The Minnesota Northwoods Guide for Thrillseekers: Where to Go and What to Do

Love a good hike, bike, or outdoor adventure? Looking to get your thrills in the Minnesota Northwoods? Whether you’re completely new to northern Minnesota and are looking for beginner’s guide or have visited here a dozen times and are looking for something new, we can help! As a northern Minnesota resort that’s been here for decades, you could say we know the lay of the land when it comes to outdoor activities in the Minnesota Northwoods. We know the best places to hike and bike, the best routes to take, and the best things to see. Best of all, we’re willing to share them with you (no secrets here!). 

If you’re planning a trip to northern Minnesota and are looking for a thrill, here are some of our best suggestions. 

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping with These Northern Minnesota Trip Ideas

Guided Tours on the Mississippi River

Experience the excitement of riding on the Mississippi River! There are plenty of guided tours that run out of Grand Rapids. Whether you’re experienced or have never paddled before, you can explore the second longest river in North America!  

Kayaking and Canoeing in Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids area is also an incredible place to kayak or canoe. With numerous lakes and rivers, adventurers can enjoy tranquil waters or seek out more challenging routes with rapids and swift currents. Besides our very own Sugar Lake, there are plenty of rivers and lakes to get out on, including: 

  • Pokegama Lake 
  • Loon Lake  
  • Rice Lake 
  • Vermillion Lake 

Check out the Chippewa National Forest for plenty more lakes and rivers to try. 

Zip Lining in the Minnesota Northwoods

Take to the treetops and (quite literally) zip through the air as you take in the sites of the Minnesota Northwoods. There’s no shortage of zip lining opportunities that are suitable for people of all ages. Bring your friends and family to the Grand Rapids area to soar above the trees and enjoy breathtaking views of the landscape at high speeds. It’s an adventure that’s sure to get your heart racing. 

Mountain Biking at Tioga Recreation Area

Dive into the thrill of mountain biking across 25 miles of purpose-built trails at Tioga Recreation Area. The trails of the Minnesota Northwoods are suitable for all skill levels. From the flowing singletrack that weaves through dense forests of pine and birch to challenging technical sections that test your skills and nerve, there’s something for everyone. These trails offer stunning views of Pokegama Lake and provide an adrenaline-pumping experience with options for both beginners and seasoned bikers. 

The Tioga Recreation Area offers a range of trails that include easy rides along the lake’s edge, intermediate tracks with rolling hills and natural obstacles, and advanced routes that feature steep climbs and thrilling descents. That’s not all; there’s plenty of other places to bike. See our list of recommendations here. 

What’s There to Do in Winter?

More of a winter sports enthusiast? There’s plenty of things for thrill seekers to do in Grand Rapids during the long Minnesota winters: 

  • Snowmobiling: there’s an extensive network of snowmobiling trails. You can speed through snow-covered forests and across frozen lakes for an unforgettable high-speed adventure. 
  • Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: for a thrilling yet serene winter experience, the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails around Grand Rapids offer beautiful landscapes and peaceful solitude. Plus, you’ll get a pretty darn good workout in. 
  • Ice Fishing: have we mentioned that we have a lot of lakes? The fishing trips don’t need to end just because summer is over. Get out on the lake and go catch some of the many types of fish that inhabit our waters. 
  • Fat Tire Biking: hit the frozen trails of the Tioga Recreation Area (mentioned above)! 

Need a Basecamp for Your Next Adventure? Try Sugar Lake Lodge 

Sugar Lake Lodge is located in Cohasset, Minnesota, less than 10 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids! We are a central location and resort for hikers, bikers, fishers, and anyone else looking to experience the great outdoors in Northern Minnesota. 

At the end of your day, you can kick back at our resort, hang by the lake, grab something to eat, and even play a round of golf on our on 18-hole, par 71 course. There’s plenty to do here, so next time you’re planning a trip to Northern Minnesota, get in touch with us to see our availability. 


Book a Trip to Sugar Lake Lodge Today!