North Country National Scenic Trail



Minnesota is home to an approximately 800-mile long segment of the 4,600-mile long North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT for short) - a non-motorized footpath.

Currently, about 70% of the NCT's route is complete here in Minnesota. There is a 196-mile, contiguous segment located in northcentral Minnesota between Detroit Lakes and Remer and a 400-mile, contiguous segment from near Ely to Jay Cooke State Park south of Duluth. Other isolated segments include a 3-mile segment in Maplewood State Park, a 4-mile segment near Grand Rapids, and a 9-mile loop in Fergus Falls that is in development.

Minnesota's only component of the National Trails System, this NCT segment is also one of our State's longest backpacking opportunities. The NCT threads its way around numerous lakes and wetlands and up and down glacial moraine hills in a mixed pine and hardwood forest. NCT hikers will be able to observe soaring bald eagles, spot amazing spring wildflowers, and take in majestic fall colors. There are numerous primitive campsites found along the NCT. An interactive map is available online at

Hours & Dates

Open year-round for non-motorized uses and opportunities like hiking, snowshoeing, hunting/fishing, and cross-country skiing. Special event held each autumn (last Saturday in August) at Itasca State Park is the North Country Hiking Fest.


No fee required.

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