Summer’s radiant peak is finally here, which means it’s officially time to splash, hike, and relax in Northern Minnesota’s sprawling backcountry. Big Sandy Lodge & Resort, a classic Minnesota fishing resort, is a bustling adventurer’s hub during all four seasons. In the heart of summer, the lodge allures nature enthusiasts of all kinds, including backpackers searching for a place to rest (and play) before and after a woodland excursion inside a nearby state forest. We’re ideally situated in between three hilly, rugged state forests: Savanna, Hill River, and Solana. There’s enough acreage here to appease thousands of backpackers at once. As one of the fastest-growing backpacking destinations near the Twin Ports, we look forward to welcoming your group to Big Sandy Lake’s edge this summer!

Backpacking vs. Hiking

Backpacking, unlike hiking, typically revolves around a full- or multi-day jaunt, complete with meals, secondary activities (such as geocaching, birding, or photography), and over a dozen miles of crossed terrain. Northern Minnesota, notably Aitkin County, is an ultra-popular backpacking destination for those who genuinely value the sheer beauty and tranquility of the “north country.”

On a given day, an average hiking expedition might involve two or three trailheads en route to an overlook, marsh walk, or lake loop. Backpackers, meanwhile, are less worried about the destination. It’s all about the journey: the sights, the sounds, and the smells. Forest bathing, a growing American trend, goes hand in hand with backpacking in Minnesota’s backcountry.

Self-Guided Backpacking Tours through the North Country

Backpackers who frequent Big Sandy Lodge & Resort are quite similar to our visiting ATVers and snowmobilers. They use the lodge is a hub—a place to start and finish each day of exploration, adventure, and tranquility. Aitkin County, which stretches from the northern rim of Mille Lacs Lake to Hill City, features nearly 2,000 square miles of quiet, sprawling beauty. Some of the county’s most beloved backpacking destinations include Savanna Portage State Park, the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Solana State Forest, Hill River State Forest, and Savanna State Forest.

Obviously, the state park and wildlife refuge see much more foot traffic than the isolated state forests. The county itself only boasts a total population of fewer than 16,000 people. Thus, there are miles upon miles on untouched, uninhabited forestry at your disposal. We recommend contacting the DNR for helpful resources, such as maps, guidelines, and safety tips.

Backpacking Destinations: Discover Big Sandy

Photo of a Big Sandy Patio View. Big Sandy Is One of the Best Backpacking Destinations Around!Big Sandy Lodge & Resort rests near so many important Northern Minnesota landmarks, such as the Mississippi River, Big Sandy Lake, and Libby Dam. As a result, Aitkin County remains one of the state’s most enthralling backpacking destinations, particularly for those with a penchant for true peace and quiet. The lodge is 67 miles away from the Twin Ports and approximately 100 minutes north of the Twin Cities. When you’re not roughing it amid towering pines, still ponds, and vibrant wildlife, your group can enjoy warm meals, watercraft rentals, and some of the coziest log cabins in the state here at Big Sandy. Please give us a call today at 218-426-5040 to book a well-deserved (and adventurous) escape to Big Sandy Lake, one of the premier weekend getaways in Minnesota.