In the summer, Cruser’s Kettle is rolling, flowy, dirt-and-rock-infused, black diamond singletrack. In the winter, it’s a remote and isolated adventure for expert snowshoers only.

Not for beginners, Cruser’s Kettle is a backcountry trail that winds through a Crow Wing County active forest management area. It’s an 8-mile, one-way, round-trip commitment with a lot of elevation, so be prepared for some serious climbing. Be mindful of fat bikes—although the trail isn’t groomed, fat biking is still allowed.

We recommend snowshoeing with a friend (dogs are welcome on this trail, too!), as mobile phone service can be spotty. Plan to start your tour early enough to allow yourself to complete the entire 8-mile loop with enough natural light (it gets dark quickly!). Remember to pack proper hydration and nutrition, layer up, and come out to conquer the Kettle!

Know before you go:

  • Cruser’s Kettle is not groomed for fat bike use, though fat biking is allowed
  • Snowshoeing is encouraged
  • The location is remote. Adventuring solo is not recommended—bring a friend
  • Dogs are allowed
  • Additional Cruser’s Kettle trail info, here

Trail entry point:
23201 Iron Hub Road

Deerwood, MN 56444

Where to park:
There is a small parking lot—and we do mean small (four or five vehicles at best)—located at the trailhead. Please do not park on the land to the left, right, and across from the driveway to the parking lot (this is all private property) or on Iron Hub Road (the gravel road at the parking lot entrance).

Trail history:
Cruser’s Kettle is named for Dan Cruser (pronounced Cruiser), a lifelong advocate of cycling and a retired Crosby High School guidance counselor. Cruser’s first bike in the mid-1980s was a mountain bike—he rode old mining roads and anywhere else he could

Dan Cruser

find a trail. Family vacations to biking destinations in the western US helped Cruser realize what biking could do for communities—especially the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area—both economically, as well as improving the health of its residents and visitors. The vision and advocacy efforts of Cruser and others in promoting the mountain bike trails—including a Hallett Trust grant matched with public donations—helped to implement the current Cuyuna Master Vision for Trails to expand the trails beyond their initial 25 miles.

This trail was made possible by the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (Crew) and their #ForCuyuna campaign.

WARNING ⚠: Please read the safety warnings on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area Trail Map by clicking here.