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Lakes Nelson & Twentyone Loops



2.6 mile 4.2 kilometer loop
92% Runnable


Ascent: 337' 103 m
Descent: -348' -106 m
High: 1,582' 482 m
Low: 1,427' 435 m


Avg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)


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Trail shared by Matthew Davis


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Run around two beautiful undeveloped lakes.

Matthew Davis

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

The trail is closed during the deer rifle hunting season in early to mid-November.


Run a beautiful, family-friendly loop trail around two scenic lakes. There is a campground and boat launch in the immediate area so it makes a great recreational destination.

Need to Know

Camping is available at the Gulch Lakes Campground. For more info, visit…

Those on foot should wear blaze orange in the fall while running during hunting season.


From the Lake Twenty-one Day Use area parking lot, head northeast behind the trail shelter before crossing the entrance road and then climbing up a short ridge. Reach a spur trail heading uphill to the Gulch Lake campground or down to a fishing pier. The trail continues heading south along the edge of the lake.

When the trail reaches an intersection by a bridge, turn left heading toward the Public Access Trailhead. From the trailhead, follow the signs to the North Country Trail passing by a couple of campsites. At the south end of the lake, the trail climbs up to the NCT. Turn right on the NCT, and then turn right at the next intersection as well.

The trail continues on the west side of the lake before reaching an intersection. Take a left heading west, and then the trail winds around the southern and western end of Lake Twentyone before reaching the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

The trail passes through northern hardwood-pine forest. There are some wildflowers in the spring and summer. You may encounter wolf tracks or scat on the trail.

History & Background

There was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the vicinity of the Lake Twentyone Day Use area parking lot.

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 2 votes


  4.5 from 2 votes
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in Minnesota


6 Views Last Month
300 Since Jan 29, 2018



The spot between Lake Twenty-one and Nelson Lake
Feb 28, 2018 near Walker, MN
A beautiful wetland view
Feb 28, 2018 near Walker, MN
The oak forest - can you spot the sign of beavers?
Feb 28, 2018 near Walker, MN
The warming shelter
Feb 28, 2018 near Walker, MN
The trail passes through a grassy ironwood stand
Feb 28, 2018 near Walker, MN
The fishing pier on Lake Twenty-one
Feb 28, 2018 near Walker, MN


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