National Forest Lodge
National Forest Lodge has been a travel destination in Northern Minnesota since the development of this remote area of the Superior National Forest in the 1920s. It's a peaceful setting only half an hour up Highway 1 from Lake Superior's North Shore. White and red pines tower over our small cluster of cabins and dining hall overlooking pristine Lake Gegoka.
Beautiful, quiet cross country ski and snowshoe trails wind through 2,000 acres of the Superior National Forest. We maintain and groom 20 miles of exclusive single tracked classic-nordic trails (sorry no skating). 5 miles of designated snowshoe trails wander through the same magical glacial carved terrain. Located at the top of the continental divide, snow comes early in the season and stays late, making for excellent conditions well into March and some of the most consistent skiing in the Upper Midwest. The Flathorn/Gegoka public trail system adjoining the lodge offers unsurpassed beauty and opportunities for all levels of skiing expertise. It's especially kind to novice skinny skiers and the narrow pine corridors offer ideal protection from winter's chilly blasts. If you encounter 2 or 3 other groups in an afternoon of skiing, it's been a busy day. Ski in and out.
We also offer several all season housekeeping rental cabins, from simple to serendipity. Great for reconnecting with friends and family without the distractions of our gadget centric lives. Pack well, you'll be leaving the planet as we know it.
Winter: Nordic skiing and snowshoeing on enchanted trails in the Superior National Forest. Ski in and out from the National Forest Lodge. In the 1970s the establishment of the Flathorn-Gegoka Ski Touring Area gave Minnesota its first top notch trail system, and it was considered the premier ski trail in the state. Now with so many trails throughout Minnesota, this remote system has become a quiet gem, off the beaten path. If you're willing to go the extra mile, you'll return with an unforgettable memory to cherish as well as a desire to repeat it again and again. Narrow trails and towering pines are the hallmark of these trails.
Spring-Summer-Fall: When winter finally releases it icy grip, a whole new wilderness experience awaits. Spring bird migration and wildlife seekers take over the trails. Hiking and biking become the best way to explore the forest's flora and fauna. Pristine 150 acre Lake Gegoka, with it's clean water and sandy bottom, is available for paddling, fishing, gazing and swimming. There's even a public boat launch (shhhhhhh!). On a busy day you'll be sharing the lake with 2 or 3 fellow boaters. There's very little private property on Gegoka (Superior National Forest), so beach your canoe, grab your compass and bushwhack to your heart's content.
National Forest Lodge is located in the relative wilderness of the Superior National Forest; 7 miles north of Isabella off of State Highway 1. The drive is approximately one and a half hours from Duluth and four hours from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.
Locally or Family-Owned Business Notes
The lodge’s history dates back to the 1920’s, when guests would come all the way from Chicago and stay weeks at a time. Photographs from the early days depict an environment mostly devoid of trees, as was most of northern Minnesota in those days. The cabins that are currently in use are readily identifiable in the old photos. At that time, guests were met at the train station in Ely and driven down Highway 1 in a Model A. The owners at that time lived there year-round, although the lodge operated in the summers only. Despite the name, this lodge has been family owned since it was purchased from the federal government. It's been passed on from one family to another over the years, but never lost it's laid back, homie character. We invite you to experience this unique wilderness setting. - Andy & Lura
Committed to promoting low impact, environmentally respectful recreation and encouraging appreciation of the quiet wilderness of the surrounding Superior National Forest. We're caretakers of this historic lodge and seek to preserve and update structures dating back almost a century. Motorized recreational vehicles may not be operated on the lodge proper or connecting trails. We recycle trash, nuts and bolts and anything with an iota of re-purposing.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are not permitted in the buildings and most cabins - find a pet sitter
Vacation Rentals: $129-$339/night. - Winter Weekend: All-inclusive $238-$318/person/2 day weekend
Winter: Cozy, warm cabins with a charm all their own are nestled in the towering pines of the Superior National Forest and provide the perfect place to settle in after a day on the trails. The National Forest Lodge offers a unique winter get-away of great cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hearty food, and friendly hospitality from staff and fellow guests alike. All-inclusive winter weekend lodging offers ski-in and out facilities, hearty buffet style meals, live local musicians after Saturday dinner, a unique outdoor hot tub, a lakeside sauna and polar plunge opportunity for the brave. Arrive, park the car and follow your hearts desire.
All Seasons: Plan your own personal getaway in one of our housekeeping vacation rental cabins. Have the ski trails to yourselves midweek and revel in the silence of a wilderness winter experience. Spring, summer and fall all have their own special allure and provide an unequivocal escape from the rat race. A great place to recharge your nature battery and connect with friends and family.