Towns Along the Trail
Ironton will be the access point to the CCSRA from the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. Recreation area management services will be located here. Both paved and unpaved access to downtown Ironton is possible, where trail users will find restaurants and services. The access is away from highway traffic, making this a safe connection for trail users. Ironton will be the beginning of the Miner's Mile, an interpretive segment of the trail intended to focus on the mining heritage of the area. Actually more than a mile long, it will extend to Crosby, where paved and unpaved access to downtown is also possible.
In Crosby, the trail passes adjacent to the Croft Mine Historical Park, a re-created underground mining experience, museum and interpretive center. Each summer, Crosby presents Heritage Days, an event that focuses on the mining heritage of the area. Crosby offers restaurants, lodging, shopping and services. The Crosby community park on Serpent Lake offers camping, swimming, a public water access, a fishing pier and play areas and could serve as trail parking and access area. Two blocks from the Croft Mine Historical Park is the Hallett Community Center, featuring snacks, exercise facilities and meeting rooms. Crosby also boasts an excellent hospital and clinic.
Within the CCSRA itself, swimming, boating, scuba diving and wilderness activities exist in addition to about 60 miles of paths, mining roads and trails supporting casual hiking to aggressive mountain biking. The local high school lies adjacent to the unpaved downtown route of the trail. Students will no doubt use the trail during the school year.
Cuyuna lies at the northeast edge of the CCSRA and is at the east end of the first phase of trail development. It is primarily a residential community, with a single restaurant and limited trail services. Cuyuna was the first mining town on the Cuyuna Range, serving the first mine, which was originally an underground mine. It was converted to an open pit nearly 400 feet deep, which is now flooded as part of nearby Rabbit Lake.
Rabbit Lake offers excellent boating and fishing. The public access to Rabbit Lake is north of Cuyuna on Crow Wing County Road 31. The CLTA and the DNR will work with Cuyuna to determine paved and unpaved routes in the city and the connections to local facilities.
Riverton lies at the western end of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (CCSRA). It is primarily a residential community. Services, lodging and restaurants do not exist. The Sagamore pit portion of the CCSRA is not connected to the main body of the CCSRA at this time, but excellent scenery and fishing will draw visitors to this end of the CCSRA. Access to the Sagamore Pit is through Riverton. The DNR has planned water access for the Sagamore Pit. A primitive campground exists on the north shore.
The Cuyuna Lakes State Trail plan is to extend from Riverton to Lum Park in braind and there to connect to the existing Paul Bunyan State Trail.
Aitkin is at the eastern end of the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. The long range plan is for the east end of the trail, currently near CRES Elementary School in Crosby, to extend to Deerwood and on into to Aitkin. The Deerwood connection is planned for the summer of 2017.
Aitkin lies at the junction of Ripple (Mud) River and the Mississippi River, a principal water route used by the American Indians to commute between their large encampments on Big Sandy Lake and Lake Mille Lacs. Today, it lies at the junction of TH 169 (north-south) and TH 210 (east-west).
Founded in 1871, this community boomed during the logging era. It became a riverboat transportation center for boats running between Grand Rapids and Aitkin, carrying passengers and lumber. It was named for William Alexander Aitkin, a famed fur trader with the Ojibwe Indians.
Aitkin boasts public campgrounds, shopping, restaurants and services for trail users. Lodging facilities are available at local inns and nearby resorts. Several public and private campgrounds are located in the Aitkin area. The rivers are an excellent resource for canoe enthusiasts. The Great River Road and the proposed Mississippi River Trail run through Aitkin.
Aitkin has excellent medical facilities, multiple parks near the trail and hosts the Aitkin County Fair each year. Winter and summer activities and festivals are available. Some of thecommunity festivals include: the famous Fish House Parade in November, Riverboat Heritage days in July, and the Festival of Adventures & Aitkin Fur Post Rendezvous in September.