Blog Archive

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Woods Trail in Crow Wing County

Southern Crow Wing County
The trail entered Crow Wing County at the Mississippi River crossing then turned south to Fort Ripley. The best places to see the trail is at Crow Wing State Park and along Hwy 371.

Crow Wing State Park has preserved parts of the original trail and remnants of Old Crow Wing Village. The trail segment is open for hiking.

The Mississippi River crossing

Trail sign

Trail sign

The Beaulieu House
Old Crow Wing and Red River Ox Cart Trail

There is enough trail history in the park to occupy an entire day. Enjoy walking the same trail the ox cart trains used.

Old Crow Wing was a bustling town on the trail, at one time having 700 citizens. The park has several information kiosks.

The next stop in Crow Wing County is the Nokasippi River Historical Monument about 7.5 miles south of the park along Highway 371. 

Fort Ripley, once named Fort Mercy, then Fort Gaines was built to establish government control of the northern frontier. The fort was located across the Mississippi River from this spot. The area is now part of the Camp Ripley Military Reservation.

Fort Gaines

Follow Hwy 371 south to Belle Prairie and Morrison County.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Woods Trail in Cass County

Cass County

The trail in Cass County basically followed the north side of the Crow Wing River to the Mississippi River.

Recall the end of the Wadena County tour had us at County 30 and 132nd Street on the Cass-Wadena County border. County roads 32 and 33 east from that point stair step to the southeast loosely tracking the Crow Wing. At Highway 64 go south to Highway 210.

The Crow Wing River near Motley

Otter Tail to Crow Wing
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, February 1861

Turn east on Hwy 210 to Pillager where you will again find roads named for the ox cart trail. If you are so inclined you drive those roads. Take County 1 south to Hazel Avenue and turn back west. Follow that street about 4 blocks to Lake Placid Drive. Turn left and follow that road out of town. Soon it turns to Red River Trail SW. Follow that until it turns north, then take the first left to the west again. That is Ox Trail SW. These roads likely run atop the old trail, along the Crow Wing River. Its probably best to return to Pillager the way you came.

Red River Trail SW at Bigwater Dr SW

Red River Trail SW

The Crow Wing River at Red River Trail SW

Ox Trail SW
The trail crossed Gull River at Old Agency, it then went on to cross the Mississippi River. That crossing can be seen at Crow Wing State Park. So on to Crow Wing County and the state park.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Woods Trail in Wadena County

Southern Wadena County

The Woods Trail passed through southern Wadena County, staying south of and paralleling the Leaf River. A marker located in Sunnybrook Park, off Harry Rich Drive notes the Red RiverTrail.

If you want to drive in the vicinity of the trail east of Wadena have a good map which shows all roads. 

Somewhere in southern Wadena County, east of Wadena, maybe near Central
At the eastern edge of the county the trail passed through Old Wadena, a ghost town from the trail days. Rather than trying to explain getting there go to this site for directions and a map. Old Wadena is a couple of miles north of Staples and is now a county park.

Old Wadena

Old Wadena

Old Wadena crossing at the Crow Wing River
When you are done visiting Old Wadena take County 29 south to 132nd Street and turn east. Follow that to County 30, turn north and cross the Crow Wing River. The first left, 132nd Street, follows the trail back west toward Old Wadena.

132nd Street

Back at County 30 go east on County 32 into Cass County.