You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Minnesota State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Arrowhead Region
Nemadji State Forest
Common Loon ©
Oh Yell ©
Availability Search
The Nemadji State Forest, located in eastern Minnesota, is a magnificent forested landscape encompassing over 92,000 acres of rolling hills, pristine rivers, and dense forests. Within this enchanting wilderness, visitors are treated to an array of recreational opportunities, including excellent opportunities for camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching. The forest is characterized by its rich diversity of trees, such as towering pines, hardwoods, birch, and aspen, providing a stunning display of colors during the fall season. With its tranquil ambiance and abundant natural beauty, the Nemadji State Forest is truly a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and a haven for those seeking solace in the embrace of Minnesota's wilderness.
History of the Area
Nemadji State Forest is located in east-central Minnesota, covering approximately 92,000 acres. Its history dates back to the 19th century when the area was originally inhabited by the Ojibwe people, who used the lands for hunting, fishing, and gathering.

In the late 1800s, the region experienced extensive logging activities as European settlers arrived. The logs harvested from the forest were used for the booming lumber industry at the time. However, extensive logging practices led to the depletion of old-growth forests and the destruction of wildlife habitats.

To combat the negative environmental impacts caused by unrestrained logging, the State of Minnesota established the Nemadji State Forest in 1935. The forest was named after the Nemadji River, which flows through part of its territory. The primary objective of the state forest was to restore the land and exploit its natural resources more sustainably.

During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program, played a significant role in the management and development of the Nemadji State Forest. The CCC workers were responsible for constructing various forest infrastructure, including roads, bridges, trails, and fire towers that still exist today.

In subsequent decades, the state forest has been managed for multiple uses, including wildlife conservation, timber production, outdoor recreation, and environmental education. Hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking are popular activities in the Nemadji State Forest.

Efforts have also been made to promote sustainable forestry practices, reforestation, and management of wildlife habitats within the forest. Today, the Nemadji State Forest remains a vital part of Minnesota's natural heritage, offering a diverse range of experiences for visitors while preserving its natural resources for future generations.
1. Gafvert Campground: This campground is located on the banks of the Nemadji River and offers tent camping sites with picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water.

2. Net Lake Forest Campground: Located within a short distance from Nemadji State Forest in Superior National Forest area offering primitive campsites for tents or small trailers.

3. Moose Line Road Dispersed Camping Area: For those who prefer more rustic camping experience can opt for dispersed camping along this road inside Nemadji State forest where you are allowed to camp anywhere that does not have signs prohibiting it.

4. Banning State Park: Although technically outside of the state forest boundaries but close enough to be considered as an option while visiting Nemdaji SF; has drive-in electric/non-electric sites available year-round plus camper cabins too!

5. Harbor Point Resort & RV park: A privately owned resort near by which provides full hookups for your RVs.

6. Wild Valley Adventure Grounds: Another private property nearby providing both Tent/RV options.

7. Pattison state park: Just across Wisconsin border (approx 30 min away) having family:friendly amenities like swimming beach etc.
Nearby Vacation Rentals
Search for a vacation rental

Nemadji State Forest is located near Superior

1. Gafvert Camp ATV Trail: This trail is 14 miles long and offers a moderate level of difficulty, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced hikers. The path winds through dense forest areas with occasional clearings offering scenic views.

2. Matthew Lourey State Trail: Named after Sergeant First Class Matthew Ryan Lourey who was killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom, this multi-use trail spans over 80 miles across the Nemadji State Forest providing opportunities to explore various terrains from wetlands to hardwood forests.

3. Red Dot ATV Trails: These trails are specifically designed for all-terrain vehicles but can also be used by hikers looking for an adventurous trekking experience within the state forest's diverse landscape that includes rolling hills, swamps and pine stands.

4. Moose Walk Snowshoeing Pathway: A winter-only pathway perfect for snowshoers or cross-country skiers seeking solitude amidst snowy landscapes dotted with white pines, spruces and firs along its approximately three-mile length.

5. Patison Park Hiking Loop: An easy-to-moderate looped hiking route stretching about two miles around Sturgeon Lake featuring beautiful lake vistas as well as abundant wildlife sightings including deer, foxes or even black bears on rare occasions.

6. North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT): Part of NCT passes through Nemadji State Forest giving access to some stunning natural features like waterfalls cascading down basalt cliffs into deep gorges filled with ferns moss-covered rocks while traversing mixed coniferous-deciduous woodland habitats teeming bird species such songbirds raptors owls etcetera.

7. Bear Hunter Point Lookout Track: It's short steep hike up hilltop lookout point where you get panoramic view entire surrounding area.

8. Big Bend Horseback Riding Route: Designed primarily equestrians yet open walkers too these routes offer miles scenic trails along river valleys through hardwood forests across open meadows.

9. Nemadji River Canoe Route: Although not traditional hiking trail, this water route provides unique way explore forest's diverse ecosystems via canoe or kayak. Paddlers can expect see variety wildlife including beavers otters bald eagles.

10. 4WD Trails: These are rugged pathways designed for four-wheel drive vehicles but also serve as challenging routes for hikers seeking a more strenuous workout amidst the state forest's varied terrain and vegetation types.

11. Banning State Park Hiking Trail: Located on outskirts of Nemadji Forest, these interconnected loops offer over seven miles of moderate to difficult hikes featuring sandstone cliffs, rapids-filled Kettle River and rare plant species like dwarf trout lily in springtime bloom season.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
October 8 Trail Heaven by Mr.B
park review stars; one to five Love the nemadji. One of the greatest places to ride dirt bikes in MN. Miles of trails with great scenery, atv type and ohm dedicated. Also, to hunters who complain about dirt bikes/ atvs: You can hunt basically the entire state, we can ride a very limited amount of areas. Please do not complain about us riding in the Nemadji, its one of the only big trail systems we have in MN. If their is no Animals left to hunt because of riders, please go one of the many many places we can not.
November 1 Diminished Area by Issac
park review stars; one to five The moose that I used to see in the Nemadji have been run out by constant ATV use. Deer hunting in this forest is like trying to hunt inside the oval at the Indianapolis 500 because of all the dirt bikes and ATVs. This is to bad to because the Nemadji used to be a quiet remote and wonderful forest.
March 25 great grouse hunting
park review stars; one to five I have 20 acres inside of this forest and it produces more grouse in one year than most people shoot in 5
write a review read more reviews
Share On

1. Start by heading north on I:35 from Duluth or south if coming from Superior.
2. Take Exit 235 for MN:23 toward Mahtowa/Sandstone and turn east onto MN-23.
3. Continue driving on MN:23 for approximately 10 miles until you reach a junction with County Road 61/Markville Road.
4. Turn left onto County Road 61/Markville Road and continue driving north for about 6 miles.

5a: For access to the eastern part of Nemadji State Forest (including Gafvert Campground):.
- At the intersection with Co Rd E/Finnish Line Rd, take a right turn towards Finnish Lake Trailhead/Gafvert Campground entrance road.

5b: For access to western parts of Nemadji State Forest:.
- Stay straight on Markville Rd at this intersection instead of turning right towards Finnish Lake Trailhead/Gafvert Campground entrance road

6a: If following step "5a", drive along Finnsh Line rd till you see signs leading up-to your desired location within Eastern Part Of The forest.
6b:If Following Step "5B", Drive Along marksville RD Till You See Signs Leading Up-To Your Desired Location Within Western Parts Of The forest.

state route ranger badge

Minnesota State Parks