Much Ado about Everything in Wadena County

Much Ado about Everything in Wadena County Main Photo

19 Jun 2023


Wadena County is a haven of outdoor recreation and events. This summer, nature lovers can enjoy peaceful, serene natural experiences on a canoe cruise along the Crow Wing River or relaxing hikes through forested rolling landscapes. Fun seekers favoring wheeled outings will find their fill, whether on bicycles and dirt bikes or with four-wheelers on miles of dedicated trails. Summer festivals and fairs offer the perfect gatherings for persons of all ages in numerous locations. 

The seemingly endless opportunities make Wadena County the place to be this summer!

The great outdoors

The Crow Wing River State Water Trail enters Wadena County in the northeast at the Huntersville State Forest and threads its way for 90 miles before exiting near Staples on its way to connecting with the Mississippi River. The river’s depth limits motorized boating, so it's the perfect trail to canoe or tube. Numerous put-ins and access ramps allow for a simple day trip, while multi-day excursions are possible with the many riverside parks allowing camping. Area businesses like Gloege’s Canoe & Kayak Outfitting, Huntersville Canoe Outfitters, Outpost Bar & Grill and Wahoo Valley Bar & Grill provide rentals, supplies, meals and more for individuals, families and groups. 

Looking for dry land fun? The Huntersville State Forest offers numerous opportunities, from camping, hiking and cross-country skiing, to horseback and ATV riding. Located mainly in the northern section of Wadena County, the forest is 52 square miles of public land populated primarily by red and jack pines covering the gently rolling hills.

Off-road motorized enthusiasts flock to Huntersville State Forest. Fifty-nine miles of OHM trails are provided by the Township of Huntersville and maintained by the Twin Cities Trail Riders, Minnesota's premier dirt bike trail riding club. Learn more here about the organization’s events, trips and other activities fit for all levels of experience.  

Catch a glimpse of Wadena County from a bike seat

Biking enthusiasts can tour the county via paved trails and forested off-road single-track ventures. Those seeking a relaxing bike trip find the Leaf River Recreational Trail appealing. The four-mile one-way paved path has the potential of a 10.5-mile loop using local roads. Staples’ Legacy Trail is a 3.5-mile paved bike path starting from the Living Legacy Gardens and is excellent for experiencing the superb natural landscapes. Mountain bikers of all levels can also find amazing trails in Wadena County near Menahga and Wadena. See the trial maps here. 

Go to the fair

Nothing says summer in Minnesota like a local fair or festival. The Wadena County Fair runs from June 22-25. Planned and presented by the Wadena County Ag Society, the Fair has many memorable and safe family fun activities for persons of all ages. While the entire schedule can be found here, some headline events include:

June 21 - UTV/Side-by-Side Barrel Racing

June 22 - 3T Rodeo, featuring bull riding, barrel racing, mutton bustin and ranch bronc riding.

June 23 - Enduro Races, part of a summer series culminating in the August 19 championship.

June 24 - NTPA Championship Truck & Tractor Pull

June 25 - Demolition Derby Wreckfest

Similar experiences will be found at the 44th annual England Prairie Pioneer Days in Verndale from August 25-27, combining early farming techniques with antique tractor pulls and plowdowns. Verndale is also home to the R&J Arena, which hosts many summer equine events. 

Catch a Concert

The headliner for concerts in Wadena County is the Midsummer Music Fest, a country music festival drawing national artists to a fabulous outdoor location outside Menahga, July 19-22. Directions and participating hotels that offer shuttles to/from the concert can be found here. 

Let the Economic Alliance help you find your summer fun today!

The Economic Alliance is here to help the businesses that have chosen to make Wadena County their home while ensuring visitors and residents alike can experience everything the surrounding natural outdoors have to offer. Please contact us today for any assistance needed to make your business and life endeavors in Wadena County a success!