Pine River State Water Trail

Pine River

The Pine River State Water Trail flows gently through the jack pine forests and quiet water of west central Minnesota, including several lakes such as Norway Lake and the Whitefish chain. The lake and hill country in this area illustrate classic glacial land forms.

River width ranges from 25 to 150 feet. The watershed covers 562 square miles (1,456 square kilometers).

Water trail locator map


Water trail segments and maps

This river has only one segment. Get maps and more information.


The stream is mainly gravel-bottomed, with occasional boulders. Most of the river flows through undeveloped jack pine forests, interrupted occasionally by swampy areas such as Ding Pot Swamp or open, quiet water such as Norway Lake. The city of Pine River and the Whitefish Chain are the only areas with concentrated development.

Fish and wildlife

Eating fish from a Minnesota river or lake? Read the MN Department of Health's fish consumption advisory.


  • Walleye
  • Northern pike
  • Large and smallmouth bass
  • Crappies
  • Sunfish
  • Whitefish
  • Lake trout


  • White-tailed deer
  • Beaver
  • Muskrat
  • Mink


  • Various songbirds
  • Various waterfowl
  • Bald eagles
  • Osprey


Dakota Indians lived in the Pine River area until the Ojibwe began moving into the region in the early 1700s. By the early 1800s the Ojibwe controlled lands west of the Mississippi and north of the Crow Wing River, just to the south of the Pine River.

Fur traders from Europe arrived in the early 1700s, and the Northwest Company became the area's predominant trading company in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Red River routes between St. Paul and Winnipeg opened trade. Lumbering became important in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which gave way to the agricultural economy that exists today.

This region is a major resort area in Minnesota.

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