It’s nearly impossible to travel through the northern, woodsy town of Bemidji, Minnesota without noticing the giant statues of legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox! The famed statues were built in 1937 to celebrate the logging industry and still sit near the shore of Lake Bemidji, welcoming everyone who comes to visit. And thanks to everyone who has stopped to take a picture with the dynamic duo, the statues have become known as the second-most photographed icon in the nation.
After visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe, a number of other outdoor attractions and recreation await. Five miles north of Bemidji lies Movil Maze, a 913-acre recreational area with over 14 kilometers of intermediate and expert trails that are open year-round. Trails are groomed and maintained to create the finest experience for those enjoying downhill skiing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, running, sightseeing or mountain biking. Be on the lookout for whitetail deer, bald eagles and black bears.
Minnesota’s oldest state park, Itasca State Park, encompasses more than 32,000 acres with over 100 lakes, and the east entrance is only about 30 miles from Bemidji. The park was established in 1891 as a way to preserve the area that surrounds the start of the Mississippi River as it begins its 2,552-mile journey toward the Gulf of Mexico. Being able to see the source of the mighty Mississippi River is part of what makes the park such a famous North American landmark. Visitors will enjoy the short hike to the river headwaters, where there are a number of informative displays, and a great lunch at the Headwaters Café. There are also opportunities for fishing and camping under the star-filled skies. Plus, Itasca is an excellent place for premier bird watching, with over 222 species recorded!
Fly right into Bemidji (BJI) on a SkyWest Airlines flight, operating as Delta Connection. from Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP). To find the best fares, head to delta.com.