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Fishing pier at Icelandic State Park

Fishing pier at Icelandic State Park. Photo: Park Facebook Page

Picturesque Icelandic State Park lies nestled within the thick woodlands along the shores of Lake Renwick just 6 miles west of Cavalier and 80 miles north of Grand Forks. This serene area highlights some of North Dakota’s early homesteader settlements within its Pioneer Heritage Center and rustic surroundings.

This popular area attracts visitors with opportunities for swimming, kayaking, camping, bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and picnicking.


Enjoy a few days and nights of serenity inside this beautiful area that long ago attracted early settlers and homesteaders. Picturesque Icelandic State Park features shaded picnic areas, plenty of lake activities, trails, geocache sites, and restored historic buildings. These buildings include Akra Community Hall and Hallson Church.

The Pioneer Heritage Center is worth a stop. Here you can learn more about the early homesteaders and the 22 ethnic groups that originally settled here in the late 1800s. Akra Hall, Pioneer Heritage Center Meeting Room, and The Hallson Church are also available to rent for special occasions.

For guests visiting during the winter, this North Dakota state park features groomed trails, a sledding hill, and opportunities to snowshoe, cross-country ski, ice skate, and ice fish.

Here are some of the many activities that you can do during your visit to Icelandic State Park:

Boating at Icelandic State Park

Spend a fun day on Lake Renwick during your visit to Icelandic State Park. Bring your own canoe or kayak or rent one inside the park. Canoe, kayak, and stand up paddleboard rentals are available at the concession building near the swim beach. Paddles and life vests are also included with your rental. The park also provides a boat ramp for convenient access to the lake.

Swimming at Icelandic State Park

Planning to visit Icelandic State Park during the summer? You’ll be happy to learn that this serene park also has a beach area and access to the refreshing waters of Lake Renwick for swimming and floating.

Hiking at Icelandic State Park

More than 4 miles of nature trails extend throughout the woodlands, along the lake, and through the nature preserve inside Icelandic State Park. The Gunlogson Nature Preserve features a 3 mile trail that winds through forest, along the Tongue River and past a variety of native plants, flowers, and wildlife.

Most of the park’s trails are also groomed for cross-country skiing during the winter. Trail guides are available at the Pioneer Heritage Center or at the trailhead.

Here are a few of the trails at Icelandic State Park:

  • Bluebird Trail – This easy 0.46 mile trail follows along the Tongue River and into the Gunlogson Nature Preserve section of the park. Notice the Bluebird boxes that line the walkway. These special boxes offer shelter for nesting Bluebirds and Tree Swallows.
  • Old Settlers Trail – A moderate 1.51 mile trail that winds through the woods inside the nature preserve and connects with the Bluebird and Basswood Trails. This trail is a lot of fun for cross-country skiing in the winter.
  • Basswood Trail – This moderate 0.6 mile trail extends through the woods and across a bridge over the river.

Biking at Icelandic State Park

Icelandic State Park’s multi-use trails offer guests a fun place to ride as well as a pathway to the nearby city of Cavalier. Bring your own bicycle or rent one from the Visitor Center or campground host site.

Here are a couple of popular trails for mountain biking inside Fort Ransom State Park:

  • Cavlandic Trail – This extensive 6.5 mile trail takes guests into nearby Cavalier and access to shops, restaurants, museums, a golf course, and more.
  • Hillman Trail – A 0.75 mile multi-use trail that begins near the primitive camping area and winds through the evergreens to connect with the Bluebird Trail.

Fishing at Icelandic State Park

Pack your fishing gear and pick up a North Dakota fishing license before heading over to Icelandic State Park. Then enjoy a relaxing day fishing for crappie, walleye, perch, Northern pike, or bullhead from the fishing pier or shoreline around Lake Renwick.

Birding at Icelandic State Park

With binoculars and a quiet presence you may see a Sharp-shinned Hawk, Mourning Dove, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Willow Flycatcher, House Wren, Brown Thrasher, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Cardinal, Bohemian Waxwing, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruffed Grouse, American White Pelican, Northern Waterthrush, Bald Eagle, Common Loon, Purple Finch, Eastern Bluebird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pileated Woodpecker, or a Western Wood-Pewee during your visit to Icelandic State Park.

Nature and Wildlife at Icelandic State Park

Take a walk through Gunlogson Nature Preserve during your visit to Icelandic State Park. Here you will discover a beautiful sanctuary nestled within the forest and along the Tongue River, and a chance to see squirrels, deer, elk, birds, and many other species of wildlife. A 3 mile trail winds through this preserve offering a closer look at the giant oak, elm, and ironwood trees.


Well behaved pets are allowed within Icelandic State Park but must be kept on a leash and out of park buildings (including cabins) and the swimming area. A separate dog park area is available for dogs to run and play without leashes.


Icelandic State Park’s campsites and cabins lie nestled within the woodlands near peaceful Lake Renwick. This serene campground area features 140 sites with water and electric, 10 primitive sites, 7 group campsites and 3 camping cabins. Each campsite and cabin has a picnic table and fire ring, and access to restrooms and showers.

The seasonal camping cabins are equipped with one bunk beds (for 5 guests), lights, electricity, heat and air conditioning, and a small refrigerator.

Park Location

Icelandic State Park
13571 ND-5
Cavalier, ND 58220
Phone: 701.265.4561

Park Website



Here is a good YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Icelandic State Park: