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Bowstring State Forest


Beltrami, Itasca, Cass


Acres: 526,569

Motor Vehicle/OHV Classification: Limited

Approved Firewood Vendors

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•There is no better way to see this forest than on a trail. Hike and view wildflowers, bike along a tranquil wetland, hunt grouse on a hunter/walking trail, or ski through winter woods. If your prefer four-wheeling adventures, the Soo Line North ATV Trail travels through portions of the forest, so your odds are excellent to see northern Minnesota's wildlife.

• Bowstring State Forest is in the center of the Chippewa National Forest and includes all of Lake Winnibigoshish and parts of Leech and Cass lakes.

• Anglers can expect to find excellent fishing for walleye, northern pike, jumbo perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappies, and bluegills in the numerous lakes within this forest.

More about this forest


Car driving along a forest road in Grand Portage State Forest.

Fall Color Scenic Drive: Bowstring State Forest offers a great fall color route. Travel along State Highway 46 between Deer River and Northome in early October for best color. Want more options? Check out other State Forest scenic fall color drives recommend by DNR foresters.

Visitor Alert:

OHV Riding Restrictions During Deer Hunting Season

  • Use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on state forest OHV trails and state forest trails during firearms deer season is allowed only for deer-hunting purposes, and only within permitted times. More information

Bowstring State Forest at a glance...



Boat Ramp Nearby

Dispersed Camping





Cross-Country Skiing


Mountain Biking

Class I ATV

Class II ATV


Temp Forest Road / OHV Closures


Cottonwood Lake Campground
Moose Lake Campground

Special features

• Morph Meadows WMA
• Mud Goose WMA
• Sugar Lake WMA
• Hole in Bog Peatland SNA
• Bowstring Deer Yard WMA
• Chippewa National Forest
• Mississippi River State Water Trail
• Scenic State Park
• Soo Line North ATV Trail: Shovel Lake - Cass Lake
• Soo Line North ATV Trail: Lawler - Shovel Lake
• Soo Line North ATV Trail: Moose Lake - Lawler

Other destinations

Big Fork State Forest
George Washington State Forest
Paul Bunyan State Forest
Scenic State Park
Itasca State Park