Crosby/ Ironton/Deerwood/Mille Lacs Lake/Aitkin
This Cuyuna Range neighborhood, on the eastern edge of the Brainerd Lakes Area, has stepped out of the shadows of the mining companies and recreated itself as a mountain biking destination – the best in the Midwest! The Cuyuna Range is home to the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, which hosts 25 miles of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Biking Trails and the 6-mile paved Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. The mountain biking trails, which wind around mine pit lakes and rock deposits, proved immensely popular during the 2011 inaugural season. Trails are available for riders of all ages and skill levels. The beauty of the Cuyuna Range is no longer a well-kept secret. With the establishment of biking systems and the popularity of scuba diving in the clear waters of the mine pit lakes, the region is attracting visitors from throughout the Midwest. Because of the incredible clarity in the water-filled mine pits, scuba divers enjoy exploring these lakes – more than 20 in all with depths up to 500 feet. These lakes also offer great trout fishing. This area also boasts the second-largest lake in all of Minnesota – Lake Mille Lacs, a great walleye, smallmouth bass and muskie fishery. Fishing opportunities abound year-round on Mille Lacs Lake – check out the many fishing launches during the summer months and ice house rentals during the winter months. Garrison’s huge walleye at the concourse off Highway 169 alerts visitors that you have reached the Walleye Capital of the World – or at least one of the self-proclaimed walleye capitals!
Don’t overlook shopping in these communities, especially antique shopping in Crosby, considered the Antique Capital of the Lakes Area. The city of Aitkin is noted for its world-famous fish house parade, annually the Friday following the Thanksgiving Day holiday.