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Sand Dunes State Forest




Acres: 11,040

State Forest Map

Motor Vehicle/OHV Classification: Closed

Approved Firewood Vendors

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• The DNR has created a stakeholder advisory group to increase communication and collaboration with the public about management in the Sand Dunes State Forest. Please visit the Sand Dunes State Forest Stakeholder Advisory Group Web page for more information.

• Sand Dunes State Forest is located in central Sherburne County, about three miles west of Zimmerman and 5 miles north of Big Lake. The forest can be reached by taking Sherburne County five north from Big Lake, off U.S. 10, or following Sherburne County Highway 4 west from Zimmerman off U.S. 169.

• Sand Dunes has something for everyone. The 225-acre Bob Dunn Recreation Area, nestled within the forest, holds a 36-unit Ann Lake Campground and Day-Use including the Sand Dunes Horse Camp which is busy on summer weekends.

• Sand Dunes consists of oak savanna forest and prairie and 2,700 acres of pine plantation on rolling terrain. It provides beautiful areas for many recreational activities, such as horseback riding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hunting, swimming, panfish fishing on Ann Lake, camping and hiking.

More about this forest

Visitor Alert:

April 13, 2017: Work crews will soon be cleaning up trees downed by an early March tornado in the Ann Lake Campground and Day Use Area in the Sand Dunes State Forest. A commercial logger will salvage useable trees, and DNR workers will remove trees in areas not accessible to the logger.

Please avoid this area during the cleanup for your safety and that of the work crews. The campground and day use areas will hopefully open by Memorial Day. The horse camp opened April 12.

On March 6, a tornado damaged about 25 acres of trees in the Sand Dunes State Forest. The Ann Lake Campground and Ann Lake Day Use Area suffered most of the damage. No outbuildings, solar panels, or other structures in the state forest were damaged. An area south of the Ann Lake Campground and adjacent to the Uncas Dunes SNA also has downed trees.

Forest Notes

There is no target shooting allowed within Sand Dunes State Forest. All other state forest are open. Check out the firearms and shooting ranges information on the state forest rules page.

Sand Dunes State Forest at a glance...


Boat Ramp Nearby

Dispersed Camping

Canoe / Kayak




Picnic Area




4 Miles Cross-Country Skiing

4 Miles Hiking

29 Miles Horseback

4 Miles Mountain Biking

23 Miles Snowmobiling

Attention Trail Users:

• This area is very sandy, which may make mountain biking difficult.

Notice: Groomed snowmobile trails, as signed, are closed Dec. 1 to off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and highway licensed vehicles (HLV's).

• State forest roads are open to highway-licensed vehicles. There are no off-highway vehicle riding opportunities in this forest.

Temp Forest Road / OHV Closures


Ann Lake Campground & Day-Use Area
Bob Dunn Horse Campground

Special features

• Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
• Uncas Dunes SNA

Other destinations

Freemont WMA
Lake Maria State Park