Explore Minnesota's state forests with these fancy, high-tech new maps from the DNR

New technology makes it easier than ever to find your way through the woods.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is making it easier – and safer – than ever to explore our state's natural forests.

The department launched six new, state-of-the-art maps this week as part of an effort to update all of the state forest maps. 

There are two new options for maps, but one is definitely more high tech. 

It's a geoPDF that you can download to your smartphone. A blue dot tracks your location while you make your way through the woods (shown in the photo above).

“The little blue dot that appears on the map on my phone goes with me whether I’m on or off-trail,” Laura Duffey, DNR state forest map project coordinator, said in the announcement. “This feature lets people know exactly where they are in a state forest – no more getting lost.”

For those who prefer to keep it old school, the DNR also offers some new paper maps, which include pop-out maps for popular campgrounds and day-use areas. 

Both maps are more detailed than previous versions, the DNR says, and highlight destinations for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, birding, cross-country skiing and snowmobile riding.

In the coming years, the DNR will create these types of maps for all 59 state forests, but the first batch is for these six:

  • Paul Bunyan State Forest
  • Badoura State Forest
  • Croix State Forest
  • Huntersville State Forest
  • Lyons State Forest
  • Chengwatana State Forest

The geoPDF maps are available here. You can download each individually.

You can stop by your local DNR office to pick up a free paper map, or request one from the DNR Info Center by emailing info.dnr@state.mn.us or calling 888-646-6367.

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