At Minnesota Highway 47, turn right for the trip south along the eastern shore of the lake to the city of Isle on Mille Lacs’ southeastern shore. Leave Minnesota Highway 47 and follow Minnesota Highway 27 through Isle. Father Hennepin State Park, just west of Isle, is known for its picnic sites, sandy beach, and panoramic view of the lake. The city of Wahkon is next with access to Mille Lacs and walking trails. The city of Isle is location on Mille Lacs’ southeastern shore formed by abandoned open pit iron ore mines with 25 miles of natural shoreline. The park is open to camping, canoeing, biking, scuba diving and trout fishing. This trip continues south on Minnesota Highway 6 through Deerwood and then on to Minnesota Highway 18 which runs from Brainerd to Garrison. Turning left onto 18 heads to Mille Lacs Lake and Garrison on the northwest shore. No trip to Garrison would be complete without taking a few photos in front of the giant walleye in the Garrison Concourse 6 destinationupnorth.com Wayside Park. Mille Lacs Lake is 207 square miles of clear blue water with some of the best fishing and recreation opportunities in the state. To leave the park, turn right onto U.S. Highway 169 which joins with Minnesota Highway 18 for 5 miles. During the summer months, travelers can see sail boarders taking advantage of the wind and wide open waters to glide along the north shoe of Mille Lacs. Highway 18 splits from 169 approximately 5 miles from Garrison and takes you along the northern shore of Mille Lacs for 13 miles. Moving along, follow Minnesota Highway 27 west until it joins with U.S. Highway 169. Turn left and drive south on 169 to where Highway 27 splits off just north of Onamia to the right for a drive through farms and marshy lowland. Just to the west and north of Onamia is Kathio State Park. Those who have the energy, can climb the 100-foot tall observation tower at Kathio State Park for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. Continue on Minnesota Highway 27 until reaching Minnesota Highway 25, and turn left to continue following Highway 27 through the city of Pierz, which is the hometown of Thielen Meats and boasts a nine-hole scenic golf course, campgrounds and park. To get back to Little Falls, follow Highway 27 by turning right just south of Pierz. Once in Little Falls, a turn left onto U.S. Highway 10 south heads back to the starting point in Royalton.