Category: Where to eat

Exciting things are happening in Cuyuna Country

True North Basecamp is the place to stay and experience it all in 2017!  We at True North Basecamp continue to focus on providing memorable experiences for all our guests.  Book cabin or campsite and create some memorable experiences in 2017.

We made some great changes at True North Basecamp in 2016.  Expect some excellent changes to the campground this season that includes revisiting the layout of our campsites, which will increase the spacing between some sites.  Wifi access to the cabins was recently enhanced, and we are working on improved access throughout the property.  We continually seek feedback from our past guests, and make the necessary changes to improve our guest’s experiences.

Two very cool new businesses opened in Crosby the past six months; Cuyuna Brewing and Red Raven.  Cuyuna Brewing is the place to go for craft beer (  Red Raven ( is the newest café, offering great coffee, beer and food.  Both businesses are a short ¼ mile bike ride or walk from True North Basecamp, and are a must visit after a day of riding.

More businesses are in the planning stages for 2017 as well as building more mountain bike trail.  At the annual Cuyuna Mountain Bike Association meeting held on January 12th, volunteer President Aaron Hautala outlined what is coming to Cuyuna Country in 2017.  Check out the video for more details:

Remember that Cuyuna is not just about biking.  With the many mine pit lakes scattered throughout the recreation area, paddle boarding is a popular activity at True North Basecamp.  Read all about paddle boarding on Armor Mine #2:

Are you a family with young children looking to experience the wonders of Cuyuna?  True North Basecamp is a great option for families with young children.  Maura and Bobby Marko of “We Found Adventure” wrote about their experience at True North Basecamp and the Cuyuna area:

With all the outdoor activities Cuyuna has to offer, you have an option to rent equipment at Cycle Paddle Path.  They can outfit you with bikes, paddle boards and kayaks with delivery options to your cabin or campsite at True North Basecamp.

36 Hours of Summer Fun in Cuyuna

Here are a few ideas you’ll want to put on your Cuyuna Weekend to do list.


3pm | IT’S TIME TO GET MANHIGHManhigh_II_gondolam – It’s best to educate before you recreate, so check out the story of Manhigh 2 where on August 1957, Major David G. Simons took a 32 hour flight up to 100K feet in a metal capsule that departed from a Cuyuna Mine Pit .  The Soo Line Depot Museum (101 1st Street NE, 218-546-6178; in Crosby.

Soo Line Depot Museum is open from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend from Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00PM.  From there, walk down main street and stop in at the Spaulding House (1 W Main St, 218-546-6060) to try one of the many craft brews on tap and try your luck at darts or pool.

7 pmLouies | TEXANS WISH THEY HAD BBQ LIKE THIS – Louie’s Bucket of Bones will be the culinary highlight of your Cuyuna trip.  The aroma from its scratch BBQ cooking with tantalizing hickory barbecue smell draws customers through the doors.  It offers Jerk Pork, Chicken and Ribs.  Louies’s Bucket of Bones (101 4th Street, 218-545- 3232; website link) in Ironton.  Open daily.


8am | MIXED COMPANY FOR COFFEE & BREAKFAST – Mixed Company A Kava House imports its beans from the North Shore and serves eggs just like you want them.  Its extensive drink and breakfast selections includes brewed coffee, espresso, pastries and breakfast entrees.  The Homestyle Egg Bake at $3.49 will get you fueled for the day.  It also has a great lunch menu. Mixed Company A Kava House  (128 W. Main Street NE, 218-545-1010 website link) in Crosby. Open daily.

Croft_Mine10am | IT’S ALL MINE AND IT’S INCREDIBLE – A stop at the Croft Mine Park and Museum is a must.  The info on the museum and the mine tour is incredible. The guides really know their  stuff and full of fun facts! This 17-acre park, built on the Croft Mine site, was an active underground iron ore mine from 1916-1934; original shaft 630 ft. deep; enjoy guided simulated underground mining tour; museum has mining artifacts.  Croft Mine Park and Museum  (N 8th St & 2nd Ave E, 218-546-5466 website link) in Crosby. Open Sat. & Sun. 10am to 6pm starting Memorial Day Weekend.

basketstrawberry1pm | BERRY PICKING  – Elm Island Lake Berry Farm offers pick your own strawberries on small fields surrounded by woods & natural hay fields. It schedules picking times for customers to avoid traffic & field congestion. Call to schedule your picking appt time. Pre-picked strawberries are available by ordering at least 2-3hrs before your desired pickup time. Picking late Jun-mid Jul: Mon-Sat hrs vary, call for  picking conditions. Elm Island Lake Berry Farm (37815 309th Street, Aitkin; 218-927-3087 website link)

600_100_1413 6pm | WATER WARS, MINI-GOLF & BATTING CAGES  – Traditions Mini Golf is a 18 Hole Premier Course, featuring a waterfall, fountain ponds, bridges, breath taking landscape and music plays throughout the entire course!  It also has batting cages and water wars game.  Traditions Mini Golf  (24228 State Highway 210, 218-534-9250 website link) in Deerwood. Open daily summer.


PAUL10am | WHAT’S MY NAME PAUL? – A quick 20 minute drive will get you to see the real 26 ft. Paul Bunyan.  Paul Bunyan Land is an amusement park that offers several recreational and entertainment services for children, youths and adults. It has several rides, including roller coaster, marry-go-round, apple ride and flying cage.   Best of all, Paul will magically say your name.  Paul Bunyan Land (17553 State Highway 18, 218-764-2524 website link) in Brainerd. Open daily summer.

TroutStringer2 pm | WHO WANTS TO CATCH TROUT? – Angler’s North Fishing  Guides know where the fish are biting in the Cuyuna Area. They specialize in lakes and rivers in one of the finest fishing and recreational areas in the Midwest.  Your principal guide is Jesse Williams. Jesse is a local (from the Crosby area) who works part time at Oars ‘n Mine Bait and Tackle in Crosby, MN. When he’s not picking up the latest info at the bait shop, he’s catching fish.  Angler’s North Fishing  Guides (22640 MN-6, 218- 831-0267 website link) in Crosby.


The Cuyuna Lakes area is 120 miles from Minneapolis & St. Paul., and 150 miles from Duluth. It is served by Delta Airlines at the Brainerd Airport just outside of town.

cabinTrue North Basecamp (835 1st Street SW, 218-833-2267;, offers lakefront cabin rentals starting at $69 and campsites starting at $19.  It is connected to the Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area waterways & trails.  Bike and stand up paddle board rentals available at Cycle Path & Paddle.


Top 8 Cuyuna Winter Actitives

Cuyuna Is Snow Fun

Winter is here and the Cuyuna State Recreation Area is ideal for couples, families and adventure seekers who want to make the most of it.  There are few destinations that have all the best winter vacation activities like Cuyuna.  It’s made possible by the 5,000 acres of pristine protected wilderness and it’s only two hours from Minneapolis and St. Paul.

# 1 Fatbiking
What better way to explore the most beautiful trails around the Cuyuna Lakes during winter time than fatbiking? We tell you, if you’re a bike fan and want to have a peaceful and fun ride in the nature while spending a weekend away from the busy town, then winter fat biking is for you. And don’t worry if you don’t have a fatbike, there are great rentals at Cycle Path & Paddle.

# 2 Snow Shoeing
Undoubtedly a family winter adventure, show shoeing dates back from the times when indigenous North American people used to inhabit these parts of the world. Being more of a necessity to make it through great snow back then, today, snow shoeing is but a fun way to explore nature and enjoy the winter snow.  Rentals are available at Cycle Path & Paddle.

# 3 Hiking
Hiking during winter time is one of the most amazing things to do around with family and friends over the weekend. And given the fact we are located in the heart of the wilderness, get ready to connect to the incredible wildlife and scenery of the Cuyuna Range.  The Minnesota Department Of Resources provides hiking information here.

#4 Ice Fishing
Fishing does not have to stop just because it’s winter.  Winter fishing is a fun activity and you can easily defy the cold and outsmart the fish by working with a guide.  Local Guides can get you set up with the hot spots and latest ice fishing amenities.  Anglers Guide Service will provide everything you need for a memorable experience on the ice.

#5 Cross Country Skiing
Cross country skiing is ultimate cardio exercise and there are many opportunities near Cuyuna.  Larson Lake Ski Trail is the closest and there are several nearby.  Here’s a link to all your skiing options.

#6 Dining
Winter time asks for great meals somewhere cozy and comfortable. There is such a great variety of restaurants, bars, taverns and wine houses around to choose from! Coffee and Espresso at Mixed Company will kick start your day and North Country Café and Ya Betcha’s are great choices for lunch and dinner.  The Cuyuna Chamber of Commerce provides a complete list of dining options here.

#7 Snow Tubing
Primetime Restaurant,
Breezy Point, MN was originally a ski chalet in the 1960’s. Now it’s a great place for a day and evening of family fun.  Kids and adults will have an awesome  snow tubing adventure.  It offers pull ropes that helps you optimize the number of times down the hill.  It usually opens mid-December and best of all it’s only 22 miles from True North Basecamp.

#8 Relaxation
This being said, a day of winter adventure requires a comfortable place to sleep. We’re sure the cabin rentals at True North Basecamp will fit your needs perfectly.  All cabins include three twin and one full size bed. The winter season is near so you are most welcome to join us and have the time of your lives!  Let it snow, let it snow!  Book a cabin today!

The Finest Northern BBQ

Louie’s Bucket Of Bones is a Cuyuna Favorite.  
101 4th St
Ironton, MN 56455
(218) 545-3232

Check out what previous diners have to say about it:

“Driving thru town around lunch time and found a gem!  Awesome pork sandwich & steak fries.  Will need to try the chicken & ribs another time.  Well worth the stop!” Mark C. Waseca, MN

“I would go out of my way to eat here again.   Joyce runs the place and it’s as much worth the visit to meet her as it is to taste the food, which was amazing. She’s a hoot and a legend in her domain. …I got the ribs and beans and they were incredible.” Clayton T. Herriman, UT