The Gull Lake chain is an ideal location
for both beginner and advanced paddlers. The smaller, quieter lakes in the
northern part of the chain, where Point Narrows is located, are less heavily
used by boaters and can provide a relaxing paddle. Gull Lake, the big
lake, is almost 15 miles long, better suited for sea kayaks than for
recreational kayaks or canoes, because sea kayaks can cover more territory in
the same amount of time. When Gull Lake is busy with motorboats, it's best
for paddling craft to travel not far from shore. The same is true for any
Paddlers can go beyond the Gull chain by paddling
to the Cullen Lake chain, through a channel from Nisswa Lake. This channel
goes underneath Highway 371,
through a wetland, then underneath Old Highway 371 (Lower Cullen Road) and
underneath the Paul Bunyan Trail, to Lower Cullen Lake of the Cullen chain of
lakes. The channel can be seen from Highway 371 (see satellite image).
The channel is better suited for kayaks than for canoes, since there is a fairly
fast current going upstream to Lower Cullen Lake.
Going further southeast
along the shore of Nisswa Lake, from the channel to Lower Cullen Lake, will take
you to the Nisswa landing. Here you will see the pedestrian tunnel to the
city of Nisswa. The tunnel goes under Highway 371 and comes out in the
heart of Nisswa.
Other paddling possibilities exist within
easy driving distance of Point Narrows Resort. Maps of rivers are available
(although "rivers" don't seem to exist anymore - now they are called "water
trails." The terms are used interchangeably here ). Paper maps are available at the Brainerd Department of Natural
Resources (DNR) Office, for the following rivers which go through or near Crow
Wing County: The Mississippi River from Itasca State Park to the
Minnesota/Iowa border (this includes several maps), Pine River, and Crow Wing River (not to be
confused with the Crow River). The
Brainerd DNR Office is located at 1601 Minnesota Drive in Brainerd.
Consult the map in the Brainerd phone book for the exact location. Look
for it just off of Highland Scenic Drive, south of College Road and just west of the Mississippi River.
The phone number is 218 833-8710 (Parks and Trails Department).
Any of the DNR maps for Minnesota rivers
can be ordered by emailing email@example.com or calling 1-888-646-6367. These are large,
folding maps. They show river miles by the use of red dots. Mileage
is given every five or ten miles. A list in one corner of the map denotes
points of interest along the way.
River information for paddlers is found at
Clicking on "Maps" leads to copies of the big DNR river maps, reduced to fit two
pages, so that the maps are difficult to read, although they give an overall
picture of the river. Clicking on "Interactive Maps" leads to maps which
give information about the rivers. On the Interactive Maps page, a Zoom
feature, on the left side of the page, lets the reader click on the map that
they are interested in, which brings the interactive map into focus (for most
rivers). It shows a lot of detail, including roads and landmarks, and the
map can be moved around to access other areas of the map. In the upper
left-hand corner of the Interactive Maps home page, click on "how to use"
to learn how to navigate through the interactive maps. (To get the Crow
Wing river map into focus, type "brainerd" into the space labeled "Place"
at the top right of the page. Click on "Go" and four choices come up.
Click on either "map24k" or "mcd" to bring the map into focus).
The Crow Wing River is one of the very best
paddling rivers in Minnesota. Including the eleven lakes which it flows
through at its beginning, it is 119 miles long and travels through
five counties. Much of it is wild and scenic. The river itself is
rarely deeper than three feet and offers easy paddling. The
river ends where it joins the Mississippi about ten miles south of Brainerd,
across the river from Crow Wing State Park. There are outfitters on the
river, if you need a canoe. See "Outfitters" on the descriptive page which
comes up when clicking on the map for the Crow Wing Water Trail.
A fairly short and easy paddling trip (about ten
miles) on the Mississippi River is from Boom Park in Brainerd to Crow Wing
State Park, 10 miles south. See the Brainerd phone book map for the exact
location of Boom Park (or Boom Lake), which is on the east side of the river,
south of College Drive. This trip is part of the Mississippi section map
which covers the route from "Brainerd to Little Falls." The entire route for
this section is thirty miles long. Caution is given because of swift
currents, which are
south of Crow Wing State Park.
The Mississippi River above Brainerd is
tamer and provides many possibilities for trips of various lengths. The
hazard to avoid is a large, dangerous dam where the river runs through the
northeast part of Brainerd. The dam created Rice Lake, the takeout point
being Lum Park at the south end of Rice Lake. The map section is "Palisade
to Brainerd", which covers about 85 miles of the river. Many possibilities
exist for paddling trips of various lengths, in this quiet section of the river.
Water level is important for river
paddling. DNR's home page for paddling has a link to water levels in the
text and also under "Water Trail Gauges" which is listed under "River
Levels" at the bottom of the page. The website for any river map also has a
link to the water level information for that river. The link goes to a
page showing water levels for the state's rivers, indicated by color-coded
dots. A "Zoom" feature on the right-hand side of the page lets you see
water levels for a specific river. The categories indicated by the
color-coded dots are: Very High,
High, Medium, Low, Scrapable (this means
that the canoe scrapes the bottom of the river in places), Generally Canoeable All Year, and
Water levels are generally higher in the
spring and after a lot of rain. It is best to avoid paddling on Very High
and many High rivers. The current may be very swift, making it difficult
to steer, leaving not enough room to duck while going under low bridges, and
difficult or impossible to get free if getting caught on a downed tree (people
drown from not being able to get free of these "strainers.") Check with
DNR or local people, if unsure if a river is safe.
The State Water Trails home page, on the
DNR website, has a link to "Safety" listed under "Trip Planning" at the bottom
of the page. It includes wearing your life jacket, among other safe
Non-motorized craft, such as canoes and
kayaks, have the right-of-way over motorized craft, unless the non-motorized
craft is overtaking or passing. This is taken to mean that motorized
crafts are supposed to slow down when coming near non-motorized craft.
This does not always happen. If a motorboat passes close to your canoe or
kayak at a high speed, creating a wake which looks like it could swamp your craft, the safe
thing to do is to turn your watercraft so that it is facing the wake, rather than
being parallel with the wake. After turning
toward the wake, just hang on while your watercraft bounces up and down, until the
wake has dissipated.
Area Activities & Events
Paul Bunyan State Trail
In the summer, the Paul Bunyan Trail is
popular with bicyclers, in-line skaters, and hikers. The Trail is 115
miles long, stretching from Crow Wing State Park (ten miles south of Brainerd,
Minnesota) to Lake Bemidji State Park (just north of Bemidji, Minnesota).
It is the longest continuous paved trail in the country, as well as one of the
premier trails in Minnesota and the country.
Nisswa is an ideal place to get onto the
Paul Bunyan Trail. Parking is available. Nisswa has clean public
restrooms, which are in the same building as the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce,
located at 25532 South Main Street, Nisswa, MN 56468-0185. It is on the
east side of the main street through Nisswa, south of Park St.
Official information about the Paul Bunyan
Trail is available from two websites:
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website describes the Trail, gives its
history, has a virtual tour, and shows the parking areas. It gives a
link to the DNR map of the Trail. Paper copies of the map can be
obtained from the Brainerd DNR Office, located at 1601 Minnesota Drive in Brainerd.
Consult the map in the Brainerd phone book for the exact location. Look
for it off of Highland Scenic Drive, south of College Road and just west of the Mississippi River.
The phone number for maps is 218 833-8710 (Parks and Trails Department).
Paper maps can also be obtained at the Northland Arboretum in Baxter (the
starting point for many trips) as well at some cities along the Trail which
have facilities for Trail users.
www.paulbunyantrail.com In addition to history of the Trail and
videos, this website gives information about highlights and events along the
Trail, as well as press releases about the Trail. It has a link to the DNR map, description of segments of the Trail, links to seven segment maps and
individual city maps and descriptions. It has links to websites of other
rail-to-trail trails which connect, or plan to connect, with the Paul Bunyan
Although our lakes area is known regionally
and nationally for our championship golf courses, including one designed by
Robert Trent Jones, Jr., many golfers have found that there is something for
everyone, from championship courses to budget courses.
To gain an overall picture of golfing in
the area, go to "Golfing
the Brainerd Lakes: The Best Bets" and "Golfing
the Brainerd Lakes."
"Golfing the Brainerd Lakes: The Best Bets"
gives ideas for where to golf. "Golfing the Brainerd Lakes" gives an
overview of golf courses in the lakes area, with a description of each, cost
information (which may be a little out of date), and links to
websites. The overview includes Championship courses (seven
courses), Traditional courses (seven), Bargain courses (two), and
Nine-hole courses (seven).
(To find the above website pages manually,
go to www.midwesternweekend.com,
click on "Outdoors Recreation" on the left side of the page, then scroll down to
"Golfing the Brainerd Lakes: The Best Bets," and "Golfing the Brainerd Lakes.")
Nisswa Area Events
The City of Nisswa is a hub of activity
all through the summer, with activities for children and adults. Some
activities, such as Farmers' Market, Bluegrass Concerts, and Bingo,
turn up time and again through the summer. Others, such as the Wooden
Boat Show* in the area, are one-time events during the summer. Turtle
Races are held every Wednesday in Nisswa at 1 p.m. during most of the summer. There is also a
Rubber Duckie Race during
A variety of activities take place in
and around Nisswa. For information about these activities, click on www.nisswa.com and put the cursor over "EVENTS," which is near the right end
of the row near the top of the page. A menu of three choices drops down:
Double click on "EVENTS" to get a
chronological list of events. Clicking on an event brings up more
information about it.
Double click on "EVENTS CALENDAR" to see the events arranged on their dates.
Clicking on an event brings up more information about it.
Double click on "TURTLE RACES" to get information and a video about the Turtle
Nisswa-Stamman, an annual
Scandinavian Folk Music Festival, will take place June 10th and 11th in
Nisswa. Click on
http://www.nisswastamman.org/ for more information.
With a variety of at least 60 shops,
Nisswa is a delight for people who like to shop. For a list of 36
shops out of about 60 in Nisswa, click
There are many categories of shops, including gift shops, clothing shops,
and sporting goods/outfitting.
*The Wooden Boat Show normally occurs once
a year. In 2015, there will be two shows; the International Wooden Boat
Show will be held at Bar Harbor Restaurant on September 25 and 26, in addition to the
annual local show.
Some area activities in the area are
further away than Nisswa. Some of these are strictly warm weather
activities. Some of the websites may not come up during off-season.
Cove is about 8 miles from Point Narrows Resort and two blocks south of
www.wildwedge.com Wildwedge has a
walk-through "Mystery Maze," as well as Mini-Golf. It is 9 miles
from Point Narrows Resort, in Pequot Lakes.
Pine River Stable has a petting zoo as well as horseback riding. It is
Point Narrows Resort.
Water Boat Cruises
Cruises are on Gull Lake and include brunch, lunch, dinner, and
Cruises go out of Ernie's on Gull Lake, about 13 miles from Point Narrows
http://breezybelle.com/breezy-belle-paddle-wheel-boat These are
two-hour cruises which leave from Breezy
Point Resort on Pelican Lake, 11 miles from
Point Narrows Resort.
International Raceway (BIR)
races of all sorts are found here, 11 miles from Point Narrows.
www.northernlightscasino.com Northern Lights Casino is near Walker, MN, 42 miles from Point Narrows Resort.
Google "grand casino mille lacs" to
bring up the Mille Lacs Grand Casino, which is about 48 miles from
Point Narrows, on Lake Mille Lacs, near Onamia.
Taking It Easy
- always an option!