Select Page


  • The Heartland Trail nearly doubled in length this past year when another 22 miles of biking was added to the original route of 28 miles from Park Rapids through Dorset, Nevis and Akeley to Walker. The extension into Cass Lake from Walker adds more lake views, an historical site and another trail town.
    The scenic trail that goes through prime lakes and pines country has a secluded feel with a minimum of road noise much of the way, plus a lot of interesting sights. You’ll see all kinds of pines as well as birch, oak, maple and a lot of popple. And there always seems to be some kind of water near the trail, whether in a marshland, pond or lake (and they can be as big as Leech Lake).
    Old and long trestles and bridges from the era of the railroads now carry cyclists, often high above the water.
    The trail passes beaches (in Nevis and Akeley), gives you a glimpse of the tallest Paul Bunyan in the state (although he’s crouching) and passes through Dorset, “Restaurant capital of the World.”
    Once you’ve pedaled down the Heartland Trail, you’ll know why it has become one of the most popular trails in the state. Visitors who have cabins in the area or who stay at one of the 100-plus resorts are frequent trail riders with their own favorite segments.
    Except for Cass Lake, all of the towns have trailheads with plenty of parking and usually with bathrooms.
    • The trail starts in Heartland Park in Park Rapids; watch for the access road off Hwy. 34 on the east side of the bridge over the Fish Hook River. In the large park are restrooms, drinking fountains, tennis courts, playground, large picnic shelters, volleyball court, horseshoe pits, ball fields, beach on the river, boat launch on Fish Hook Lake and lots of trees and green grass. A bike-walking path takes you over a pretty red bridge and more park area and access to downtown shops.
    • The trailhead in Dorset is also a nice park with plenty of parking, playground for the kids, shelter with picnic area, toilets and an old-fashioned hand water pump with fresh, cold water.
    • The Nevis trailhead also has parking, bathroom, toilet, shelter, playground and the “World’s Largest Tiger Muskie.”
    • The trailhead in Akeley has parking and shelter; it’s right next to a lake and park that includes beach, fishing pier and city campground.
    • The trailhead in Walker has parking, and that’s about it.
    • The trailhead in Cass Lake (at the end of the trail)  has limited parking and no other facilities at this time.
  • After several false starts, the chances are excellent that the long-awaited link from the Heartland Trail to the Paul Bunyan Trail south of Walker (about 11 miles, estimated) could be finished by mid-summer, depending on the weather and any unforeseen construction glitches.
    • Funding has been committed, bids have been taken and work should resume this summer.
    • The connection would begin about 3 miles south of Walker, go east through the Chippewa National Forest (where some nice hills and curves would be paved) and then south  to Hackensack to connect to the Paul Bunyan Trail.
    • The route through the Chippewa will be the most secluded section of the Paul Bunyan; road noise should be non-existent with no residential areas.


  • Park Rapids
    Park Rapids is the biggest town on the trail, but still has less than 3,000 persons, not counting all the people out in the townships with lake homes. Park Rapids has been drawing tourists for a long time to the dozens of lakes in the area that are popular for fishing as well as water sports. Park Rapids has not been spoiled with a mall development, so the downtown has retained that small-town feel but with over three blocks of shops, restaurants and assorted dining opportunities. And there are more shops and restaurants away from town, often tucked under pines and close to lakes. Itasca State Park, one of the state’s most visited parks and headwaters of the Mississippi, is 20 miles away and offers a wide variety of activities, campfire programs and sightseeing, as well as biking opportunities (see Itasca section).

The following information is from paid advertisers – let them know where you found them!
   Lady Slipper Inn – 51722 – 270th St., Osage, MN 56570 – Phone: 1-800-531-2787 or 218-573-3353
Your perfect romantic retreat. Each room features double whirlpool, fireplace, TV/VCR, private bath and private deck. Wander our 160 scenic wooded acres and enjoy our twin spring-fed ponds for swimming, canoeing and catch and release fishing. Full breakfast served. Gift Certificates available. John and Pat Corbid, owners.



Coldwell Banker Clack & Dennis Real Estate – 113 Main Ave. So,., Park Rapids MN 56470  and Bunyan Trails Drive, Nevis, MN  56467
Serving the Park Rapids area with offices on Main Street and a Nevis branch office on Bunyan Trails Drive. Entering our 20th year with over 6500 happy buyers & sellers!
Preferred Properties – 1005 Hwy. 34E., Park Rapids MN 56470  Phone: 732-8888 or 1-888-240-4240.
We love our woods, lakes and trails! You will too! Professionals Pairing People with Properties. Leila Johnson, 732-9393; Mary Bergman, 732-9850; Viny Van Roekel, 732-7403; Jack Brann, 237-3333; Patti Selbitschka, 732-9347.
Straight River Real Estate – 101 S. Main Ave., Park Rapids MN 56470  Phone: 732-9734.
Specializing in lakeshore and recreational properties. Stop in or call for a FREE property guide. 1-800-726-1802.


Tourist Info:
Itasca Area Lakes Association – P.O. Box 838, Park Rapids, MN 56470 – Phone: (218) 732-8816 or (888)-292-7118.
Our reserots, campgrounds and lodging facilities are located in the Park Rapids, Dorset, Nevis, Waubun, Lake Itasca, Minnesota area. We specialize in vacations that will make you want to come back. Our area offers pristine northwoods pine, clean and clear lakes. Bike in beautiful Itasca State Park or on the Heartland Trail. Enjoy good dining and unique shopping.
Park Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce – Park Rapids, MN 56470 – Phone: 1-800-247-0054.
The Park Rapids Ambassadors welcome you to the 20th Headwaters 100 Bike Ride. Saturday, Sept. 23rd, 2000. Featuring a 45-75-100 mile ride. Spaghetti Dinner on Friday, Sept. 22, 5-8 p.m. at the American Legion. Register early for discount at 1-800-247-0054 or

  • Dorset
    There are only about two dozen people living in Dorset, which isn’t even an official town, but in the summer there are so many persons eating in the four restaurants that its claim to be “The Restaurant Capital of the World” has never been disputed. This is a fun little town that is full of visitors, but doesn’t feel “touristy.” There are a half-dozen shops that have unique offerings of books, pottery, stained glass, antiques, paintings and a wide variety of country and contemporary gift items. The town also has an “old tyme” photo studio, RV park, bike rental and a bed and breakfast (that was once a schoolhouse). The annual “Taste of Dorset” packs between two and three thousands persons (many coming by bike) into the tiny town for an afternoon of food, fun and entertainment.

The following information is from paid advertisers – let them know where you found them!
    Heartland Trail Bed & Breakfast – 20220 Friar Road, Park Rapids, MN 56470 – Phone: 218-732-3252.
A 1920’s Dorset Schoolhouse renewed as a charming B&B welcomes you.  Located adjacent to the Heartland Trail bike path, and offers on-site bike rental for your convenience. Our six guestrooms all have private baths; we serve a full breakfast each morning. John and Pat Corbid, owners.

    Companeros – 20427 State 226. Just off the Heartland Trail in Dorset, MN 56470 – (218) 732-7624
Great Mexican Food, Drink & Fun!  Delightful Mexican surroundings. Whether it’s a full Mexican dinner, a light lunch or just a refreshing Margarita or Mexican beer outside (with or without alcohol). Pearls??  Check  our excellent freshwater, traditional and “The Ultimate Treasure” – Tahitian black pearls.  Summer open daily at noon.  Call for spring and fall hours.

    JV Stained Glass Creations – 20459 State 226, Park Rapids, MN 56470  – Phone: (218) 773-1483 or (218) 732-8022
Next to Companeros in Dorset, MN. Stained Glass Creations offers original designs and custom work specializing in loons, flowers and wildlife.  Items created include lamps, panels, windows and more!  Shop hours are 12 noon-8 pm daily from Mid-June thru Labor Day, Friday-Sunday in Sept. & Oct.  They will ship your order.
   Sister Wolf Books – 20471 State 226, Dorset, MN 56470 – Phone: 218-732-7565
Come for the books, stay for the coffee! Known for a superb selectin of books. We also carry journals, pens, jewelry, music, games, puzzles, toys, greeting cards, and our signature shirts. Now serving espresso. Open May through September, daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
   Woodstock North Gifts – 20428 St. 226, Park Rapids, MN 56470 – Phone: 732-8457
Located in the old bank, featuring a collectible Heartland Trail pin; Heartland Trail and Dorset shirts; featuring gifts of hand selected silver and turquoise jewelry; home decor; body lotions; local jams and jellies; premium wild rice; local artisan gift lines; handmade porcelain dolls; greeting cards; souvenirs and more.

Attractions and Services:

Tourist Info:
Information – Phone: 1-800-247-0054.

  • Nevis
    Nevis is “Home of the World’s Largest Tiger Muskie” as well as several shops and restaurants. The town was built on a bay of Lake Belle Taine that stretches for nearly seven miles. The town has a picturesque hillside beach, a park right on the trail and is gateway to the Paul Bunyan State Forest that has many miles of hiking trails. Also popular is a canoe trip down the Crow Wing River. Nevis, as the other towns in the area, is surrounded by lakes that are home to retirees, weekend cabin owners and about a dozen resorts.

The following information is from paid advertisers – let them know where you found them!

   Pine Bay Resort  – 24300 Grand Pines Dr., Nevis, MN 56467 – (218) 652-3313 or 1-800-874-6322
Pine Bay Resort offers you 8 ultra-modern housekeeping cabins spaced for privacy, on a secluded bay on Spider Lake, at the end of the road, the ultimate in peace and relaxation!  We’re just 1 1/2 miles from the Heartland Trail and 20 miles from Itasca State Park. If you’re in the area, come in and look us over!
   Resort Content – 24519 Fairwood Lane, Nevis, MN  56467. Phone: 877-726-7716.
8 clean, modern cabins on a private, secluded bay. Cozy, comfortable and affordable. Free use of canoe, paddleboat, kayak & funbugs. Bike the Heartland and Paul Bunyan Trails. Visit Itasca State Park. Relax in the sun or splash in the lake. Old fashioned family fun.