We had the chance to speak with Susan about the great Lake Bemidji State Park. Located in in the heart of Minnesota’s north woods, Bemidji is an excellent place for a family vacation. Susan gave us some insights in to Lake Bemidji State Park and let us know the best campsites, how she likes to spend her time and the most popular hiking trails.
Get To Know Lake Bemidji State Park
How long has Lake Bemidji State Park been there and how did it get it’s start?
Lake Bemidji State Park was established in 1923, the ninth Minnesota State Park. It began at the site of the Beltrami Boys and Girls Camp, on the north end of Lake Bemidji, but the boundaries have expanded since then. The park is remarkable for its variety of habitat in a relatively small area—pine forest, tamarack bog, maple/basswood forest. Located at the edge of town, it offers activities for both campers and local residents, while still feeling “wild” with sightings of bears, eagles, osprey, deer, and even the occasional wolf.
What are the most popular activities for your guests?
Hiking to Rocky Point or out the board walk are the two most popular trails. Canoes, kayaks, and rowboats are available to rent, and lots of people bring their own boats for fishing. A wonderful children’s playground and picnic area attract both campers and locals for an afternoon with the kids. Lake Bemidji State Park has the best beach on Lake Bemidji, too! A beautiful sand beach with a gradual drop-off makes it perfect for swimming all summer long. But let’s not forget winter: we have miles of groomed cross-country trails for skiers, a snowmobile trail that connects to the state system, and ice-fishing out the door.
What are some other attractions in the area worth checking out?
Biking is very popular! The Paul Bunyan State Trail starts in the park and goes for 100 miles to Brainerd. Biking around Lake Bemidji is also a great way to enjoy the lake, and there is bike trail or bike lane almost the entire 14 miles. The trails in the northern part of the park are open to mountain biking as well—they are wide, grassy, and mowed. Two bike shops in town can help with rentals and repairs, and there are nearby county parks open to biking as well. Many of these bike trails are groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter. Fishing is huge, summer or winter, since lakes abound in the area. For other water-lovers, stretches of the Mississippi River are excellent canoeing.
Which of those attractions is your favorite and why?
That’s a hard choice! Maybe it depends on the season: Canoeing in the spring, biking around the lake in the summer, hiking in the fall colors, and skiing in the winter!
What are the campsites like? Are they more open or secluded?
The entire campground is wooded. The lowest loop, Oak Lane, is the most open. The upper loop, Aspen Lane, has the most private campsites, screened with more brush and trees. Most of the electric hook-ups are in the central two loops, Birch and Pine. Pine Lane in particular is aptly named—many towering red pines grow here.
If you could only spend one hour at the park what would you do?
Early spring–Rocky Point for early flowers like hepatica, trillium, and bloodroot! Late June–Check out the lady’s-slippers on the bogwalk!
High summer–Go for a swim!
Fall colors–Rocky Point for the maple leaves!
Winter–Ski the Pinewood Loop!
If you could spend just one night at Lake Bemidji State Park, which specific campsite or cabin spot would you choose, and why?
I would choose Maple cabin, because it’s perched on a little hill with a pretty view, but has the same privacy as the other ones. The camper cabins are so cozy and comfy, they’re perfect to come back to after an active day outdoors, summer or winter.
Addresss: 3401 State Park Road NE, Bemidji, MN 56601
Phone Number: 218-308-2300
- Tent camping
- Swimming beach
- Pets allowed
- Group Campsites
- 30 Amp Hookups
- Dump Station