Resort History

Timber Bay was carved out of Minnesota’s North Woods by brothers Dick and Wally Niss in 1947. The first guests, mainly fisherman, arrived in 1949 sharing three meals a day on the lodge porch served by Hazel, Wally’s wife.

Surrounded by one of the oldest and largest US National Forests, the area of Timber Bay and Superior National Forest were scraped to bear hard rock by North America’s last receding glaciers. This left a raw and wild nature experience across the areas 3.9 million acres that is still largely undisturbed. Today, from the comfort of our resort, guests enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities across all four seasons.

Houseboats arrived at Timber Bay in the mid 1950’s, about the same time that the colorful outdoorsman Boyce Hardy joined our Timber Bay family. A fixture at our resort and a jack-of-all-trades, Boyce was a central part of our history until early 2000.

With decades of enjoyment on Birch Lake and surrounding areas, our guests have experienced:

  • the pure joy of our 21-mile-long lake’s 80 miles of shoreline, numerous islands, varied wild life and nature’s scenery
  • our spectacular fishing; Walleye, Northern Pike, Small Mouth Bass, Bluegill & Crappies
  • house boating, recreational boating, canoeing, kayaking & paddle boarding
  • hunting; birds, deer and bear
  • enjoying and observing nature along the Superior National Forest’s 2,000 miles of trails designated by use; hiking, cross-country skiing or on snowmobile & ATV 4Wheelers

history2John and Toots Rykken, with their three sons bought Timber Bay in 1980 ushering in a new era. With a broadened focus on outdoor family activities, we grew to more than just a fishing destination to become a family oriented resort. Throughout the decades, we continually hear about all the wonderful memories that have been built by so many families.

Many of these same families are now bringing their third generation to experience all that Timber Bay offers. Ron (the oldest son) and his wife Beth, along with daughters Cortney and Bailey bought the resort in 2000, continuing the Rykken tradition now for 36 years. Year-after-year, guests from across the US travel to Timber Bay, where we hear that our resort has become the favorite vacation spot for so many families to re-unite, unwind and relax.

For more than three decades, Timber Bay apparel has been available to our guests onsite at our resort. Timber Bay Outfitters is the newest extension of our story and along with our Timber Bay Lodge & Houseboats will be part of our ongoing adventures at Timber Bay; living the dream.

Getting outfitted for any of the areas many activities, we have come to understand what outdoor enthusiasts expect and need to maximize their enjoyment; the gear must be Timber Bay Tough. Join us on this exciting new path of our Timber Bay story.

Share your stories with us and let us know what you look for and expect in your outdoor apparel, equipment and accessories.