Minnesota's "Best Kept Secret"
found only on the Cuyuna Range
Minnesota's First Designated
State Recreation Area
By R. David Miller, April, 1997

The timeless, cultivated beauty of this wilderness heritage is nestled within time's boundaries between the late 1800's and the new century.

Fortunes were made as the land was cut away in search of iron ore, leaving the Cuyuna Range and Cuyuna Country a legacy of rich culture, and now a home for flourishing business communities, tourism destinations, and the serene of our small cities.

The Cuyuna Range is home to the newly state certified Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.  Once, over 5,000 acres of open and underground iron ore mines, the area today is as-advertised, "Minnesota's Best Kept Secret!" In the area, you have your choice of cross country skiing; snowmobile trails and ice fishing.

You may also choose between, swimming, boating and scuba diving in isolated, clearwater lakes, once the open mine pits that gave the Cuyuna Range its history. Fishing year 'round, picnic areas, horseback riding, mountain biking, and hiking trails abound with lodging-nearby to meet your needs.


Fall Colors on the Cuyuna Range

After the first frost, the leaves begin their slow burn to beauty in dramatic glory.  While creating equally stunning landscapes, the days shorten, and temperatures drop, offering outdoor and indoor activities unique to Cuyuna Country. Whether you enjoy the fall and its colors during peaceful walks, horseback riding, driving the miles of black topped roads through the area, hunting, or visiting the craft shows that also announce the season, you'll "fall in love with Fall" in Cuyuna Country.

Winter, Cuyuna Range Style

Winter grips. The first snow of winter is impressive, yet it adds a haunting environment to the area. Snow begins to set down between the tree branches and their leaves become a memory until spring. The pines hold the snow and their color, adding to the contrast of beauty.

The tourism draw to the area remains high this time of year, as winter fun is just beginning. Cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing all share quality time with the winter visitor. Ice skating on our natural rinks can be a bit surreal, as steam billows upward from the frozen surfaces of our lakes.

When the tracks of predators in search of prey paint their way through the snow, then the hunter or nature lover in you belongs in Cuyuna Country. Or, perhaps you'd enjoy the snow as it twinkles against a window during your fireside dining.

Spring...A Rebirth of Beauty....

The murmur of flowing water echoes up through melting ice as the frozen surfaces relinquishes its hold on the lakes. It's truly a miracle that you witness. Along with the rebirth of flowers, the leaves begin to show their "green of spring" as the time of year leads to short sleeve apparel and longer days to enjoy.  You step from your cold concrete, steel and glass surroundings of home and work into an "environmentally correct" area for the season and the warmer days to come.

Summer, In Search for an Illusive Pond....

As if nature hadn't done enough, your summer fun begins daily with a magnificent sunrise as you watch the entire color spectrum streak across a lake's surface; and ends with an equally spectacular sunset, as the last of light of day opens the sky to more fun under the stars. Summer activities surround you, whether you stay in a resort facility, camp along the shorelines of the hundreds of lakes in the region or in other unique styles of lodging available throughout Cuyuna Country.  Enjoy the fun of boating, water and jet skiing, and tennis and excellent shopping.Yes, even shopping is a sport in Cuyuna Country, known especially for its souvenir and antique stores, open year 'round.

Golf! Golf for pleasure! Golf in tournaments! There are three excellent, professionally designed golf courses on the Cuyuna Range. Open Spring, Summer and Fall, each of the courses offers their own unique course designs, built for those who just enjoy a 'round or two and those who thrive a challenge!

Take a walking tour through history and visit the Croft Historical Mine, a working interpretive center that allows the visitor to step back in time and into the workings of an iron ore mine.  Summer in Cuyuna Country will remain within your memories long after your stay comes to an end.  It may just also bring you back!


The natural wonders of the Cuyuna Range beckon each of us in different ways. If one listens carefully, with a bit of wanderlust in your mind, you can almost hear the ominous sounds of the ore cars along the tracks blend with the cry of the common loon, as these sounds of the history and of today, call you to Cuyuna Country and the Cuyuna Range.

Cuyuna Country's natural treasures are neither mortal nor impervious to our influences...but the area must remain in its unapproachable, dramatic beauty. If you come often, the signs of nature are easy to read in our wilderness. Come and find your special path through an area you'll remember a lifetime. Cuyuna Country is open all seasons and its friendly residents welcome the opportunity to meet your recreation, home and business needs.

(This article may be reprinted or quoted with approval by R. David Miller. David is the Executive Director for CREDI, Cuyuna Range Economic Development, Inc., located in Crosby, MN.)

The CCSRA DNR Office is located in Ironton, MN.  218-546-5926


When you get ready to live in two worlds...when, one minute your business skin is your coat, tie and appropriate apparel; and in the next minute, you peel them off, hop into your flannel shirt and fishing attire, and head out for the wilderness and lakes area, you're in Cuyuna Country and you have the best of both worlds. Many people escape to this area for recreation, and the peace and quiet that goes with the outdoors. Some return, for good.

If you would like more information regarding the exciting business incentives and profitable business climate in the area, please contact CREDI, Cuyuna Range Economic Development Inc.
P.O. Box 252
Crosby, MN 56441
218-546-8318 Voice
218-546-8314 FAX

(by R. David Miller, 1997) (Updated, 2002)

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Photo by R.David Miller