Chippewa National Forest

Guide to (Designated) Dispersed Camping

1 Forest 76 dispersed sites $FREE 0% reservable


the chippewa.


The first of two national forests in the state, established in 1908. 

Located in the heart of Northern Minnesota these 666,000 acres contain more water than any other national forest in the nation. Over 1,300 lakes including some of the state's largest - Cass, Leech and Winnibigoshish, host innumerable shoreline campsites, public boat launches, carry-in paddle accesses and a diversity of local fisheries. A few of the forest's best kept secrets include deep, spring fed lakes of Caribbean aquamarine color and clarity. 923 miles of rivers and streams, including the most wild & scenic portions of the Mississippi River invite the paddle. 

Nesting it all is a diversity of woodland, mixes of old growth conifer, aspen groves, birch and sugar maple - basswood bush. Here are found some of the largest and most mature examples of individual tree species and native plant communities. 

Threaded by gravel forest roads, 41 miles of paved bike trail, 298 miles of non-motorized hiking or biking trails including Suomi Hills, Trout Lake, Shingobee, Cut Foot Sioux and a transect by the North Country National Scenic Trail - all delivering the outdoorist deeper into remote and beautiful backwoods experiences. 

The natural and scenic quality, notable history and access to wildlife and recreation is of some of the highest caliber the state of Minnesota has to offer. Many of your days are deserved to explore it fully. Those nights necessary to accomplish this, will be best spent with the service of this guide to the wild but comfortable camping experiences introduced below. 



Minnesota Camp Guide believes there are 23 Ways to Camp on Minnesota Public Lands.

The Chippewa National Forest offers opportunities to experience about half of them. 


What this guide is not about?

This particular guide is not about Way to Camp #3. Car Camping In U.S. National Forests In Minnesota.

These include the 15 developed drive-in car campgrounds, where many campsite amenities are exchanged for a nightly fee. 

Nor is this guide about the many hundreds of forest roads and land acres available for dispersed camping opportunities which are allowed in this national forest. By standard definition; the totally wild, zero amenities provided bush camps you can pitch anywhere on public land that is at least 150 feet away from any road, trail or otherwise improved or developed area.

What this guide is about?

This guide is about a collection of 76 designated dispersed camping sites in the Chippewa National Forest, including those packaged and promoted by the USDA & US Forest Service in their Dispersed Camping Site Map Index. Learn more about this resource below.

These campsite locations and experiences are;

  • free to use (they are not within one of the 15 fee car campgrounds) for up to 14 days

  • offer moderate amenities, possibly but probably (a fire ring, toilet, picnic table, bench, boat landing, dock)

  • and are located in a desirable position (cleared and level tent space, near a water feature or trail)

In the world of Minnesota Camp Guide's 23 Ways to Camp on Minnesota Public Lands, they are included in Way's to Camp:

#4. Free Car Camping In U.S. National Forests In Minnesota
#8. Backpack Camping in U.S. National Forests in Minnesota
#10. Backpack Camping on a National Scenic Trail
#16. Paddle Camping in U.S. National Forests in Minnesota

At many of these campsites, your car can join you, with all of the extra equipment, security and easy exit strategy they provide.

For many others, you will need to rely on your comfort and capability in being remote; a mile down a hiking trail or out on the water in whatever conditions or events are presented. 

At all of these campsite experiences, you will need to trust your equipment and ability for;

  • treating water from a natural source

  • keeping your food away from wild animals (hanging bear bags, using bear boxes or barrels)

  • preparing food in the backcountry (using stove systems, if conditions don't allow a fire)

  • packing out everything you pack in (especially your trash)


Camping in the designated dispersed campsites of the Chippewa take you away from the company of campground crowds and offer you the basic furnishings of a campsite for no cost, other than a willingness to exercise some extra self-reliance and head a little deeper into the wilder corners of this amazing national forest. 













Interactive Campsites Map

 The default map layer includes all campsites, but you may toggle three other layers to filter by approach; car, backpack, paddle.



The Chippewa National Forest divides these designated dispersed campsites into five geographic areas.


Click on an area to jump to catalog of campsites. 

chip overview map.png

Click here for a mobile friendly version of this map. 



Chippewa National Forest 'Designated' Dispersed


Blackduck Area

1 B35 Glove Lake        4

Scenic site on a hilltop on the shore of Glove Lake. Good shoreline and water for swimming. 

  • 94° 5' 59.618" W 47° 47' 32.447" N

  • No difficulty on approach; Forest Road 2240. 

  • Space for 2-3 tents, and trees for hammocks. 

  • Parking space is limited. 

  • No toilet.

  • Yes, rock fire ring. 

1 B42 Moose Lake        3

A lush, grassy and open to the stars ​space on the shore of Moose Lake. Not much of a boat landing, steep shoreline bank. 

  • 94° 9' 19.258" W 47° 49' 8.519" N

  • Very difficult approach road, Forest Road 3357. Beaver dam washouts and deep pools, inaccessible to most vehicles. Hike-in of ~ 1 mile. 

  • Paddle .5 mile in from public boat launch at south end of Moose Lake. 

  • Primitive amenities include a dug out fire pit. 

16 B7 North Twin Hike-In     4

Open but shaded, breezy peninsula on the shore of North Twin Lake. Good shoreline access to water suitable for swimming.

  • 94° 36' 10.780" W 47° 35' 51.502" N

  • Hike in from car parking is .10 miles

  • Semi rugged approach on Forest Road 2091. 

  • Space for several tents. 

  • No toilet.

  • Yes, rock fire ring. 

  • Overflow camping up the wooded hill with a second rock fire ring.

16 B8 North Twin      4

A roomy and grassy shoreline with excellent sand-bottomed swimming area. Narrow between hillside and water but space for 4-5 tents. Can't drive into directly, requires short carry in. Rope swing at site. 

  • 94° 36' 1.911" W 47° 35' 57.198" N

  • Requires a 40 yard carry-in from parking up a hill. 

  • Paddle in .6 miles from public boat launch in SW corner of lake. 

  • No toilet. Yes, high quality rock fire ring. 

16 B9 North Twin Remote     3

Smaller grassy space with room for a couple of camping tents along the raised shoreline of lake. Fine swimming, but vegetated. Adjacent pine grove for hammocks. ​

  • 94° 36' 31.357" W 47° 35' 35.957" N

  • Closed gate on approach road, Forest Road 2238. Requires a hike-in of ~ 1 mile, through very vegetated unmaintained trail.  

  • Paddle in .35 miles from public boat launch in SW corner of lake. 

  • No toilet. Yes, rock fire ring.