|Distance||3 miles roundtrip|
|Terrain||A few hills|
|Best Seasons||Spring, Summer, Fall|
- Pretty forest with excellent colors in the fall
- Terrain that makes the journey interesting
Only 6 miles from Bemidji, Lake Bemidji State Park is a great way to escape to nature without having to travel far from the comforts of the city. While this hike isn't interesting enough to be a major destination in itself, this is a good place to exercise while you're in town. In the fall, this is one of the best places near Bemidji to see the changing colors.
Dogs are allowed on leash. The length of the trail is on the longer end of the spectrum for a family friendly hike, but should be easy enough for kids to handle. If you want a shorter alternative, check out the Bog Walk. This trail is available for use only in the three warmer seasons; during winter, this trail is groomed for cross country skiing and hiking is not allowed. I visited late on a chilly Friday afternoon in fall and saw a couple of people. Expect more on weekends and in the summer, especially on the portion of trail near the Bog Walk.
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. At intersection G, you can choose to turn right and do the bog walk, adding a mile roundtrip to see the unique bog plants and wonderful lake scenery, or head straight to continue the hike. This portion of trail is entirely flat, and the trees are vibrantly beautiful in the fall, as pictured below.
Once you reach intersection E, stay right and you will eventually reach the road you crossed at the beginning of the hike. Cross the street and hike back to the parking lot. This hike is a good way to experience more of the state park with some interesting terrain you won't find on the Bog Walk. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!
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.