Minnesota Paul Bunyan 1 Day RV Itinerary
Start: Pine River Information Center
The Pine River Information Center has recently been made an official state tourism information center. Filled with local art, local historic artifacts, a white buffalo head and Paul Bunyan memorabilia, including Paul's baby boots, the log building's contents are as intriguing as the building itself. Filled with information on recreational activities such as racing, horseback riding, canoeing, and good old sight-seeing, travelers will have a hard time deciding whether to go do it all or stay and hear another story about it from staffer John Wetrosky.
Stop 1: Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area
Directions from previous place: Follow CSAH 1 east to CSAH 66 (14.1 miles). Turn south on 66 to the intersection with CSAH 16 (3 miles). Turn west onto 16 for almost 4 miles. Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area is on the south side of the road. There is a class 5 parking area.
Distance from Previous Site: 21.1 miles / 33.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site: 30 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site: 45 minutes
Designed to attract several different species of wildlife, the Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area also offers well-paved trails for bikers, hikers, and cross-country skiers.
Stop 2: Gateway Gazebo Activity Area
Directions from previous place: From Uppgaard Wildlife Management Area, continue west on CSAH 16 for another 8.5 miles. The Gateway Gazebo is at the intersection of CSAH 16 and Hwy. 371.
Distance from Previous Site: 8.5 miles / 13.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site: 10 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site: 20 minutes
The area surrounding the open-air Gateway Gazebo features several recreation opportunites, including golf, restaurants, and historic cutouts of Paul Bunyan.
Stop 3: Pequot Lakes Information Center
Directions from previous place: From the Gateway Gazebo, travel 2 miles south on Hwy. 371 to the intersection of 371 and CSAH 11. At the stoplight, turn east onto 11 for 1 block, then turn right to the end of the block to access the parking lot for the Pequot Lakes Information Center.
Distance from Previous Site: 2 miles / 3.2 km
Travel Time from Previous Site: 3 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site: 30 minutes
A re-creation of a railroad depot, the Pequot Lakes Information Center offers visitors information about many of the areas attractions, including resorts, dining, retail shops, and lodging.
Stop 4: Historic Fire Tower
Directions from previous place: From the Pequot Lakes Information Center, continue about 1 mile east on CSAH 11. Watch for the Fire Tower sign on the north side of the road and turn left into the parking area. (The parking area is not plowed in the winter.)
Distance from Previous Site: 1 miles / 1.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site: 2 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site: 45 minutes
Listed on the National Historic Lookout Register, the Historic Fire Tower offers visitors sweeping views of the surrounding forests and many hiking opportunities.
End: Cross Lake Dam Recreation Area
Directions from previous place: Continue east along CSAH 11 (this is a left turn out of the Fire Tower parking lot). At the four-way stop by the Breezy Point Gates, stay on 11 by turning left. Follow 11 to its intersection with CSAH 3. Turn north, or left, until 3 turns into 66 at the south edge of Crosslake. At this point, watch for the Corps of Engineers Campground signage, which actually says Robert Louis Cloutier Recreation Area. The Corps office building is straight ahead and then to the left, as you enter the campground driveway.
Distance from Previous Site: 14 miles / 22.4 km
Travel Time from Previous Site: 15 minutes
Fifty years after Joseph Nicollet's survey of this site in 1836, the first dam, originally built of wood, was put into service to raise water levels in the Whitefish Chain to ease the transport of logs. Today the high water is maintained for recreational purposes and the site has been transformed into a nationally renowned Corps of Engineers camp grounds and recreational area on Cross Lake, part of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes. Boat launches, public beaches, playgrounds, hundreds of campsites and a large interpretive display of artifacts taken from excavation at this very site, plus many other historic items are all a part of this popular Corps of Engineers Dam and Recreation Area. Future plans for this site include an Interpretive Center that will result from the recently formed partnership between the USACE and the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway Association. For the traveler who's still interested in more, right across CSAH 66, also on Corps property, is the Historic Log Village. The Village is run by a volunteer group from the Crosslake Historical Society. Visitors are always welcome to stroll through and around the Village, but interiors of buildings are only available for public viewing when the Village is staffed.
Totals for Day 1
Total Distance Traveled: 46.6 miles / 74.6 km
Total Travel Time: 1 hour
Total Stopping Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Featured content and image from www.byways.org