Progress Edition 2022: Crosby accommodations attract cyclists, lake and outdoor enthusiasts – Brainerd Dispatch


CROSBY – The immigrant workers who mined the valuable minerals of the Cuyuna Iron Range may be gone, but the area still attracts people from far and wide for its natural resources.

True North Basecamp and Cuyuna Cove are two such outdoor retreats in the Crosby area that offer cabins and tents for cyclists and lake and outdoor enthusiasts who recreate in the area.

“Our resort is more for people than mountain biking and paddleboarding,” said Dan Jurek, owner of True North Basecamp. “We’re seeing a big resurgence in paddleboarding this summer.”

True North Basecamp is directly connected to the Cuyuna Lakes world class mountain bike trails. The trails are 30 miles of “red gold” winding through Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and the towns of Crosby, Ironton, Cuyuna and Riverton.

Nora Husom, left, her older sister Ella, center, and their mother Lisa, right, of Chippewa Falls, Wis., take a meal break Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, at one of True’s picnic tables North Basecamp in Crosby.

Frank Lee/Brainerd Dispatch

“It’s a very clean campground – nice bathroom and shower, quick access to the lake which was great, and quick access to the bike trails which is why they’re here,” Lisa said. Husom about True North Basecamp.

“I’m really excited,” said Ella Husom, her 13-year-old daughter. “I love to ride my bike and these trails are great fun to ride. And they turn the new tires orange, which is actually one of my favorite parts.

Lisa Husom, a 40-year-old wife and mother of two from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, runs a nonprofit and recently rented a campsite at True North Basecamp for the first time for a four-day stay while her husband went on a group bike ride in the area.

“I think it’s a good campground,” Husom said. “I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was actually a lot better than we initially thought. … I think we would stay here again.”

Jurek co-founded True North Basecamp with his friend Jeff Bajek. Jurek bought Bajek in 2021 to become the sole owner. The couple were camping, biking and adventuring in Cuyuna with their sons in 2013 when they came up with the idea for True North Basecamp.

“Their first night was wet, rainy and terribly cold. It took some wind out of their sails,” according to the story on the True North Basecamp website.

They kept this hardship in mind when developing True North Basecamp.

Every campsite, cabin tent, and cabin on the 40 acres that make up True North Basecamp near Serpent Lake is equipped with a fire pit, cooking grill, and picnic table.

“There was no accommodation in the neighborhood. And so with the growth of the trails, we decided to open True North Basecamp to accommodate people who mountain bike,” Jurek said.

True North Basecamp is located near Main Street in Crosby and its food and equipment options. Mountain bikes, paddleboards and snowshoes can be rented on site.

“We have direct access to the trails and direct access to the lake,” Jurek said. “And we offer the amenities that campers and vacationers love on adventure vacations.”

Dan Jurek, the owner of True North Basecamp, speaks of the Crosby complex, Tuesday, August 9, 2022, next to the resort's cabins, which resemble miners' huts that dotted the Cuyuna Range during mining days.
Dan Jurek, the owner of True North Basecamp, speaks from Crosby Station, Tuesday, August 9, 2022. The cabins resemble miners’ huts that dotted the Cuyuna Range during mining days.

Steve Kohls/Brainerd Dispatch

These amenities include heating and air conditioning, access to high-speed Wi-Fi and several USB charging points, for example in the cabins. True North Basecamp features six lakefront cabins inspired by early 1900’s Taconite mining industry buildings.

“Our main goal is to give people easy access to all that Cuyuna has to offer – which means nice, clean and modern facilities to relax in after a long day on the trail or paddling in the lake”, Jurek said.

Husom added, “We’re not that far from town, so it’s close enough to town if we had to run into town to pick up something that would be convenient. Otherwise, it’s very quiet and secluded here.”

The cost to rent a cabin is $89 per night, Sunday through Thursday, and $135 per night, Friday and Saturday; each cabin has a double bed and three twin beds. The rental cost for a 10ft x 12ft cabin tent is $54 per night, Sunday through Thursday, and $69 per night, Friday and Saturday.

“There is wildlife, but I wouldn’t say that’s the main draw – we’re not a hunting and fishing destination by any means. We’re more into paddleboarding and mountain biking,” Jurek said.

Nora Husom, an 11-year-old girl, said: “It’s good. I love the lake and the trails are really fun. I haven’t fallen yet, which is really good.

A lake next to the True North Basecamp in Crosby reflects sunlight from the body of water.
A mining lake at the edge of True North Basecamp allows guests to enjoy boating, swimming, and other water sports.

Steve Kohls/Brainerd Dispatch

The cost to rent any of the 23 campsites at True North Basecamp is $29 per night, Sunday through Thursday, and $39 per night, Friday and Saturday.

“Winter is a big draw for fat-biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing,” Jurek said.

True North Basecamp opened on December 26, 2015, near Pennington Mine Lake, in time for what turned out to be a busy fat-biking season on the Cuyuna Lakes mountain bike trails.

“This area of ​​former mining pits and rock deposits now boasts regenerated vegetation and crystal clear lakes that attract a wide range of recreational enthusiasts,” according to the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew website.

According to the area’s advocacy group, 25 miles of natural shoreline can be explored by boat or canoe, and anglers can cast a line for trout, northern, bass, crappie or pumpkinseed.

“We’re close to town, the town of Crosby, so all the restaurants and breweries are probably within a mile of it,” Jurek said of True North Basecamp’s location on First Street Southwest. “But we are also connected to trails and lakes.

Cuyuna Cove, which also offers accommodations, is about a mile down Minnesota Highway 6 in Crosby and near Portsmouth Mine Lake.

“Our goal in building Cuyuna Cove is that you will have a rejuvenating getaway filled with adventure, nature, and connection to yourself and your loved ones,” according to the owners’ statement on the Cuyuna Cove website.

Cuyuna Cove’s five cabins were completed on June 27, 2020, “in the midst of the pandemic,” and the canvas tents launched in May of last year, with the redwood sauna completed in October.

Ellen Lawson is a 42-year-old Minneapolis product designer, wife, and mother. It was her first time renting a place in Cuyuna Cove because her family loves mountain biking.

“We are not big campers in general. But we’re sort of intermediate campers, like we like the feel, but we don’t want to take all the time to prep all the stuff and everything,” Lawson said.

Cuyuna Cove includes 3 acres of land directly connected to the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area and mountain bike trails.

“The tent is set up and everything and there’s power,” Lawson said. “There’s a lot of amenities included, so there’s like silverware and plates and cups, and so, like, a coffee maker or a little French press and so a lot of things that we don’t care about, can to be, to pack every time we go out.”

The cost of renting a tent at Cuyuna Cove starts at $175 a night, and the cost of renting a cabin starts at $250 a night, with cabin amenities such as a bathroom, patio, a kitchenette, WiFi, a grill, and a queen bed.

“Being busy, busy people, we really want to relax on vacation while enjoying the feeling of the outdoors and everything,” said Lawson, who grew up camping.

Company: True North base camp.
Town: Croby.
Number of employees: Three.
Interesting fact: The business opened on Boxing Day 2015.

FRANK LEE can be reached at 218-855-5863 or

[email protected]

. Follow him on Twitter at



Comments are closed.