winter trails

Trails Are Open

Arboretum trails are open sun-up to sundown every day of the year.
TRAIL USE FEE - $5 per adult / $1 per child 12 & under.

After-hours payments can be made at the drop box at the trailhead at the Visitor Center parking lot. The payment stub should be on your person or placed in your vehicle window.

The Northland Arboretum boasts nearly 20 kilometers (12 miles) of trails for hiking and cross-country skiing with nearly 5 kilometers lighted for evening skiing. The trails are designed to accommodate all ages and skill levels and are considered among the best in Minnesota. The arboretum is used extensively by junior high and high school runners and skiers for both practice and competition.

In winter months, the trails are groomed professionally by the Brainerd Nordic Ski Club.

Bicycle Policy

Biking is prohibited on the grounds of the Northland Arboretum.

Uniqueness of the Northland Arboretum

Did you know that the Northland Arboretum is shared by two cities, Brainerd and Baxter?  Did you know that there are three landholders that make up the grounds of the Arb?  Crow Wing County, The Nature Conservency and the Northland Arboretum are land owners and all property is managed by the non-profit organization called the Paul Bunyan Northland Arboretum.


Jack Pine Savannah

Formed by the wave action of Glacial Lake Brainerd, the Brainerd Dune Sheet now is home to the Paul Bunyan Savanna, one of 5 jack pine savannas in the state.   Hiking and cross-country ski trails maintained by Northland Arboretum ski club provide access into this rare habitat.  In the savanna's sand soils grow prairie forbs and grasses, offering a shifting collage of colors from spring through fall.


The Plants

The forested areas shelter woodland wildflowers, including shinleaf, rattlesnake-plantain, blue-bead lily, and pink lady's slipper. In the savanna, prairie vegetation grows under the jack pine canopy.  The dry, sandy soil supports drought tolerant forbs, including silky prairie clover, birdfoot Violet, blue-eyed grass, gayfeather, and pasque flower.  Grasses include big bluestem, kalm's brome, muly-grass, porcupine grass and june grass.


The Animals

The Blanding's turtle, a state threatened species, is found in the savanna and nearby wetlands, along with the eastern hognose snake, a species of special concern.  The Mississippi River corridor is home to the long eared bat which is a threatened species that occasionally makes an appearance.  We also have native north woods wildlife like deer, porcupines, fox, fishers, beavers, coyotes, and black bear.  The Arb has been named a "Important Bird Area" by the Audubon Society and has had over 130 species identified on the grounds.