Itasca State Park marks the headwaters and beginning of the world's third longest river, The Mississippi, as a small stream. Established in 1891, Itasca State Park is Minnesota’s oldest State Park. In this 32,000 acre sanctuary, the Mississippi River begins its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Among the many points of interest are old growth pine at Preacher’s Grove, Peace Pipe Vista, bison kill site and over 100 lakes. The park is a great birding site for Common Loon, Black-backed woodpecker, Alder Flycatcher, Winter Wren and more.
White Earth State Forest is made up of rolling hills and lakes with 4/5th being variegated forest and the rest being lowland brush and marsh. Almost all of this forest is within the boundaries of the White Earth Indian Reservation. The Shuttlebug Nature Trail is popular for summer hiking, with 70 miles of marked and groomed snowmobile trails. Located about 20 miles north of Park Rapids on Hwy. 71, then west off Hwy. 113. The White Earth Indian Reservation, holds an annual Powwow in June.
Huntersville State Forrest features 16,448-acres of rolling-to-flat land, famed for its jack and Norway pine mixed with aspen, spruce, tamarack and northern hardwoods and clear streams. The major attraction is the beauty of two rivers that flow through the forest, the Crow Wing River State Water Trail and the Shell River, providing many canoeing opportunities, with access ramps at the campgrounds as well as other put-in and take-out points along the river's course through the forest.
Maplewood State Park features 8 major lakes and many ponds offering swimming, fishing, boating, and general enjoyment. Drive along the scenic route to observe the wildlife; the park is host to 150 bird species and 50 species of mammals. Lake Lida has a sandy beach and large picnic areas. Wildflower lovers will find flowers and grasses representative of both the prairies and forests. The park's maple forest turns brilliant shades of orange, gold, and red in the fall. An extensive trail system attracts hikers, horseback riders, and cross-country skiers.
Two Inlets State Forrest offers over 26,000 acres set in a landscape that's gently rolling to hilly, with scattered lowlands. Two Inlets Trail provides over 27 miles of snowmobile trail that connects to other area trails. Two Inlets Lake provides good fishing. This state forest is known for excellent hunting of deer, ruffed grouse and small game. Indian Creek Water Impoundment provides habitat for waterfowl. Fish Hungryman Lake for Black Bullhead, Bluegill, Brown Bullhead, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Yellow Perch, & Pumkinseed.
43,000-acre Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge hosts over 250 species of birds, featuring nesting bald eagles, golden-winged warblers, otters, porcupine, wolves & more. A wildlife drive and visitor center offer spectacular vistas of marshes, trees and wildlife in the refuge. Enjoy hiking trails, historic sites, hunting and fishing. Gently rolling hills, pristine lakes, streams, bogs, marshes, meadows & woodlands are in a transition zone where tallgrass prairie, hardwood & pine forests converge to create a wildlife haven.
24,000-acre Smoky Hills State Forrest is characterized by rolling-to-moderately steep slopes that offer 30 mi of snowmobile trails, 25 mi of hiking trails, and exceptional hunting for deer & grouse. It is located in eastern Becker County and is traversed by State Hwy 34. It is 20 miles east of Detroit Lakes. The Shell River and numerous small shallow lakes dot the area, providing shorebird viewing. A mix of hardwoods and jack pines makes up the forest. The southern half of the forest is good for fall foliage viewing.