Deer River is at the gateway to the Chippewa National Forest. Within minutes of the community are the largest white pine forests in northern Minnesota offering a retreat for hunters, hikers, campers, snowmobilers, and cross-country and downhill enthusiasts. The crystal clear water of glacial lakes and thousands of streams provides a pristine setting for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities.
The Cutfoot Sioux Visitor Center, located north of Deer River on Hwy 46, is open throughout the summer and offer information, interpretive programs and hands-on activities for everyone. Over 16,000 people visit each year…..why don’t you join in the fun? Click here to see the Cutfoot Sioux Visitor Center Summer Schedule
Each season brings its own particular beauty to the Deer River area. Rivers, lakes, and streams abound with walleye, northern pike, muskies, Crappie, Jumbo Perch and other species of fish. Moose, whitetailed deer, timber wolves, black bear, fox, ruffed grouse and waterfowl thrive in this natural paradise. The Chippewa is also home to the largest breeding population of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. People often make a special trip to the Chippewa National Forest to observe bald eagles. Click here to find more information about Eagle Viewing. The Chippewa National Forest has an estimated Loon population of 5000.
Winter sports in Deer River include cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Snowmobile trails were developed and are maintained by the local Minnesota snowmobile clubs and the Department of Natural Resources. A free copy of our Itasca County Snowmobile Map is available online. The cross-country skiiers will enjoy the lake and hills of Blueberry Hills Nordic skiing trails. Many other groomed trails are also in our area.
Make sure you take a drive up the Avenue of Pines Scenic Byway on Hwy 46. See how huge some of the few remaining virgin pine trees that once covered northern Minnesota are by going to Dora Lake and see The Lost Forty. Take a ride from Grand Rapids to Effie along the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway.
There is no better way to see the Chippewa National Forest than on a trail. Hike and view spring wildflowers, bike along a tranquil wetland, hunt grouse on a hunter/walking trail, or ski through winter woods. The Chippewa National Forest offers over 298 miles of non-motorized trails. Click here for more information about walking or ski trails.
Biking on the Chippewa National Forest has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Ten years ago, mountain bikes were the only option to travel a limited number of bike trails. Today, 41 miles of paved bike trails line the west side of the Forest and mountain bikers can travel over 43 miles of unpaved trails on the east side between Deer River and Marcell. Click here for more information about local bike trails.
The Chippewa National Forest offers nine canoe routes, ranging from the mighty Mississippi and the unpredictable Leech Lake to the slow moving Shingobee River and other small creeks. Click here for more information about canoe routes.
Cut Foot Sioux Horse Camp is surrounded by over 120 miles of Forest Roads and recreation trails. Click here for more information about Cut Foot Sioux Horse Camp including a trail map, camp layout and reservation information.
Check out the Continental Divides in Minnesota. North and west of the watershed markers on Highways 10/39, and Highways 46 and 38, lakes and streams flow northward through the Red and Rainy Rivers to Hudson Bay and the Arctic. Many towns within the Chippewa National Forest are in this Hudson Bay Watershed. Waters which flow to the North Atlantic through the Great Lakes begin at the crest of the "Giants Range", a major highland feature of northeastern Minnesota. A rare three-way continental divide is located by a marker just north of Hibbing. A drop of water falling on this point may travel to each of the three major watersheds. The northeast corner of Minnesota is part of the North Atlantic Watershed.
Take a step into the past at historic Camp Rabideau. The camp is located six miles south of Blackduck, Minnesota on County Road 39. In the 1930’s there were 2,650 Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps in America. Camp Rabideau was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in June of 1976 and is one of three remaining camps being preserved. On February 21, 2006, the camp was designated as a National Historic Landmark and is recognized as an exceptional place that sheds light on our history.
Other recreational attractions include a nearby golf course, tennis courts, bowling alley, snowmobile trails, parks, and camping sites. The Deer River Bushwackers snowmobile club proudly maintains a trail which connects Deer River with the Ave. of Pines trail in the Chippewa National Forest.
The Judy Garland Birthplace, Children's Discovery Museum and Forest History Center are located in Grand Rapids. You can also take a tour of the Hill Annex Iron Mine and visit Ironworld Discovery Center, where the heritage of northeastern Minnesota is preserved, celebrated and showcased for visitors of all ages.
A dozen state parks are nearby, including Itasca State Park, where the Mississippi River begins its 2,500-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.