Resident camp will not be offered at Camp Northwoods for summer 2022. In addition to challenges with hiring adequate staff, we recently learned that the Thunderbird Lodge, which contains the kitchen and dining hall, has structural issues that make it unsafe for use. Providing a safe camp experience without a dining hall is not possible for us this summer. Camp Northwoods will continue to be available for troop and Service Unit rental use as we launch the process to evaluate the redevelopment of Thunderbird Lodge and future camp programming.
Set on 432 acres and surrounded by the Chequamegon National Forest, Camp Northwoods has the feel of the pristine wilderness, yet offers modern amenities for girls.
Older girls especially love Camp Northwoods because of the progression to advanced wilderness adventures. Camp Northwoods is also the main camp where our future leaders begin their service as Counselors-in-Training (CIT), and girls can progress through more advanced leadership training as they grow. Additionally, girls can discover their love of horses at Camp Northwoods, and experienced equestrians can go on longer rides in the Chequamegon National Forest.
Some of Camp Northwoods summer attractions include:
- Horseback Riding
- Key Log Rolling
- Low Ropes Course
- Outdoor skills
- Tent Camping
- Wilderness trips
No matter where you stay on camp, you’ll find a cozy place to rest your head and call home for your visit. Camp Northwoods has a variety of housing. The type of housing for girls or groups will vary and depend on the session they attend.
- Platform tents have four beds and are heavy canvas with wooden floors. Outdoor toilets are a short walk away.
- Four-season cabins have bunk beds, sleep eight girls, and have electricity and flush toilets.
- Yurts (a cross between a cabin and a tent) have bunk beds for twelve girls, a domed skylight, and screened windows and doors.
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Address & Directions
Camp Northwoods is a one hour drive east of Duluth—close to the Superior Hiking Trail, and Lake Superior. We also offer a bus to Camp Northwoods for summer campers!
63275 Camp One Road
Mason, WI 54856
Directions From Minneapolis & Saint Paul
- Take I-35 to Duluth.
- Take Highway 2 East to Wisconsin.
- Follow Highway 2 East for approximately one hour to Iron River.
- Turn right (south) on County Road H.
- Follow H for about 11.8 miles until you see the Delta Diner.
- Turn onto Camp One Road (approximately 100 feet from the diner on your left).
- There is a small Northwoods sign at the entrance.
- Drive up the gravel road about 1.2 miles to a “T.”
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History of Camp Northwoods
The first people to live on the Camp Northwoods site were American Indian and it then later served as a logging camp. Remnants of the logging camp as well as Ojibwe axe blades, tools, and pottery were found when the Tall Timbers unit was being constructed.
Did you know? The “Chequamegon” in Chequamegon National Forest is a French adaption of the Ojibwe word for “peninsula.”
The camp served as a corporate hunting and fishing retreat. This retreat included many small cottages and buildings, but only Voyageur Lodge and the Abbey – the two oldest buildings at Camp Northwoods – remain today.
By the mid-1950’s, Girl Scouts looked to expand their camp and outdoor offerings beyond Camp Lakamaga and started exploring locations further from the Twin Cities. Girl Scouts pitched their first tents at Northwoods, in the area where the Wastahi building now stands.
Camp Northwoods was officially dedicated with just three units now known by the names Chippewayan, Solheim (sunny meadow), and Coin du Bois (corner of the woods).
The first building the Girl Scouts constructed at camp was Wastahi, which is a combination of the words “water,” “stars,” and “hills.” Wastahi served as the camp’s original infirmary and is still in use today.
A group of 13 Girl Scout Seniors ran a day camp on the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa reservation, making a favorable impression on John Anderson (Bonajance), a tribal elder, who recognized them as Honorary Thunderbirds of the Chippewa. When the council expanded the camp to allow for Counselor-in-Training programs, they named the new section of camp Thunderbird after those 13 Seniors.
Camp Northwoods was intended as a rustic retreat for older Girl Scouts and a launching point for wilderness trips, especially for canoeing. Some girls who liked trips, but not canoeing, hiked up to Bayfield to have a campfire on Lake Superior, starting Northwoods’ tradition of backpacking trips.
Camp Northwoods’ horseback riding program began.
The first extended horseback riding trip left camp. Advanced riding groups often staged horse shows, first at a ring near the Voyageur area, and later on a local ranch.
Girl Scouts held a fundraising campaign that allowed the construction of three new troop houses, a shower house, and a new equestrian center.
The story of Camp Northwoods continues—be a part of its living history!