Motor through the woods on ATV trails

The leaves are in full color and the trails await- get out on your ATV or OHV on any of many four-wheeling trails that surround the Whitefish Chain.

From state forests to grant in aid trails, there are lots of places to enjoy the woods on an ATV and see the country that the Whitefish Chain is known for, from lakes to forests.

Members of the Over the Hills Gang ATV club take to the trails not far from the Whitefish Chain. Photo courtesy of the Over the Hills Gang

Members of the Over the Hills Gang ATV club take to the trails not far from the Whitefish Chain. Photo courtesy of the Over the Hills Gang

The Over the Hills Gang, based just a few miles from the Whitefish Chain in the City of Emily, has many miles of grant in aid trails the club maintains that travel north out of Emily and through Outing, as well as through much of Land 'O' Lakes State Forest.

The Emily-Outing trail travels through the two cities and connects them with the Moose River Trail farther to the north. According to the DNR, the Moose River Trail follows gently rolling terrain around small lakes and through dense woods.

A PDF of the Over the Hills Gang ATV trails map is here. In the future, Hwy. 6 through Emily will be reconstructed. The city is currently working on plans to route the ATV trail off Hwy. 6 for safety, while still keeping the trail connected to downtown Emily through a back route.

Crow Wing State Forest also has miles of OHV vehicle trails, including 17.3 miles of Class I ATV trails, 17.3 miles of Class II ATV trails, and 17.3 miles of OHV motorcycle trails. Check out the state forest map here.

West of Pine River and the Whitefish Chain about 12 miles is the Spider Lake Trails, which the DNR describes as everything from smooth and sandy to rough and rocky. Trails range from easy to most difficult. There are 29 miles of trails in all. Find a map here.

Be aware, though, that OHV use on DNR forest roads is only available to hunters during firearms deer season, which is Nov. 5-20 for the Minnesota 100 series deer season (most of the area north of the Whitefish Chain) and Nov. 5-13 for the Minnesota 200 series deer season (most of the area encompassing the Whitefish Chain as well as south of the Chain).

Southeast of the Chain is the Miller-Black Bear Trail, which is just west of Crosby. The trails wind their way through Crow Wing State Forest, with parts of the trail near the famous Mississippi River. There are even picnic lunch spots on the trail overlooking the river. Find a trail map here.

With so many options for ATV trails, the only difficulty you'll have is choosing which one to explore! Be sure you know the regulations for the trails and ATVs you plan to ride. Find the DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Regulations booklet here.

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