Pillsbury State Forest

Pillager, Minnesota 56473

Pillsbury State Forest

Pillsbury State Forest Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The trails at Pillsbury State Forest meander through a heavy forested area consisting of a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees. The woods are dotted with small lakes and ponds where you’re likely to see evidence of beavers and other wildlife.You may also find several varieties of wild flowers, including the yellow lady’s slipper.

Gently rolling, often cobbled, and sometimes a little muddy, the trails are fairly easy for family hikes. A non-equestrian campground with picnic, swimming, and boating areas, as well as a short nature trail, is located at the west side of Rock Lake to the north and east of the forest’s main hiking trail."

Pillsbury State Forest Trip Reports

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
Light snow had fallen the night before our arrival. The trail was snow packed, yet thankfully there was not enough snow for snowmobilers. We were not aware that this was a shared snowmobile trail, until we arrive.

The forest is birch, and elm, and a jackpine or two. Deer were spotted running across the sweeping trail. Linx tracks were spotted on numerous occassions. The beaver have done significant work on one revene leaving it nearly bare near their pond.

All in all - a very beautiful wide trail, rolling hills, and nature surrounding the trail.
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
The start of this trail can be hard to find, as it is sometimes hidden by vehicles and horse trailers in the campground. I asked a group of campers for assistance and was directed to the trail. This forest trail is wide and dry. It has a remote feel and winds through a variety of forest scenes. The topography is interesting, mixed with hills and lakes. Wildlife is abundant, and if one is quiet and attentive, can be observed in a relaxed and natural state. There are many disecting trails, but signs are well placed and navigation is easy. This particular loop can be traversed in just over two hours, but you may want to take your time and enjoy the surroundings. No particular gear is necessary, but my trekking poles came in handy on the many hills and slopes. The trail surface is a mixture of grass, sand, and rock and the footing was good. Also be prepared to share the trail with a horseback rider every so often. It is probably a good idea to step off the trail and stand quietly as they pass.
All in all, the trip is pleasurable, entertaining, and not too demanding. For those of you looking for a workout, this trail can provide it with a faster pace and a loaded pack. Give it a try, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Pillsbury State Forest Photos

Show off your photography skills ... post your pics of this trail!

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
3.5 hours
1,360 feet
Trailhead Elevation
1,400 feet
Top Elevation
Brainerd Area Forest Supervisor; Department of Natural Resources
Local Contacts
USGS Pillager and Wilson Bay
Local Maps