The Cuyuna Lakes is fast becoming a destination for outdoor junkies and those who simply crave rugged outdoor space. With popularity growing over the state designated rec area and the addition of a premier mountain bike trail center junkies have all the elements for fun at their fingertips.
Break away this summer
Need a break? Recharge your batteries and relax while gliding down one of the many lakes and rivers around the Cuyuna Lakes area. Beginner and experienced kayakers and canoeists can paddle the scenic Mississippi and Pine Rivers for just a few hours or a few days.
The premier paddling experience is on the deep, clear mine lakes of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. A chain of mine lakes, starting at the Pennington access, provides hours of bliss in pristine, peaceful surroundings. Deer, bald eagles and osprey are often spotted. Loons may surface nearby. Beach areas provide a place to stretch or enjoy a picnic. Wilderness exploration awaits at the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
Maps showing parking, boat and carry-in access points, campsites and scenic views are available at the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce in Ironton. Canoe and kayak rental with shuttle service is available at Cycle Path and Paddle in Crosby. Grab a paddle and break away.
Winter fun in Cuyuna Country
Join us in the winter months on one of the area’s beautifully groomed ski trails. No matter how experienced you are on cross-country skis, there’s a trail waiting for you. Enjoy the stillness of winter by taking in the fresh, cool air while skiing amidst the snow-covered trees.
Larson Lake trails, located south of Deerwood, holds snow later in the season than any other groomed course in the area. These trails are perfect for skiers of all skill sets.
Directions: Go one half mile south of the Highway 6 and Highway 210 junction, then go east on County Road 10 for about four miles. Larson Lake parking area is on the east side of the road, watch for signs.
Bring your classic skis to this classic track with a small ice skating area within the interior of the course. The Wolf Lake trails, located west of Deerwood, are suitable for skiers of all skill levels.
Directions: Go about three miles west on County Road 12 from the junction of Highway 210 and County Road 102 about one mile.??? Take a right on Nelson Road and drive south and west for about five miles.
French Rapids is a very hilly and extremely challenging 16-kilometer course with 10 kilometers designed for skate skiing. These professionally groomed trails feature stunning views of the Mississippi River. Minnesota Ski Trail Passes are required on this expert-level course.
Directions: Go west about 12 miles on Highway 210 from Crosby-Ironton. Watch for the Brainerd Crow Wing Regional Airport sign and turn north into the airport. Watch for XC signs on your left.
Solitude and starlight
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is one of Minnesota’s newest parks. Still under development, it has more than 5,000 acres and 25 miles of forest shoreline, providing peaceful relaxation for those who desire a rustic experience. Sixteen primitive, first come, first serve camp sites and an unsupervised beach are available at the Portsmouth Campground off County Road 30 north of Ironton. For park maps and the latest information on trails and improvements, check the Minnesota DNR Web site, www.dnr.state.mn.us, and search for Cuyuna Country.
Spend a lazy afternoon paddling in a canoe or kayak. Slip over the side in scuba gear and explore the remnants of an iron mine hundreds of feet below the still surface. Plan a camping, hiking or fishing trip, but leave the motorized off-road vehicles at home. They are not allowed in the park and the ban is strictly enforced. Shhhh. It’s quiet here. Let the splash of a jumping trout be the sound that welcomes you to the Cuyuna Lakes.
For the birds
With thousands of acres of public land in Cuyuna Country, there is a lot of ground to cover. Grab your binoculars, bird books, a comfortable pair of shoes and head for the birds. Cuyuna Lakes are prime territory for bird watching.