Holding what looks like more water than land, Land O Lakes State Forest offers forest of paper birch and aspen set against stunning waterways and lakes and wetlands. This 50,000-acre State Forest is broken into numerous small pieces that protect forest and lakeshore. There is also a large section that not only boasts quiet waterways but contains ATV routes on which you can explore deeper sections of the mixed-hard wood forest.
All sections of the State Forest offer multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Off=trail hiking is also allowed. If you head out into the wilderness to explore, keep your eyes peeled for remnants of the Simpson Logging Company, such as old railroad grades. Though the tracks were removed in 1911, the history of logging by hand, water, and train are still visible to the careful observer.
With so much of the State Forest broken into small pockets, this is a very accessible area for your camper, including the rustic Clint Converse Campground located on the shores of Lake Washburn. ATV trails, as well as hiking and mountain bike paths, are accessible from the camping area, meaning you can park your RV and leave it behind.
Many of the roadways through the forest are paved, though a few northern sections of the forest are located on long gravel roads or accessible by boat or snowmobile only. If you're up for it, check out the trails linking sections of this State Forest together while traversing across county lands for an adventure that might just take you away from your RV for a few days at a time.
Land O Lakes State Forest encompasses over 50,000 acres in four counties, so you need a rig to get around. Located 100 miles due west of Duluth, the Clint Converse Campground and Day-Use Area within Land O Lakes State Forest is easily accessed from Lake Washburn Road, just off of Route 6. The campground is tucked between the paved roadway and the shores of the lake, requiring a drive of less than a mile once you leave the asphalt. Winter conditions can vary though, so come prepared for ice or snow if you head out late or early in the year.
The looped roads of the campground are flat, but a few tight curves reinforce the 26-foot RV length limit. So it is best to go slow through the campground as you check out the open sites while watching for overhead branches that might snag your rig. A fee envelope is available at a kiosk when you enter the campground, but is close enough you can park and walk back once you’ve claimed the perfect spot for your campervan.
Additional parking is located just north of the campground at the boat launch and day use area, so you don’t need to stash your boat trailer in your campsite. If you’ve brought along your ATV, off-highway vehicles are allowed to access the campground on existing routes, which are marked.
Land O Lakes State forest offers camping at Clint Converse Campground and Day Use Area, tucked along the shores of Lake Washburn. The 31 sites are primitive with no electrical or sewage hook-ups available. Each pad is gravel or naturally surfaced. All sites are first-come, first-served with a fee envelope available from the kiosk at the campground entrance. Take a drive around to find your ideal site before heading over to register and pay the fee.
Though most sites are wide enough to fit your camper and a car or trailer, many aren’t that deep. Between the pad length and some tight turns in the campground, RV length is limited to 26 feet. The campground has latrine style toilets with no showers. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. and there are trash cans throughout the park. From September to late April, the available water spigot is turned off to prevent freezing, so be sure to arrive with enough water for your stay and room in your holding tanks.
During the summer there is a 14-day limit to camping, and from September to May that is extended to 21-days. With so many activities available right from the campground, expect to enjoy a visit that will have you immersed in beautiful natural surroundings.
With a boat landing located just north of the campground, access to the more than 1,500 acres of Lake Washburn is as simple as dropping in your boat and heading out. If the undulating shores of this lake aren’t enough, two carry-in access points are available at nearby Marion and Margaret Lakes, also located in this pocket of Land O Lakes State Forest. Enjoy fishing, watching for waterfowl as well as bald eagles, or just being on the water of these beautiful lakes.
Over 25-miles of off-highway vehicle trails are accessible from Clint Converse Campground and are typically open all year. All OHVs are required to have a Minnesota registration or Trail Pass, so pick one up before heading out to enjoy the forest and routes that snake along numerous small lakes. With this many miles to explore, expect to make at least one day of it. Obey all rules, and be sure to stay on the trail.
With six loops covering 15 miles of multi-use trails, you can leave directly from Clint Converse Campground to explore beautiful Land O Lakes State Forest. Trails wind along the shores of Lake Washburn, past hidden Bear Lake, and traverse through aspen, beech, and pine forests. Look for wildlife while keeping an eye out for hikers and horseback riders along your route.
During hunting season, take off from the campground to track your game amid the quiet forests of Land O Lakes State Forest. If leaving from the campground, firearms must be unloaded. Bows can be strung but arrows cannot be nocked. Outside of hunting season, firearms and bows must be cased with bows unstrung. Be sure to have the appropriate license and be hunting within the correct season. If you take your ATV on your hunting excursion, you can only use it off-trail in order to retrieve big game.
Enjoy the solitude of hiking off-season when the air might hold the hint of woodsmoke mixed with cool air. From Clint Converse Campground, 15 miles of trails loop through the forest of aspen and birch and along the shores of Lake Washburn. The trails are wide, well-marked, and accessible to horses, hikers, and mountain bikers. So keep an eye out for others, as you never know who or what creature you’ll run across.
Once the snow falls, the trail system switches from hiking to cross-country skiing. Over 15 miles of trails are groomed and rated from easy to difficult. Check online for ratings and at kiosks located at trailheads to help you plan your day and route; any closed trails will be listed as well. Enjoy the silence of a snowy forest while getting some fresh air and exercise out in beautiful, natural surroundings of forests and frozen lakes.