Cass Lake Area Attractions

Star Island
Star Island with  Lake Windigo inside is a spring lake inside an island inside a river fed lake.
Lake Windigo, sitting inside Star Island, is the only spring fed lake within a river fed lake in the northern hemisphere. Lake Windigo’s unique location earned it a notation with “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in 1958. The lake covers 199 acres with a maximum depth of 25 feet.
Star Island is one of the most unique features of the Chippewa National Forest. Named for its star shape by the Ojibwe Indians, “Star Island” is the largest of four islands in Cass Lake. Star Island has over eight miles of shoreline and encompasses 980 acres of both public land and private homes. The Chippewa National Forest is responsible for managing more than three-fourths of the island for public, scenic and recreational use. Unique to Star Island is the “Ten Section Area”, which was one of the earliest designated portions of the national forest. The old growth trees are a favorite with the bald eagles. The earliest residents of Star Island are believed to be the Woodland people about 1,500 years ago.
Lady Slipper Scenic Byway
Lady Slipper Scenic Byway goes “over the river and through the woods,” just like the song says. The river is the Mississippi River, where it passes out of Cass Lake as a wilderness stream, close to the beginning of its long journey. The woods are the pines, aspen and birches of the Chippewa National Forest, which covers a wide expanse of north central Minnesota. The byway itself is a 28-mile drive that follows County Road 39 between the small, northwoods town of Blackduck and Highway 2 east of the town of Cass Lake.

Along with scenic views of the Forest, the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway brings you to beaches, trails and an interesting piece of our country’s history. This byway was recently renamed in honor of the state flower, the showy lady slipper. These lovely orchids, with pink pouches and white petals, grow in abundance along the byway’s roadsides in late June, especially just north of Pennington. All summer, watch for eagles, ducks, herons and pelicans near the rivers and lakes the byway passes. Also be sure to take the time to stop and listen for the haunting call of loons, which will be found on most of the area lakes.

Itasca State Park
Today, the park totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of

Stand under towering pines at Preacher’s grove. Visit the Itasca Indian Cemetery or Wegmann’s Cabin, landmarks of centuries gone by. Camp under the stars, or stay the night at the historic Douglas Lodge or cabins. Explore Wilderness Drive past the 2,000-acre Wilderness Sanctuary. For more information about this park call 218-266-2100 or visit

All 72 Minnesota state parks are in the Guide to Minnesota State Parks at state parks and tourist information centers or call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367). No camping reservations are needed from Nov. 1 through April 1. Reservations can be made online at or by calling toll free 1-866-85PARKS.

Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe The Ojibwe Indians, later named Chippewa by the US Federal government, arrived in what is now Minnesota in the early 1700’s. At the time of the white man’s arrival into Minnesota, the Chippewa occupied over half of the state. Most of the occupied Indian lands in Minnesota were ceded to the Federal government in 1807
and through a series of legislative acts; several Indian Reservations were “reserved” for Native Americans. Today, much of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation lies within the Chippewa National Forest.

The Leech Lake Reservation is one of six reservations affiliated with the federally recognized Minnesota Chippewa Tribe; the fourth largest Tribe in the nation. Approximately 10,000 Tribal members live on or near the Leech Lake Reservation. Three of Minnesota’s largest lakes are located here, as well as a majority of the Chippewa National Forest.

The modern day Ojibwe people operate three casinos on the reservation, located in Cass Lake, Walker, and Deer River. A variety of local businesses and Native Arts and Crafts stores can be found offering traditional hand harvested wild rice, maple syrup, birch bark crafts, quill boxes, and other cultural treasures. Pow-wow celebrations bring together traditional dancers from all over the United States and Canada, outfitted in historic dress and colors.

Pow-wows are religious and social gatherings of the Indian people and visitors are invited to participate. The grand entry march that begins each Pow-wow is a spectacular display of colorful outfits and traditional meanings associated with the earth, birds, and wildlife; interpreted by the dancers themselves. Public Pow-wows are meant for everyone and visitors are encouraged to attend. It is a time for celebration and fun.

Chippewa National Forest
The Chippewa National Forest was the first National Forest established east of the Mississippi River in 1908. Originally known as the Minnesota National Forest, the name was changed in 1928 to
honor the original inhabitants. The Forest has a rich history, ranging from prehistoric times to the early logging era and CCC days. The Forest boundary encompasses about 1.6 million acres. Water is abundant on the Chippewa, with over 1,300 lakes, 925 miles of streams, and 400,000 acres of wetlands. The Forest’s landscape is a reminder of the glaciers which blanketed northern Minnesota some
10,000 years ago.

As you visit the Chippewa National Forest you will observe a working forest. Recreation developments, wildlife habitat projects, and timber harvest are evident. Timber is harvested from about one percent of the Chippewa National Forest each year. Timber sales provide raw materials for the paper and wood industry and improve wildlife habitat for white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, and non-game species such as hawks, swallows, and sparrows.

Lost Forty
The Lost Forty acres consists of virgin red and white pine that has remained untouched by man, due to an error that incorrectly mapped the area as under water. See the Lost Forty and discover what northern Minnesota looked like before loggers came to the area in the late 1800s.

Pennington Bog
This bog contains an abundance of orchids and wildlife that are very rare. A variety of birds inhabit the bog and it is classified as a Scientific Nature Area. A free special permit is required to enter the bog, please call 218-755-2976.

Webster Lake Bog Walk
Travel the boardwalk, located near Webster Lake, to see and learn about carnivorous bog plants such as Pitcher Plant and Sundew!

Cass Lake Museum and Lyle's Logging Camp
Experience some of Cass Lake’s past in the historically accurate museum of logging artifacts. Replicas of equipment once used by loggers are on display and each building is furnished just as it was in the early days.

The museum’s six buildings were built virtually single-handed by a retired forester, Lyle Chisholm, who began working summers in logging camps at the age of 11. Lyle himself raised funds, constructed the buildings and collected the original artifacts for this unique and original display of history.

Adjacent to Lyle’s Logging Camp is the Cass Lake Museum, formerly a railroad depot and one of the few remaining original Soo Line buildings in Minnesota. History of the Cass Lake area is displayed throughout this 2400 sq. ft. facility and includes many Native American and 1800’s artifacts.

The Cass Lake Museum and Lyle’s Logging Camp is open May 26 to October 1; 218-335-6723

Forestedge Winery
Established in 1999, the Forestedge Winery is nestled in the woods at the edge of the Paul Bunyan State Forest. Specializing in wines made from the fruits and berries that survive the northern winters, Forestedge offers a wide selection of light, dry fruit wines that have won awards at international wine judging events.Tasting is available in our tasting and sales room and tourists can tour the winery and visit the gift gallery next door.

Forestedge Winery, 35295 state 64 , Laporte MN. 56461

Cass Lake Chain of Lakes
The Cass Lake Chain of Lakes is located in the heart of the Chippewa National Forest. There are 9 lakes on the actual chain that can be accessed by boat. These include: Big Wolf Lake, Lake Andrusia, Cass Lake, Pike Bay, Buck Lake, Kitchi Lake, Little Rice Lake and Big Rice Lake.

Other lakes in the area would include: Big Lake, Little Wolf Lake, Pimushe Lake, Moose Lake and many smaller lakes. To the east of the Chain you will find Lake Winnibigoshish and to the south is Leech Lake. Cass Lake Chain of Lakes hosted the 2004 Pro Walleye Tournament.

The breathtaking beauty of the Chippewa National Forest, crystal clear waters, sugar sand beaches and an abundance of wildlife surround these lakes in a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.

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