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National Forest Lodge
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Reviews (103)
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All reviewspolar plungegroomed trailswinter wonderlandcross country skiinglive music on saturday nightsingle trackhot tubski weekendnorth woodstakes great carepeace and quietbig pineswood burning saunaexcellent skibrave soulsbathroom facilitynorthern mn
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Reviewed March 21, 2014

When you get to National Forest Lodge you won't have to think about anything but enjoying yourself the entire weekend. The food is made for you, the dishes are done, the sauna is stoked and the cabins are heated. They'll even keep the hot tub going. This place is totally authentic. Yes, the cabins are "rustic." And yes, you have to walk to the bath house. But this is an intimate resort, nothing is more than a 3-minute walk.

And there is always snow - no matter how bad it is in the Cities, or how bad things look on the drive up to NFL, there is always snow. The trails are beautiful and diverse enough for any level skier.

But the best part of NFL is the natural rhythm of the weekend. It's been the same every time -- and I've gone 6 times! On Friday people arrive throughout the afternoon. If there's time and light, you grab a quick ski. If not, you unpack, make your bed and head over the lodge for a delicious meal (always with a vegetarian option!). People are formal, new connections have not yet been made. But Andy - owner and the ultimate host - greets all comers with a hug.

After breakfast on Saturday, you head out for a ski. And at lunch everyone is comparing routes and miles covered. Another ski in the afternoon, or maybe some time reading in the lodge followed by a sauna and the AMAZING polar plunge! That's when things really start to pick up. The atmosphere at Saturday dinner is decidedly more festive. People are milling about, sharing a glass of wine and tales of their day. An incredibly good meal is followed by live entertainment as a crowd of more friends and locals packs into the lodge. The music - added to the experience by Andy - is always a huge hit. And by 11p everyone is heading to bed with a smile on their face.

Sunday morning, a quick breakfast, one more ski (I recommend once around Flathorn Lake) and then everyone is packing up to leave and hugging goodbye.

Go as a couple, go with your family, or go by yourself. You'll leave having done some great skiing, eaten some great food and made some new friends. All for an incredible price.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank M E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North_Shore_Lodging, Owner at National Forest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 26, 2014

Holy cow! This is such a great description of a weekend at the NFL. It should be on our website! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us! -Andy

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2014

Combination of wilderness-like skiing or snowshoeing , communal meals, open-air hot tubbing and wood-fired sauna (replete with chainsawed hole in the lake) cannot be equaled. Bracing but requisite early morning trips to heated bathroom facility with Sorrels quickly tugged-on, squeaky snow underfoot and countless unbelievably bright stars overhead.Great value. Unforgettable.

Room Tip: All are unique. Cabin #3 has a special history.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mark F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North_Shore_Lodging, Owner at National Forest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 22, 2014

Mark who?!? Yes, that cabin has great memories for Lura and I. You just never know what's you're gonna hear at the NFL. Thanks for the review and all those years of polar plunging. -Andy

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Reviewed March 19, 2014

This is our third escape to the lodge, we love that we can park the car and spend the weekend. Great skiing and snow shoeing, great host and a wonderful cook. We made reservations for next winter already.

Room Tip: Not really a swimming pool, but it is one great hot tub!
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North_Shore_Lodging, Owner at National Forest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2014

Thanks so much for coming up again. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for your support. -Andy

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Reviewed March 19, 2014

We celebrated our anniversary at NFL in 2011. Such a great time, loved every minute! The ski trails were fantastic, beautiful beyond belief, and wonderfully groomed (snow show trails were great, too!). Andy was a fabulous host and created a great sense of community among the guests. Food was great and in abundance. Our cabin was basic but very clean and comfortable. Shared bath was convenient and clean as well. Having just found out I was pregnant, I wasn't able to partake of the hot tub, sauna, or lake plunge, but my husband did all three and had a great time! We enjoyed playing board games on Friday night (with hot chocolate), and the live music on Saturday night really made the weekend festive. I loved everything about this place. Fantastic opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, reconnect w/o the distraction of technology, and just enjoy being together and meeting new folks. As our kids get older, we plan to come up every year as a family. DEFINITELY RECOMMEND!

Room Tip: The cabins are all different - definitely ask Andy for recommendations on the best cabin for your group.
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jen S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North_Shore_Lodging, Owner at National Forest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2014

Wow! I am certainly humbled by tour enthusiastic review. Can't wait to have you up again as a family (or get the "rent's" to watch the kiddo(s) and escape) and next time you can hopefully do the whole experience. Muchas Gracias Senora!

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Reviewed February 25, 2014

Having come here for the last several years, I'm impressed by how consistently great and fun this is. With the intense level of snow this year, skiing was fabulous. Andy and team kept the trails in great condition. Weaving through pine and hardwood forests the trails are both picturesque and fun to ski. We also snowshoed several days. Those trails are across the road and go through the woods, also a nice time.

The lodge always has a friendly, low key atmosphere during meals. It's a good place for gathering during the day if you're not skiing. Andy and his staff will do their best to make sure you're taken care of. Free live music - good live music - is featured on Saturday night.

We like taking a sauna and jumping in the lake. Other friends have enjoyed the hot tub. Both places are fun gathering spots after skiing or after dinner.

If you have a large group, consider renting the log home or check out the new log home across the lake. That's a ski-in/hike-in spot, so it's something different. We've skied over there and checked it out. It looks gorgeous. We have a large group and rent the log home on site.

Some of the cabins utilize a shared bath and folks may wonder about that. We've done this in the past when our group was smaller. The bathhouse is clean and can accommodate several people, so no worries there. Also, it's right near the hot tub - easy to get side-tracked into taking a dip, easy to shower off right after. Lots of people are walking around in robes to the bath, hot tub or sauna, so you'll never feel odd trudging off in your slippers and big robe.

I'd suggest you give the National Forest Lodge a try.

Room Tip: Each cabin is a little different and spread out. Don't be afraid to ask Andy or someone about the cabins, proximity to the shower house, hot tub or whatever's important to you. They don't b.s. their guests and sincerely want you to be ready and have a good time.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank clark o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North_Shore_Lodging, Owner at National Forest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 27, 2014

The Margaritaville is the best! You all have become a beloved institution at the NFL. Thanks for all your kindness. Andy

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