Zippel Bay State Park is not the northernmost park in Minnesota (that’s Garden Island) but it’s the northernmost one with a Hiking Club route. Zippel Bay indents the shore of Lake of the Woods, a 1,485 square mile (3,846 km2) body of water that stretches far north into Canada – so far that it’s northern horizon is just a blue line. Due north from Zippel Bay is the Northwest Angle, a topographic and treaty oddity where the U.S. juts into Canada and becomes the northernmost point in the lower 48 states.

We arrived from Hayes Lake to find that the original Hiking Club route at Zippel Bay, along the lake, is closed due to high water. Fortunately, the park staff were on it and had established an alternative Hiking Club route – with password – that we could use. This proved to be a short walk (~1.5 mi/~2.4 km), so we took some time to go gaze in wonder at Lake of the Woods and also visit Zippel Bay itself (it seemed silly to come all this way and not see the park’s namesake). 😏

On the temporary Hiking Club route
Puffballs
Along the trail
Birch bark
Sunlight through the Fall foliage
On the shore of Lake of the Woods
The shore was littered with a surprising number of intact freshwater clam and mussel shells
Looking across Lake of the Woods to Canada
Zippel Bay

So, four parks, 8.3 miles (13.3 km) of hiking, and some new ecological insights acquired. Overall, a very good day. 😁 Since we planned to visit Voyageurs National Park in the morning, we’d picked a hotel in Rainier (Cantilever Hotel) as that’s not far from the park. Another plus was this hotel has it’s own restaurant, so we didn’t have to do yet more driving to achieve food and drink. 🍔🍸😋 So our last (short) hike of the day was to and from that restaurant. 😉

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