing only and hiking is not permitted. This is probably the most popular hike in the park and a major destination for visitors to Bemidji, so expect to see plenty of people. Given that you will be walking on top of a bog, be sure to wear bug spray and bring some with or you will be miserable.

From the parking lot, walk north on the road until you reach the trailhead. Cross the street, then turn right at the intersection ahead (labeled H on the official map linked below), following signs for the Bog Walk. This portion of trail is entirely flat, and the trees are vibrantly beautiful in the fall, as pictured below. At intersection G, turn right and continue to the wooden boardwalk over the bog.

Fall colors here are absolutely amazing

Fall colors here are absolutely amazing
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Have you ever wondered what the difference between a bog and a marsh is? Surprisingly, those two terms are not the same, something you'll learn from one of the excellent educational signs along the boardwalk pictured below. A bog is an area of standing water covered by moss that may have trees whereas a marsh is a grassy wetland with cattails and no trees. Bog water is acidic, making it difficult or impossible for most plants to grow, hence why the plants here are so unique.
This sign explaining the difference between marshes, bogs, and other wetland areas is one of the most genuinely helpful educational signs I've ever encountered

This sign explaining the difference between marshes, bogs, and other wetland areas is one of the most genuinely helpful educational signs I've ever encountered
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The rangers here have painstakingly placed small laminated cards next to good examples of each species of plant. During my fall visit, most of these plants were dead (especially flowers like orchids), so most of the signs didn't locate much of anything. However, in the summertime expect to see many interesting plants and flowers growing above the mossy peat. I was still able to see one of the more noteworthy plants, the carnivorous pitcher plant that lures insects to drown inside its pitcher shaped leaves (the real world inspiration for the Pokemon Victreebel) -- see the picture below.
Pitcher plants are always a crowd favorite

Pitcher plants are always a crowd favorite
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At the end of the bog walk you will reach Big Bog Lake, pictured at the top of the page. There is a bench here where you can relax and enjoy the chirping birds, clouds reflecting in the water, and buzzing mosquitos. Simply retrace the same route to return to the parking lot after you're done enjoying the scenery at the lake. Don't miss this hike next time you visit Bemidji! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!

Directions

From Downtown Bemidji, take Bemidji Avenue north, then turn right on County Road 20. Watch for signs for the park, then turn right on the park entrance road. Pay the fee at the park office on the right, then turn left, drivingly slowly on the dirt road through the campground until you reach the parking lot.

From outside of Bemidji, you can bypass driving through town by taking U.S. Highway 2 to U.S. Highway 71 heading north. Turn right on Lakewood Drive, then left on Bemidji Avenue. Turn right on County Road 20. Watch for signs for the park, then turn right on the park entrance road. Pay the fee at the park office on the right, then turn left, drivingly slowly on the dirt road through the campground until you reach the parking lot.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Like all Minnesota State Parks and Recreation Areas, you must pay a vehicle entry fee of $7 per day or $35 for an annual pass (highly recommended if you frequently go to Minnesota State Parks). There are both flush and pit toilets available (depending on the season) near the lot.

External Links

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