After the planning, permits, border crossing permits, and packing have been done the next step is the road trip from Chicago to Minnesota to start a Quetico Provincial Park adventure. This is not an easy step as the drive is 11 hours. Flying is difficult to impossible as it creates more logistical problems and expenses than the time saved. A car will have to be rented and I do not think airlines will allow a 16 foot canoe as a carry on.
With such a long drive ahead it is nice to plan a couple of places to stop over and stretch the legs or even stay a day or two on the way up if there is time. Here are a couple of adventure travel places worth a visit for just a quick walk to break up the time in the car or a place to camp and rest up for the rest of the trip.
Rock Cut State Park – Rockford, Illinois
This State Park just north of Rockford, Illinois is only 80 miles north of Chicago and most will pass it going 75 mph. However, if Chicago traffic was horrible it might be nice to take a stroll through one of their many trails before continuing north. They have a campsite and a concession, which rents boats on their two lakes. It might be a good place to stop on the way back home if interested in avoiding the crowds of Chicago for one more day of adventure.
Devil’s Lake State Park – Baraboo, Wisconsin
A little farther up the road is one of the most popular state parks in the United States. In fact, Reserve America rated it number one in one poll. There are tons of beautiful trails including one that offers amazing views of the lake, great beaches, swimming, boat rentals, and fishing. It is about four hours from Chicago, so a better place to take a break and cut the trip up a little better.
Black River State Forest – Black River Falls/Millston, Wisconsin-
There is actually a rest area stop off the interstate that has a trail that leads up to a scenic overlook, so it is possible to enjoy the beauty of this park without even leaving the confines of the interstate. There is also a campground off of county O in Millston, Wisconsin.
Namekogan and St. Croix National Scenic Rivers-
Hayward, Wisconsin is the winter home of the Birkebeiner, but also the summer home of great canoeing on the Namekogan and St. Croix Rivers. There are numerous places to camp in the area including Gordon Dam.
These tips will help break up the trip and a good opportunity to see the beauty of Wisconsin while heading farther north to Minnesota and Canada. In a future article we will examine some great places to stop along the north shore of Lake Superior on Highway 61 north of Duluth.
Traveling Ted will take the reader on a wilderness journey through Quetico Provincial Park. Sign up and subscribe for the rest of this series and beyond. Examiner will not sell your email and you will not get spam in your email box. Only one email will generate with a link for every article I write. I can also be followed on twitter, facebook, and if you are twitter savy then follow me with the hashtag of #ttinquetico.
For directions from Chicago check out the google map at the bottom of this article.