Welcome to the Lake Bemidji State Park virtual tour! Travel down the Mississippi River through Lake Bemidji, or try some fishing on the pier. Want to camp? Many options offer something for everyone. We hope the tour prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
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Welcome to Lake Bemidji State Park! Located 7 miles north of Bemidji, the park attracts visitors from near and far. The resources of a large community support music and the arts, expertise in science and technology, and public services that benefit the park. At the same time, the park’s size and varied habitat support a surprising array of migratory birds, aquatic species, orchids, and other significant plants. Black bears, wolves, foxes, fishers, bald eagles, and osprey top the list of "charismatic megafauna" to watch for here.
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The park has the best swimming beach on Lake Bemidji! The long sandy shore invites you to soak up the sun all summer. Buoys mark off a safe swimming area from boaters, and benches let you lounge with a book or relax while the kids play. The nearby restroom includes an outdoor shower, and a picnic area is just back from the water.
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Rocky Point Overlook
With its spectacular view high over Lake Bemidji, Rocky Point is one of the most popular destinations in the park. The Rocky Point Trail runs along the lakeshore, gaining in elevation as it rises to the bluff. Visitors will enjoy the observation deck with its exhibits and benches. Bicyclists looping the lake often pause for a break here and take in the view.
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Big Bog Lake
No matter when you visit, the trip to the bog provides the classic Lake Bemidji State Park experience. In spring, migrating birds return to the open water; in early summer, the trail is crowded with orchid-seekers; fall brings changing colors, including the tamaracks around Big Bog Lake; and with skis and snowshoes in winter, a trip to the bog is a trip to a snowy wonderland.
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Bog Walk Boardwalk
Did you come to photograph lady’s-slippers? Search for sundews? Touch the new needles of a tamarack tree? The Bog Walk reveals the unique world of sphagnum moss, insect-eating pitcher plants, black spruce, and slow-moving tea-colored water. Interpretive displays along the way will introduce you to the bog’s hydrology, plant, and animal species.
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Sundew Pond Overlook
Sundew Pond is a quiet refuge a little ways off the Paul Bunyan State Trail. Bald eagles nest on the far side of this large beaver pond, so be alert to both sky and water. The overlook is an easy walk or bike ride from the main park area.
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Paul Bunyan State Trail
Lake Bemidji State Park is the northern trailhead for the Paul Bunyan State Trail. Hikers, runners, bicyclists, in-line skaters, and skiers in winter all enjoy this paved route through the woods. Geocachers may find coordinates that bring them out here too.
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Paul Bunyan State Trail—T-intersection
At the east edge of the park, the Paul Bunyan State Trail turns north or south. Go north for a short trip up to Big Bass Lake—the west arm is within the park boundary. Or go south, and you can bike, hike, or snowmobile a hundred miles to Brainerd! The trail intersects with the Heartland Trail as well, taking you to Cass Lake or Park Rapids. Many people loop Lake Bemidji by connecting to the city’s bike route along the west side.
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Paul Bunyan State Trail—Big Bass Lake
The northern spur of the Paul Bunyan State Trail makes an easy destination. This rail-to-trail segment rides high above Big Bass Lake on the old railroad grade. The lake’s west arm, within the park boundary, has an eagle nest along the shore; the eastern side is dotted with homes and cabins. North of the park boundary, the route continues as the Blue Ox ATV Trail.
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If you don’t have a boat, or the whitecaps are just too high, the fishing pier is a great place to cast a line. Fish on a spring or fall evening and you might hook a walleye. Try your luck in the summer and it could be a perch or northern. A fish-cleaning house is nearby for your convenience. The park has its own pontoon boat and offers fishing programs as well as tours of Lake Bemidji and the upper Mississippi throughout the summer.
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The marina includes a loading ramp and eight docks. Campers may leave their boats at a dock for no additional charge during their stay (first come, first served). Two kayaks, two canoes, and two rowboats are available to rent by contacting the park office. A fish-cleaning house is located nearby. The arched bridge over the marina channel is a popular spot for photos.
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Here is your chance to pose with that really big fish—the one that didn’t get away! Or perhaps you’d like to commemorate your summer vacation, family reunion, or wedding here at the park. The Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park helped fund this iconic park sign which features two carved bears.
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The Picnic Shelter was constructed by the National Youth Administration between 1936 and 1940 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The shelter is just a few steps from the water’s edge, making it popular for birthday parties, family reunions, and wedding receptions. Contact the park office for information about renting this shelter for your next get-together.
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Picnic Shelter Interior
The heavy wooden beams and stone fireplace of this historic Picnic Shelter create an informal but impressive setting for any event. Close to the lake, the Picnic Shelter offers visitors a shady retreat in summer or a spot to build a roaring fire for an autumn get-together. Call early to rent—summer weekends are in high demand. The shelter has six picnic tables inside, seating 48 to 50 people, with more tables just outside. It is handicap accessible and has electricity, plus a cold-water spigot just 20 feet away.
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This playground is one of the most popular spots in the park. It offers swings, a slide, spiral staircase, hand rings, and more…plenty to tempt a child’s imagination and energy! With picnic tables and restrooms nearby, it is an ideal place for kids to play. The beach is not far, so your family may want to plan an entire afternoon of fun. The playground equipment was funded by the Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park.
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Just off the beach, the park’s picnic area offers great places to enjoy a sandwich or grill up some brats. Mature trees provide dappled shade for tables and fire rings. Breezes off the lake keep the bugs down too!
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The amphitheater provides the perfect outdoor venue for summer concerts, theater performances, campfire programs, and weddings. Tucked under the pines, wooden benches provide comfortable, shaded seating for up to 200 people. Restrooms are available at the nearby visitor center. Call early to reserve—this is a popular spot for Saturday weddings!
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The visitor center, located in the lower level of the park office, is a hub for learning and activities. As you approach the building, landscaping highlights native trees and wildflowers. Public programs take place here year-round and include everything from snowshoe lacing to butterflies to ice fishing to storytime. Restrooms are available in the building.
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Visitor Center Interior
Inside the visitor center, exhibits illuminate local plants, animals, Lake Bemidji, and the bog. Kids will love watching the fish in the aquarium, climbing inside the life-size beaver lodge, or checking out the touchscreen computer displays. If the weather isn’t great, then available videos, magazines, and books will save the day! The trail center portion of the building offers big picnic tables, comfy chairs, materials for trip planning, and a great place to spend a rainy afternoon.
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Visitors can stop at the visitor center, exhibits (located on the main park road) for vehicle permits, camping or camper cabin reservations, or to rent snowshoes, a small boat, or a facility. Browse the Nature Store inside or get more details about the park, park programs, and the Bemidji area from friendly park staff.
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This campground offers electric and non-electric sites in an open setting shaded by mature trees. Oak Lane campsites are an easy walk from the beach, marina, and picnic areas.
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Most electric sites are in Pine and Birch Lanes. The Pine Lane restroom building is handicap accessible and available to all campers. The Aspen Lane restroom serves Aspen Lane campers and the camper cabins as well.
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The Dining Hall is the only building remaining from the original Beltrami Camp. Built in 1942, the camp was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The camp buildings were turned over to the state in 1957 and included a boys' dorm, girls' dorm, and other outbuildings that no longer remain. Family reunions, civic or church group get-togethers, scouts, and many others have enjoyed this historic site over the years. The Dining Hall is available for rental.
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Dining Hall Interior
Glowing woodwork, overhead beams, and a stone fireplace enhance every event held within the Dining Hall. The building seats about 100 people at 10 tables with benches. The complete kitchen includes a double sink with hot and cold water, a kitchen range (four burners and oven), a full-size refrigerator, and plenty of prep space. A large fire ring and picnic tables are located on the shaded lawn just outside the building. Call early to rent—the Dining Hall is very popular for wedding receptions and family reunions.
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Lake Bemidji State Park boasts four camper cabins. Each cabin is neatly tucked into the trees and has its own private outdoor area, complete with a deck, fire ring, and picnic table. Tamarack and Maple cabins are handicap accessible and sleep five; Balsam and Spruce cabins sleep six. All cabins have electricity with baseboard heat, making them enjoyable for snowmobile and ski trips as well as summer fun.
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Camper Cabin Interior
The park’s camper cabins are cozy! With their warm pine interiors, big windows, and built-in furnishings, they make a weekend getaway easy. Tamarack (shown) and Maple cabins are each handicap accessible and sleep five. Balsam and Spruce have two double lower bunks and sleep six. Cabins are well insulated, making them warm in winter and cool in summer. Electricity powers overhead and reading lights as well as baseboard heaters.
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Many of Lake Bemidji State Park's trails are north of County Road 20. Both hikers and mountain bikers can explore rolling terrain through birch, aspen, or pine forests. Most trails are six feet wide and mowed in the summer. In winter these trails are groomed for cross-country skiing. Fishers, foxes, black bears, and wolves have been seen here, making it hard to believe you're so close to Bemidji.