Red Lake Beach and Old Marina Trails

Big Bog State Recreation Area, Minnesota

Trip Date: Saturday, July 4th, 2015
Last Updated: Sunday, December 31st, 2017
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★☆(4/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 1 mile roundtrip
Time 30 minutes
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No


Hike Summary

Although most of the trail mileage in the park is located in the Northern Unit, with the bog boardwalk and Marsh Vista and Old Caribou Camp Trails, there is still some hiking to enjoy on along the shore of Upper Red Lake. These trails are very flat and easy, and a great way to work up a sweat before plunging in the lake to cool off. Overall, this is an excellent place to spend a summer afternoon, having a picnic, hiking, and swimming.

Dogs are allowed on leash on the trails, but they are prohibited on the beach itself. This is an excellent hike for children since it is short and flat with the reward of playing at the beach when you finish. These trails are open all year. This area of the park is generally more crowded because of the beach, but the remoteness of this park means it won't feel crowded, especially if you live in a city or are used to the crowds of more popular state parks.

The Red Lake Beach Trail begins on the south side of the parking lot and the Old Marina Trail begins on the north side of the parking lot; you can start with either, but ending with the Red Lake Beach Trail is best if you plan on swimming after your hike. Starting with the Old Marina Trail, this trail is a straight shot to a viewing deck on the marina. One nice thing about these trails is that they are close to the campground if you want to do an after dinner hike, see the post-sunset image below of the old marina. Turn around when you're ready to continue to the Red Lake Beach Trail.

The old marina after sunset

The old marina after sunset
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The Red Lake Beach Trail is a short loop through the grassy environment adjacent to the lake pictured at the top of the page. Note there is a shorter loop around the picnic area, so you will have to turn slightly to complete the entire hike. After you make this slight turn, there will be occasional interpretive signs along the trail so you can learn something about the area. On the south end of the trail, there is a short boardwalk. The loop ends back at the parking lot, and you are free to enjoy the uniquely red waters of Upper Red Lake! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!


Big Bog State Recreation Area is quite remote, so the drive itself will be an adventure. The recreation area is located along Highway 72 just north of Waskish. Stop at the visitor center to pay your vehicle entry fee (and climb the observation tower for excellent views), then drive across the highway to the parking area by the beach.

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 pit toilets, a swimming beach, and a picnic shelter near the lot.

Nearby Hikes

The viewing platform on the Marsh Vista Trail gives you this lush scene
Old Caribou Camp and Marsh Vista Trail Loop
Big Bog State Recreation Area, Minnesota
Looking east at the bog
Big Bog Boardwalk
Big Bog State Recreation Area, Minnesota
The trees here are so tall you can
Lost Forty Loop
Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota
The lake view at the end of the bog walk
Bog Walk Hiking Club Trail
Lake Bemidji State Park, Minnesota

External Links