Pine Ridge Resort Activities

4 SEASONS OF FAMILY FUN

Pine Ridge Resort lies within the boundaries of the Chippewa National Forest, surrounded by scenery to match the north shore of Lake Superior. Wildlife seems to abound throughout the seasons in the forests around us, the skies overhead and in the water. 

Springtime is always alive with change. Most of our snow is gone by April and the ice is usually gone off Girl Lake by the end of April. By that time, geese are nesting along the shorelines, ducks cover the lakes and the first loons arrive almost as soon as there is open water to land in. We are always alert to that very first haunting loon call telling us “we’re back”.  It’s a busy time of the year. Cabins are cleaned, docks placed back in the water and boats hauled out of storage and made ready for launching. Preparing the resort for our first guests keeps us busy but there is always time for those first open water crappie and bluegill that move into the shallows feasting on the new hatches of water bugs immerging as the water warms along the shorelines. 

Mid-May brings fishing opener to Minnesota. For the next few weeks, fishing seems to be all that is going on as anglers hunt for those first open water walleye and northern. But there is much more. Baby geese are taking their first swims guarded closely by Mom and Dad. Mother ducks herd their flocks of ducklings along the shoreline. The first fawns of the season usually appear the first week or so of June. And the first baby loons are seen about the same time. Bass opener follows walleye opener by two weeks and brings a new angler up north. Now we see fishermen casting to hidden stumps and weed patches. 

Summer time.  By mid-June, the water has warmed and, suddenly, fishing is no longer the top priority. Kids are out of school and it’s time for family vacation. The clear waters of Girl Lake now fill with happy kids as well. There are lots of activities available to keep everyone entertained.  

  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Bird Watching
  • Bonfires
  • Four kayaks, a paddle boat, and a canoe
  • Water Skiing

Mid-summer fishing is more relaxed but can still be productive for those willing to get up early and stay out late. The bright sunshine and all the activity on the lake seem to move the best fishing times to the early hours around sunrise and just before sunset. Beautiful, quiet times to be on the water. 

Late Summer.  By the middle of August, schools are opening around the area and, again, our seasons begin to change.  Still lots of time left to get in a good swim. Lots of families and activity around until after Labor Day and then, the fishermen return. Wild life seem to sense the coming changes. Young eagles and ospreys practice their fishing right in front of your cabin, gaining strength for the migration to come. Baby loons are full grown by now and are likely to pop up beside your boat when you are least expecting them. Young songbirds in tremendous variety are all around as they also prepare for their trip south. Sightings of fox and deer increase as the young of the year scatter out on their own.  It’s not unusual to see young otters playing around the boats in the morning. 

Fall colors begin to appear mid-September and grow more vivid daily as the weather turns cooler. Peak color for the maples arrives around the end of September. The golden birch leaves usually peak a week or so later. By the end of October, most of the leaves are ready to be raked. Fall fishing is generally considered the best of the season. Fish sense the coming hard water and they feast heavily. Jumbo perch by the buckets are caught in shallow water. Walleye fishing improves weekly as the season moves into October. Big bass hit top water and plastics and explode out of the water in tail walking strikes.

The weather during September and October is cool and crisp, perfect for roasting a marshmallow over a campfire and restful nights. Days on the lake generally require warm clothes but not until the last couple weeks in October do we really have to bundle up to spend a few hours in the boat. 

And then, Winter, comes.  By the end of October, all but the most dedicated fishermen are done with open water. At Pine Ridge Resort, we pull our boats and docks off the lake, drain the water from our cabins, rake up the leaves and prepare for snow and ice. Girl Lake usually freezes over towards the end of November. We leave one cabin heated all winter, our Sarajac unit. Large, with room to sleep up to fourteen people, it’s available all winter for those who want to try some ice fishing, do some snowmobiling on the over 400 miles of groomed trails in Cass county or who just want to find a quiet get-a-way for a week end. There are also trails available for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Here in Minnesota, we don’t hide from winter, we embrace it. Early February finds almost 300 people on the ice by Longville for an ice bocce tournament. Check it out. 

So, that’s a year at Pine Ridge Resort. We’ve added a few pictures and some further specifics about resort activities below.  We hope you’ll find your area of interest and join us in our beautiful northern Minnesota home.  Welcome to Pine Ridge Resort.

 


Loon relaxing on the shore of Girl Lake in LongvilleBird Watching
There is a tremendous variety of wildlife in the Longville Lakes area and among that variety are birds of all shapes and colors. Black capped chickadees live around the resort year round as do the incredible pileated woodpeckers. Water birds from many kinds of ducks to great blue herons to kingfishers to flocks of migrating pelicans and swans. Song birds fill the trees around the resort. We usually have several pair of nesting Northern orioles warring over nesting mates around the resort.
 
In the skies above, the bald eagles and ospreys search for dinner. The Chippewa National Forest is home to the lower 48 states greatest population of nesting bald eagles and we see them often over the resort. There is nothing like the experience of sitting in your boat waiting for the fish to start biting when an eagle picks one of the top of the water 30′ away.
 
But most of all, we have our loons.
 
If there is one thing that I can guarantee about Pine Ridge Resort, it is that you will see and hear loons every day that you are here when there is open water. The clear waters of Girl Lake attract a large population of nesting loons and they seem comfortable to have us around watching them. Guests have had loons swim beside their boat, pop up in front of the dock they are sitting on, and entertain them at night with their haunting calls. 
 
There are many more birds to see in the Longville area. We are within an hour of several prime bird watching areas including the Chippewa National Forest and Deep Portage Nature Conservation Area. 
 
So, whether you are a novice bird watcher or one that spends as much time as possible with a pair of binoculars glued to your eyes, I think you will find plenty to see around Pine Ridge Resort.

Kids playing on a floating water mat on the lakeSwimming

The cool, clear water of Girl Lake is a paradise for kids of all ages.  Pine Ridge Resort has a great swimming area. It starts with a 12′ x 18′ deck built right over the water. Square foot for square foot, no other area of the resort gets more use than this deck. It is carpeted and there is a strong set of steps leading right into the water so that both the younger kids and older folks can easily and safely get in to the water.

Of course, most of the kids prefer to run right off the deck and jump in. The swimming area is all sand. There is a perfect area by the shore for the younger kids to play and splash, and the water is about 2′ deep off the end of the deck so it’s great for jumping in.  The sand goes out about 40′ where the water is about 4′ deep.

There are no drop offs anywhere around the swimming area. About 100′ from shore, we anchor our swimming raft. The water around the raft is about 12′ deep so it is excellent for diving and jumping.

Two Fun bugs, four kayaks, a paddle boat, and a canoe make up our fleet of entertaining water toys. Almost every kid feels on top of the world when he is captaining his own ship over the water. The paddle boat is our most popular ride. Back and forth between the swimming deck and the raft can take up hours.

Winter at Pine Ridge Resort

When the snow falls, you will find that Pine Ridge Resort is in the middle of Cass County’s 400 plus miles of groomed state-aid snowmobile trails. Access to the trails is just 1/2 mile across Girl Lake from the resort.

In the middle of Pine Ridge Resort is our large, three bedroom cabin that we keep open throughout the year. Located only 10′ away from the shore of Girl Lake, it is a perfect place to enjoy all that a Minnesota northwoods winter has to offer. Park your snowmobile right in front of the cabin after a days ride and relax in front of the warm, fieldstone fireplace.

Cross country ski trails are only minutes away from the resort. Snowshoeing along the North County Trail through the Chippewa National Forest is a pure delight. And it’s all just minutes away from the warm comfort of a northwoods cabin.