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North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area

Lake of the Woods + Red Lake Area, Minnesota

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North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area

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  • The entrance to the trail from the parking area- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • The North Country Trail (NCT) information sign and map to your left as you enter from the parking area. - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • The trail head just beyond the information sign to the left.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • Start of the trail is packed down from frequent use.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • First fork in the trail about .3 miles in, stay left following the NCT signs- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • If present, do not walk on the cross country ski tracks- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • At .6 miles the trail officially connect with the NCT.  - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • At .7 miles you come to an intersecting trail, continue straight. - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • At the 1 mile mark follow the NCT trail sign turning you left onto a much wider trail- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • The trail is much wider here, remember to stay out of the xc tracks if you are snowshoeing.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • You will pass a campsite on your right.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • The NCT veers left at mile 1.2.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • This part of the trail is not used as frequently.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • The forest starts to thin out to bushes as you approach the Anoway Lake bridge.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • The Anoway Lake bridge at mile 1.6- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • Views from the bridge.- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • More views. - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • Looking back on the bridge after crossing. - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • continue into the forest following the river after the bridge. - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • Arrive at Co. Rd. 50 at mile 3.2. - North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • NCT sign close to being buried in the snow- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
  • NCT post to follow the trail beyond Co. Rd. 50- North Country Trail, Shingobee Recreational Area
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Solitude, wildlife viewing
Cons: 
Out of the way
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Region:
Lake of the Woods + Red Lake Area, MN
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
227.00 ft (69.19 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter
Total Distance: 
6.48 mi (10.43 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,429.00 ft (435.56 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

This snowshoe excursion can be done as an out-and-back or as a one-way trip if you have two vehicles and can park at each trailhead. As you wind through the Chippewa National Forest, which houses one of the largest breeding grounds for bald eagles in the lower 48, you may catch sight of one of these birds of prey. This trail section will bring you through a mixed forest of spruce, fir, aspen, and planted pines. Keep your eyes open for white-tailed deer. This report begins at Shingobee Recreation Area and heads east to connect with the North Country Trail (NCT).

At the Shingobee Recreational Area, enter through the west end because the parking area is a one-way road and the east side is an exit only. The trailhead is on the east end of the parking lot at the top of the Shingobee sledding hill. You will find an NCT map and information board, and the trailhead is just beyond the sign to your left.

The trail begins by heading east and paralleling Highway 34 for the first half-mile. Thankfully, the trees buffer most of the road noise. The first 1.2 miles follows groomed trails that you will want to avoid walking in. There is plenty of room to walk single file next to the groomed ski trail. 

You will reach your first trail junction at mile 0.3. Follow the trail to the left using the NCT signposts as a guide. At mile 0.6 you will join with the NCT Trail, which is marked by a map. You can see the NCT continue north to your left. You will follow the groomed trail straight ahead. Veering southeast, you will quickly reach a trail intersection where you will again continue straight. 

After another mile you'll reach an intersection: Take a right and continue to follow the NCT signposts. This part of the trail is wider, which makes avoiding the groomed trail easier. After passing a campsite on your right, keep an eye out for the NCT signpost at mile 1.2 directing you to follow the trail left. This is where the NCT leaves the recreational area. Look for the NCT signpost shortly after turning for reassurance that you are on the correct trail.

While it is not maintained in the winter, the trail is easy to follow.  The forest begins to thin out, and you will cross a frozen bog on the famous Anoway Lake troll bridge, which offers a beautiful panoramic view. Re-entering the forest, the trail climbs above the Shingobee River and follows the river for the remainder of the hike. Once you find yourself at Co. Rd. 50, return the way you came or drive back to Shingobee Recreational Area.

Note that quite a few fallen trees block the trail, but it is easy to maneuver around them. 

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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