Suomi Hills, Minnesota

My family rented a cabin on Little Bowstring Lake. The quiet, small lake with great fishing is ringed with cabins set back from the shore. A short drive east and south brought us to one of the trailheads for Suomi Hills. Suomi is the Finnish word for Finland. Many families in Northern Minnesota decended from Finnish immigrants.

The full name is Suomi Hills Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Area. It is part of Chippewa National Forest. There are two trailheads about 5 miles apart on Highway 38 north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota. The trails were a bit overgrown but easily passable on the three days I was there. Long pants are a good idea if you do not like plants brushing against your legs. Insect repellant strongly recommended. I have heard that something called “Thieve’s oil” is good for keeping deer flies away and I plan to get some before my next trip. We kept re-applying deet but it did no good against the flies. The second day there were zero flies. Go figure.

highlighted trail map
There are 19 miles of trail here. So far we hiked about 6. The road is Highway 38.

calm water and plants
Follow the road from the north parking area for 0.7 miles (1 km) to get to this lovely scene. We did not linger at the picnic table because the flies and mosquitos were thick on this hot July day.
tree
A majestic tree. My sister and I both agreed it is hard to capture the majesty in a photo.
grassy path
The first footpath branching off from the road looks like this.
pond
The trail that goes south from the parking area goes past many small lakes. This one has a beaver lodge.
grassy path and a fallen tree
This trail could use some maintenance. I wonder if they need volunteers, or does the US forestry service take care of this?
campsite
A hike-in campsite.
view of a lake between two tree trunks.
This is the view from the campsite picnic table. There are also other campsites in this trail area. One is on an island.
looking down on a forest lake
There is a nice mix of scenery and plant life. We found raspberries, blueberries, and wild strawberries. Yum!
drawing of bluebead lily and blueberry plant
We also saw poisonous bluebeads. They look like blueberries so be careful! If you are unsure of the identity of the plant, don’t eat it! Do your research.
wooden platform bridge in the woods
This bridge is where we turned around. We never did make it to Barney Lake. Maybe next time.

This area was unknown to me before this trip. What a treasure! Next trip I hope to explore the rest of it. There is always something more just around the bend.

2 Comments

  1. Oh the beauty and therefore the heart hugging moments in the wilderness some of us so RARELY explore! Thank you for this call to my awareness Tammy. Have you read the book: THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES by Peter Wohlleben? Subtitle: What they feel, How they communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World. ;(I’ve found much Head and Heart Enhancing information in it. 2016 copyright.)

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  2. I left my comment on your posting Tammy. Suggesting a book named, THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES (what they feel, how they communicate, discoveries from a secret world. Author: Peter Wohlleben. Hope you get an opportunity to enjoy this book. I gave a copy to another copy to a Roseville Church Member who’s son does this kind of ‘discovery’ in his field of work and interest! We can talk further if you choose. . . .Thanks soooo much for your pictorial and verbal shares of this wonderFULL gift from our Creator!!

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