hiking trails north shore

north shore hiking trails on lake superior and inland

The North Shore has magnificent hiking! You can amble up a river, admire cascades, cross the river and return to your car in a half-mile (Cascade River), hike the 326-mile Superior Hiking Trail [S.H.T.] and any length in between. This is an ideal way to observe both the vastness of Lake Superior and the detail of wildflowers, geologic formations, birds, and wildlife.  The North Shore has many options for day hikes and the eight north shore state parks have excellent trail systems, including many shorter loops.  Check out the Fall Colors page for suggested routes from Labor Day through late October.

looking for guided day hike?

points unknown offers guided hikes including Canicross hiking (combo cross country hiking + dogs) with one of their sled dogs; located northeast of Grand Marais.

hiking tips

Obtain a map & familiarize yourself with the trail

Allow an hour for each two to three miles of trail

Let someone know your route and expected return time

Carry water, high-energy snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent, a flashlight and rain gear (toilet paper is good, too!)

Wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots

Always pack out what you bring in – dispose of trash responsibly

Trails cross private, county, state, and federal lands – please respect this

Consider bringing binoculars

mile 5.0

Start your waterfall tour with a look-see over the Superior Street bridge at the Lester River Falls or park in the lot on the east side of the river, half a block north, and walk the creek-side trail. The northeast trail is a woodland walk with a series of small falls. See the Amity Falls for another option in this park. Best seen during spring run-off. Walks range from 0.2 to 3+ miles.

Amenities: restrooms, water, picnic tables, grills and playground at trailhead
Length: from 0.2- to 3+ miles
Difficulty: easy

mile 5.0

Amity Creek runs through Lester Park and you have two options to reach the narrow, picturesque Amity Falls. For a longer hike begin at the Lester Park parking area and hike a 1.5-miles to the northwest where you will come upon the base of the falls, my favorite view. Hike the short steep hill to cross the foot bridge and see the upper river view. To make this a short easy hike, drive north on Occidental Boulevard to the parking area and follow the path to the footbridge. It’s worth it to walk down the hill – and back up – to see the falls from below.

Amenities: restrooms, water, picnic tables, grills and playground at trailhead
Length: from 0.5- to 3+ miles
Difficulty: easy

mile 26.2

Easy paved path along the waterfront from the lighthouse, through a park to the Burlington Bay beach.

Length: 1 mile one-way, add 0.6 mile to walk out to lighthouse and back

Difficulty: easy

mile 36.8

Short, steep and so worth it, this trail 2ascends out of the parking lot. After a series of switchbacks, the trail parallels the ridge and rewards you with a Lake Superior view. Continue on to Wolf Rock for amazing wide-open vistas of the lake. Continue on to Gooseberry Falls State Park, or turn around, enjoy the descent and head to your next short hike!

Highlights: Wolf Rock, .5 mi from trailhead; great overlook of Lake Superior after a mildly steep climb; Crow Creek Valley, 1.3 mi from trailhead; Gooseberry River and Lake Superior, especially pretty during fall colors
Amenities: bathrooms / visitor center at the park
Length: 9.4 miles one-way to Gooseberry Falls State Park
Difficulty: moderate [climb 472′ (217′ to Wolf Rock), descend 689′]

mile 39.0

It’s a 4-for-1 waterfall stop at Gooseberry Falls State Park! Paved, accessible trails lead 1/10 mile from the visitor center to the most photographed of the falls, the expansive Middle Falls. The paved trails continue north under Highway 61 to a lovely view of the scenic Upper Falls. This wonderful little loop is a half mile total from the visitor center and back. The Riverview Trail heads south from the Middle Falls past the Lower Falls to the mouth of the Gooseberry River and Lake Superior. See the Fifth Falls entry for details on that hike. While quite spectacular during spring runoff, this quick-stop leg-stretcher is a must do on your North Shore visit.

mile 39.0

While the fifth falls is the smallest waterfall at Gooseberry Falls State Park, it is a nice walk through the woods through the woods. The Fifth Falls Trail runs north along the east side of the meandering river slowly climbing to the base of the falls. The path leads up across the river to a nice scenic overlook before returning south, and downhill, along the west side of the river in a 2+ mile loop. In the winter, a there-and-back cross-country ski trail leads to the same falls and scenic overlook.

mile 39.5

The beauty of of the park is steps from the Visitor Center, and sometimes on the way to the center, like these deer just off the path from the parking lot. A brief, paved, accessible path leads to the oft-photographed Middle Falls. Head south to view the Lower Falls or take a short accessible hike to the north, under Highway 61 that leads to the Upper Falls. This makes Gooseberry an ideal stop for everyone! Take advantage of the displays, restrooms and gift shop inside, then head to the river. The park has an abundance of inland trails, too.

Highlights: waterfalls, waterfalls and more waterfalls!
Amenities: bathrooms, phones, water and picnic sites at the visitor center
Length: 18 miles of total trails
Difficulty: easy & accessible to most difficult due to length
Trailhead: Visitor Center, 3206 Highway 61
Surface: accessible trails are paved, remainder are dirt
Maps: at the state park, and trails are marked

 

mile 39.5

While it doesn’t meet the definition of a hike, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail is ideal for walking with strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, or those looking for a paved surface. The bonus in the summer is the cool breezes right off the lake; the downside is it can be downright cold if the wind is off the lake. When completed, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail will be an 89-mile non-motorized, paved recreational trail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, Minnesota, along Lake Superior’s beautiful and historic North Shore. Several segments of the trail, totaling over 29 miles, are complete. The longest completed section is the 14.1-mile segment between Gooseberry Falls State Park northeast to the town of Beaver Bay.

A few especially pretty parts of the trail are the 1/2-mile at Silver Creek Tunnel offering wide open lake views; the bridge over the Split Rock River mouth and the section of trail which leads northeast into the park.

mile 43.5

Split Rock rolls and bounces, cascading and tumbling to its mouth on Lake Superior. This hike, part of the Superior Hiking Trail, can be moderate to difficult due to elevation, length, and trail quality. While a lovely hike all summer long, a spring hike affords falls views that are obscured once trees have leafed out.

At mile marker 43.5, part of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Highlights: now two hikes, one up each side of the river, with the option of crossing during low water [most of the summer – but can flow after rains] to make it a loop
west side trail runs above the river past rock cliffs, and on the east side you get river valley views and Lake Superior overlooks
Amenities: at state park 1 mile away
Note: Split Rock River Hiking Bridge has been permanently removed, making this a possible loop when water levels are low [you will need to cross the river]. As two hikes, one up each side of the river, the west side trail runs high above the river past rock cliffs, while the east side trail gives you river valley views and Lake Superior overlooks.
Length: 5 miles round-trip
Difficulty: moderate to more difficult [some steep grades]
Trailhead: Hwy 61 MM 45
Surface: dirt

mile 46.0

split rock lighthouse & state park
Highlights: explore cobblestones beaches and adjacent forests; lots of short trails; several vantage points for viewing lighthouse
Amenities: outhouses, some paved trails, picnic areas, visitor center
Length: 12 miles total with 3 along the lakeshore
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Trailhead: in state park, at lighthouse or at Hwy 61 MM 45
Surface: paved around lighthouse; remainder are dirt

mile 46.0

Ever wonder where the vantage point is for this photo? It’s on a cobblestone beach off the Little Two Harbors Trail at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Great for ambling about, this trail departs from the main parking area near the Lighthouse, includes a spur down to the old Pump House and Tram system, wanders through a birch woods, includes the nice stone beach of Little Two Harbors [the bay] and connects to the Day Hill Trail which climbs Day Hill. You can return back on the same trail anytime, or pick up the north loop, or park within the state park at the trail head and explore away!

mile 53.7

lake superior with palisade head in the distance and the descending hill of the scenic overlook in the foreground

Silver Bay Scenic Overlook

Take in 270° views from three overlooks just off Highway 61. Follow the blue signs north into Silver Bay, then left up the hill. The first parking area has a short path to an aerial view of of the Cliffs Mining Plant, which gives the scope of the operation. A loop from the main parking area brings you to an overlook with panoramic shore and lake views well past Palisade Head to the northeast. A few steps later you are treated to a bird’s-eye perspective of Silver Bay from the big Lake to the ridge lines. The dirt path brings you back to the main parking area.

mile 54.5

Big hills, big views and many options to hike including as a loop, a there-and-back or a point-to-point trail. No matter what, you will climb up to the ridge line and then follow it on the southwest sides of the lakes. Get this outstanding view down Bear Lake to bean, just before the trail splits for a small or large loop. If you do choose to continue on the Superior Hiking Trail, you will have wonderful views of Round Mountain, Mount Trudee and Raven Rock plus cross the footbridge over the High Falls of the Baptism River, making this one of the most picturesque sections of the Superior Hiking Trail.

Highlights: gorgeous maple forests during fall colors; lots of climbing also known as the Twin Lakes Trail
Length: 6.8 miles
Difficulty: more difficult
Trailhead: Penn Boulevard, 2.2 miles north of Highway 61
Surface: dirt

mile 58.5

Highlights: great variety; meander easier trails near the visitor center, or drive in to the park and spend a day [or more] exploring; follow the S.H.T. west from the campground for 5 overlooks, then head north and traverse around Mic Mac and Nipisquit lakes before returning **note the trail from the visitor center area to the falls has a lot of steps, so not the best for those with knee issues; instead, consider parking at the S.H.T. trailhead on Hwy 1 and hiking in [still some steps]
Amenities: picnic areas, visitor center
Length: 23 miles
Difficulty: some easy, more moderate to most difficult due to steps and rise in elevation
Trailhead: at Visitor Center, at Campground & on Lax Lake Road
Surface: paved near visitor center, remainder are dirt

mile 58.5

Looking for unobstructed Lake Superior views, up close and personal? Hike out to Shovel Point. It’s quick, about a half-mile total, with multiple overlooks and some steps (may need to keep kids in hand here). Gaze straight out and take in the enormity of the world’s largest freshwater lake. Turn north to see Crystal Bay and south to take in the 200-foot high cliffs of Palisade Head. Return downhill, and invigorated, enough so you may want to pass the visitor center and scamper down to the river mouth, more quick trails.

mile 58.7

Baptism River High Falls is the highest falls entirely within Minnesota at about 70 feet and the trail provides viewing from the base, the crest and a swing bridge across the top of the falls. The 1.5 semi-strenuous uphill climb from the visitor center rewards you with a waterfall every half mile. First, get a glimpse of the Cascade Falls [smallest in the Park], then access to a short spur trail to the attractive Two Step Falls, and culminating in the king daddy High Falls. It’s all downhill on the way back. Another option is from the Superior Hiking Trail spur a mile up Highway 1. This is much flatter and about a mile round trip to the High Falls. Very limited parking however. The Cascade Falls has a 2-mile there-and-back trail from the Visitor Center which includes river views and is easier on the knees.

mile 58.9

Crystal Bay is a little crescent of loveliness on calm days. The short, steep path contains loose rock and can be a slippery when dewy or after rains. You will see some old concrete blocks that were part of the original structures built in 1902 when (now global) 3M began their operations. The beach is small cobbled stone with one of Lake Superior’s largest sea caves to the north and cliffs to the south. You need a boat to get to the cave but can easily see it from the beach. On wild and windy days – especially during the gales of November – the nor’easters drive waves into the southern wall, making for mammoth crashing waves. This is safest viewed along Highway 61.

Park off the shoulder of the highway near mile marker 60 on the northeast side of Crystal Creek. Take the path on the right/south.

mile 58.9

Hike through the woods, along inland lakes and over the highest falls entirely within Minnesota. Park on the Lax Lake Road [parallels Hwy 61 to the north] and follow the service road through the forest to the Old Tettegouche Camp, four cabins and lodge built in the early 1900s, sitting on the shores of Mic Mac Lake. View Tettegouche lake from a quick spur trail, and then along the edge of Nipisquit Lake before returning through the woods to the parking area, circling the lakes for great valley views, or continuing east crossing over the High Falls of the Baptism River just before the end of the hike. In the autumn, consider the ‘circling the lakes’ option as the valley is filled with colorful maples!

At mile marker 54.0, turn north on Outer Drive, go 1.1 miles where the road becomes Penn Blvd/Co Rd 11. Continue on and Cor Rd 11 also becomes Lax Lake Rd. However after 4.4 miles [5.5 miles from Hwy 61] make a right on the Lax lake Rd and drive 3.4 miles to the parking area.

mile 58.9

This hike is fantastic during fall colors, great in the spring before the leaves pop and just lovely all summer long. You hike inland a mile, climbing in elevation. About the time you want to take a breather, there’s an overlook of Lake Superior – nice, but nothing compared to the view from the spur trail you take to the north. This narrow, windy trail can be slippery when wet, especially on the bare rock portions of the trail. The first overlook is outstanding, with 270-degree views all along the shore and inland [pictured at the top of the page].

In the autumn you looking west over maple hillsides with the blue, blue, blue of Lake Superior in the distance. Continue on around the exposed knoll to the north. After a short jaunt through pretty woods, you come to a northern overlook which scans the maples hillsides in the distance while at your feet, the cliff drops away to a slough; breathtaking. Return the way you came.

At mile marker 59.5, drive north on MN Hwy 1 for 1 mile to Superior Hiking Trail parking on the west/left. The trail departs on the east/right side of the Highway.

mile 59.4

illgen falls baptism river

Illgen Falls of Baptism River

One of the shortest walks to a North Shore waterfall. This 40 foot beauty tumbles over a huge pine-topped rock ledge. During snow melt in the spring, and after rains, the falls spread wide across the entire ledge while the rest of the year it flows nonstop down the center. Limited [3-4 car] parking at pull-off on MN Hwy 1 [other parking is exclusively for cabin rental] with a 1/10 mile walk to the falls.

mile 68.2

Want to hike by yourself? This is the quiet North Shore State Park, 14 miles from Highway 61 and the bustle of the lake shore. You will find excellent, but moderate to more difficult hiking trails, an outhouse and picnic area, and campsites. For amenities, return to Tettegouche State Park. The feature of this park is the deep woods feel and the Manitou River with its’ craggy valley. Take a look at the map and choose some loops. I like taking the Yellow Birch Trail to Misquah, popping up the spur trail to the overlook, then following the river south to the first intersection and returning to Benson Lake along the Cedar Ridge Trail. After a picnic, Take the Humpback Trail to the River and return on the Middle Trail, taking advantage of the short spur to another overlook. Bring water and bug spray. Enjoy the solitude.

At mile marker 59.5, drive north on MN Hwy 1 for 7 miles, then east on Co Rd 7 to park entrance. Alternately, at mile marker 65.2, frive north on Co Rd 6 for 7miles, then east on Co Rd 7 for 7 miles.
the best backcountry hiking among the state parks; choose 3-mile or more loops along the river, through the bog or over the humpback

Length: 24 miles
Difficulty: easy to more difficult
Trailhead: parking near Benson Lake
Surface: dirt

mile 70.7

Caribou Falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls on the shore, in part because of the approach. From the wayside rest follow the spur trail [at the first bench, continue to follow the spur]. The trail climbs about 100-feet in a half mile before making a 90-degree turn to multiple flights of stairs [~150 in all]. A right hand turn after the first few flights opens to a cedar- and pine-framed view of the falls. It becomes more and more impressive as you get closer, and the gray basalt outcroppings are a striking frame to this 35-foot falls

mile 73.3

An excellent 1-mile interpretive hiking trail with a self-guided brochure. Mosey through pine plantations, and alder thicket, and along the cobblestone beach. Learn about log rafting and tree planting, appreciate a small overlook and take steps down to the beach. The last stop is the Visitor Center, an energy efficient lovely log building.

mile 78.8

hike the Cross River and northern forests; park at the wayside in Schroeder and follow the trail up the east side 1.5 miles, either continue on the main Superior Hiking Trail or return downriver

Length: 3 Miles
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: MM 79.1, Hwy 61
Surface: dirt

mile 80.6

Temperance River has carved out some stunning gorges over which flow the Upper Falls, Hidden Falls, and Lower Falls. To watch the Lower Falls tumble into Lake Superior, follow the short easy loop on the lakeside of the highway [.25 mile total]. Tucked deep into the narrow gap, the river dives into a pool just above the roadside parking. Get a peek there before ascending stone steps to the cliffside overlook [not necessarily family-friendly]. The trail continues riverside over smooth rock outcroppings and through cedar stands to the High Falls and footbridge that allows a return down the west side of the river. Before crossing, walk a bit further to admire the upper cascades. Less than 2 miles for all three waterfalls.

mile 83.4

If you’re willing to hike up a hill, you”l be rewarded with views of the maple and pine covered hills rolling down to Lake Superior, which stretches for miles to the south. The trail is about 1/4-mile to the top and you hike under maple and birch canopy before stepping out on a large basalt overlook. This hike is so short, it is worth the climb. It is the hub for a variety of options, too – hike east to LeVeaux Mountain, return and cross the Sawbill Trail and hike to the top of Carlton Peak, or explore the adjacent mountain cross-country ski trails.

From mile marker 83.4 in Tofte, drive north 2.3 miles to the parking area on the east/right.

mile 86.1

Highlights: features overlooks and the first leg is a good spot to watch for deer (and maybe even a moose) feeding at dawn or dusk; 3.5 miles
Length: 2.25 miles and up
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: Onion River Road
Surface: dirt

mile 86.1

While this is the trail to hike during autumn’s early season of maple colors, it is fantastic spring and summer, too. This trail begins with a spur, which connects to a loop that circumnavigates Oberg Mountain. Overlooks include views of adjacent LeVeaux Mountain, Lake Superior, the maple hillsides, and Oberg Lake. Enter the maple woods and hike under the canopy of birch and maple before you begin the 2-mile loop. Hike is 2.25 miles with some steep climbs. Plan on a busy trail filled with happy hikers – the views will do that.

From mile marker 86.1 on Hwy 61, drive north on the Onion River Rd (FR 336) 2 miles to parking.

mile 86.6

Stairstep falls of the onion River in early spring

Stair Step Falls of Onion River

Climb the wooden steps and hike above the river to view the cascades near the river mouth then continue another 1/2 mile to see the Stair Step Falls. Can only be seen before the trees leaf out and is best in spring when the river rushes. Easy to follow trail from parking.

mile 90.5

Waterfalls, woods wide-open vistas and a tram ride make this hike rather spectacular. For the downhill version, ride the tram over the Poplar River and up the east face of Moose Mountain. At the top, head to the chalet for 180-degree views of Lake Superior, the shoreline, and maybe on a clear, low-humidity day, the south shore of the lake. Hill top trails [about a mile total] allow more perspectives on the lake views, and a stunning overlook gives 180-degrees northern views of maple hillsides, especially stunning in the autumn. From the top of the hill, take the Superior Hiking Trail down the ridge to the top of Mystery Mountain for another overlook, then into the woods to the falls of the Poplar River. After crossing the river, when you hit the gravel road, take it to the south to the main parking area at Papa Charlie’s at Lutsen Mountains. You can, of course, start here, hike up and ride back.

From mile marker 90.1 on Hwy 61, turn north and drive 1.8 miles to the parking area. You must purchase your tram ticket at the office / tickets are not sold at the Moose Mountain summit.

mile 99.8

This is a quintessential mini-hike — it’s about a half mile, it’s a loop, there’s a footbridge over the river, highlights include cascades and waterfalls, cedar trees and tiny wildflowers. All this from a pullover off the highway means it makes for a worthy hike year-round. Wear boots in the winter and bring a trekking pole to help on the icy areas. Spend your extra time at the river mount, throwing rocks, watching the river current move into the lake and taking in the immensity of Lake Superior.

Park on either side of Highway 61 at mile marker 99.8.

mile 99.8

lots of easy loops and spurs – up both sides of the river and along the lake shore; popular Lookout Mountain hike with steep direct approach (2.25 miles total) or wind around and up and take the direct route back down (4 miles)

Length: 18 miles of trails
Difficulty: easy to more difficult
Trailhead: mm99.8 Highway 61
Surface: dirt

mile 107.3

New in 2021, the paved Gitchi Gami Bike Trail will pass directly in front of the falls of the fall river. Bike or walk a 2.6 miles west from downtown Grand Marais or 2.6 miles east from Cut Face Wayside. Features pretty rock cuts and views of the river mouth in Lake Superior. 5.2 miles round trip.

mile 109.5

Start on the East Bay and walk out to Artist Point and the lighthouse, then follow the cobblestone beach around to the west side of the harbor. Harbor Park is the green space and performance area on the harbor in downtown Grand Marais. It is a great spot to sit and skip stones and enjoy the lake and town. From the park, follow the sidewalk west through town, and at North House follow the paved path down along the harbor for the paved Lake Loop, or continue along the sidewalk/paved Gitchi Gami State Trail beyond the edge of town.

Length: varies
Difficulty: east
Trailhead: downtown Grand Marais
Surface: paved through town and stone and dirt on the point

mile 109.6

Parking is on a tombolo, a spit of land that connects the mainland to an island, in this case Artist’s Point. Enjoy the cobblestone beach on the East Bay, then walk out to island, where you can follow the trail to the easternmost point for perspectives of the town and hillside from the water. Then head west to the lighthouse – this is definitely a hand-holding portion of the walk, or may not be a wise choice for all children. Remember the average temperature of Lake Superior is 42 degrees.

Looking for an in-town hike? From the parking area, follow the west side of the harbor, through town, picking up the sidewalk at the west edge of Harbor Park. Continue just past North House where you veer south on the paved trail along the Lake Loop and walk to the far west end of the campground. Continue into the Sweetheart’s Bluff Nature Area for a moderate, but steep hike up Honeymoon Hill to Sweetheart’s Bluff.

From mile marker 109.6 on Hwy 61, turn south and drive the .25 miles to public parking.

mile 110.0

Close to town, lots of spur options and expansive views make this an ideal hiking location. My #1 recommendation is the hike to the summit of Pincushion Mountain, pictured here. Get the map below, there are loads of intersections and it is easy to get confused without a map. You will follow the Superior Hiking Trail on the Pincushion Loop, then take the spur trail to the the peak. You will come to an overlook, appreciate, but keep going, the views open up to 270-degrees just a bit further along. Return on the Pincushion Loop making this a 4.5 mile hike.

The hike follows cross-country ski trails so is a nice wide trail through birch with some low areas, moderate ascents and nice pines. Hike the 25K of cross country ski trails or the new bike trails (give right away to bikers, though!). The Superior Hiking Trail also crosses through the trail system and the overlook offers panoramic views of Lake Superior and Grand Marais. Trails have lots of junctions, so consider bringing a print map.

Length: varies
Difficulty: easy to more difficult
Trailhead: 1 Pincushion Drive
Surface: dirt

mile 110.3

This is a nice level walk through some beautiful cedar stands, near the shores of the elbow River and under gorgeous pines. I recommend this trail for anyone who wants to get out into the woods in a safe comfortable way – the trail is easy to get to, well-marked, and pretty. It is an un/sometimes groomed cross-country ski, ski-joring and snowshoe trail in the winter, too. The trail is a short spur into a loop, you choose which direction. The hike is 2.25 miles total.

Highlights: gorgeous stands of tall pine, shores of the Elbow River and large, lovely, fragrant cedar trees
Length: 2.25 miles
Difficulty: easy
Trailhead: Gunflint Trail, 8 miles from Hwy 61

mile 110.3

Enjoy tasty berries (in season July and August) and admire Northern Light Lake from atop Blueberry Hill. If you’re heading up the Gunflint Trail for the day, this makes a great leg-stretcher stop (trail is 1 mile total). This is a short steep hike that includes bedrock, which can be slippery when wet. Add a quick walk down to where the Brule River flows into Northern Light Lake.

Length: 1 mile
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: Gunflint Trail, 12 miles from Hwy 61
Surface: dirt

mile 110.3

Beautiful sunsets, big views, wooden stairs and a rocky overlook make this a great hike. At 1.5 miles round trip, it is the longest of the short hikes and very worth it. Take the spur trail in and then start to climb those stairs. Your reward, amazing views of Hungry Jack and Bearskin Lakes, and out into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. If you go for the sunsets, bring a headlamp, flashlight, phone light for the return trip. Talk about bang for your buck! take a short climb for spectacular overlooks

From mile marker 109.2 on Hwy 61, turn north on 5th Ave W. for 0.7 miles; turn left on the Gunflint Trail for 26.3 miles; east / right on the Clearwater Rd for 2.2 to parking area. The Trailhead is about a quarter mile past Flour Lake Campground Rd

Length: 1.5 mile total
Difficulty: moderate [steep]
Trailhead: Clearwater Rd
Surface: dirt

mile 110.3

Follow the well-worn trail through the woods, past a pond, ending at the 60-foot high Magnetic Rock. This bedrock outcrop has lots of magnetite, the most magnetic of all the naturally-occurring minerals on Earth. Pull out your compass and watch it react. The trail includes areas affected by the 1999 blowdown, 2002 prescribed burn, and 2007 Ham Lake wildfire, all good areas to keep an eye out for blueberries.

From Highway 61 in Grand Marais, drive north on the Gunflint Trail about 47 miles to a small parking area on the east side of the road

Length: 3.1-mile
Difficulty: easy
Trailhead: Gunflint Trail, 47 miles north of Grand Marais
Surface: dirt

mile 110.3

the first .75 miles is a steep hike to Caribou Rock, an overlook of Bearskin Lake; another mile in is the overlook of Moss Lake Split Pine Trail is a demanding 7-mile round trip that intersects with the Border Route Trail near Rose Lake and the Stairway Portage; plan on 5 hours plus lunch near the waterfalls at Stairway Portage

from Hwy 61 in Grand Marais, drive north on the Gunflint Trail about 29 miles to the Hungry Jack Road; drive east about 2 miles and follow signs

Length: 1.5 – 7 miles
Difficulty: difficult
Trailhead: Hungry Jack Road

mile 110.3

Hike the east or west side of the river, either above or below the parking area. For a big loop, hike down the east wide and return up the west side.
For a short hike, follow the trail south from the parking area under the bridge. Within a half-mile you will see stunning old growth cedar, the river and a cliff rising up across the river.

OR

Hike north out of the parking lot for a climb above the river, with peek-a-boo views of Moose Mountain – especially nice in the autumn.

Length: varies
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: parking area off Co. Rd 45/Pike Lake Rd
Surface: dirt

mile 110.3

Eagle Mountain is the highest point in the State. The trail is well used but gets rocky up the mountain, the summit is about three and a quarter miles from the trailhead. Look for the survey disk (and the view) at the top!

Highlights: stunning vistas from the top
Length: 6.3 miles
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: The Grade, 19.7 miles from Hwy 61

mile 113.7

Three options for a two-car hike (leave one car at the destination; all mileage is one-way)

Option #1: start at Woods Creek Trailhead on the Lindskog Rd (7.6 miles)
Option #2: start at trailhead on County Rd 14 (4.9 miles) * note this is the west leg of Co Rd 14, so you turn north/left about 7.8 miles east of Grand Marais
Option #3: start at Kadunce wayside on Highway 61 (3.4 miles)

The gentle Woods Creek sits within birch and spruce woods with cut-away views of Lake Superior, Five Mile Rock, Pincushion Mountain and the Sawtooth Range the hike has some small short climbs up and down to rivers and creeks, passes through deciduous forest and pine stands and has lots of bridges over burbling waterways

Length: up to 7.6 miles one way to Kelly’s Hill Rd
Difficulty: moderate
Trailhead: Lindskog Road, County Rd 14, or Highway 61
Surface: dirt

mile 123.8

The trail to the Devil’s Kettle remains riverside, starting shoreline then climbing high above the gorge before descending to the base of the Lower Falls

trail upgrade update:

Devil’s Kettle Trail will be CLOSED Mondays-Thursdays June 1 through July from about 9am-6pm. This includes the through hiking section of the Superior Hiking Trail.

Length: 2.25 miles
Difficulty: moderate plus about 200 stairs
Trailhead: 4051 East Highway 61
Surface: dirt

mile 145.4

Forest near the Grand Portage

The Grand Portage

The Grand Portage is the slowly ascending wooded trail from the stockade on Lake Superior to Fort Charlotte; 8.5 miles one-way rom Lake Superior at the monument.

Length: 1 – 17 miles
Difficulty: moderate to more difficult
Trailhead: Grand Portage National Monument
Surface: dirt

mile 145.4

view from mount rose in grand portage to national monument

Mount Rose Loop

Note – in 2014 the new Mount Rose Loop was built. This trail is 2-miles long round trip and is a more gentle ascent to the highest peak of Mount Rose [906 ft]. The trail includes some stairs and joins with the original there-and-back Mount Rose Trail, which is a series of steep switchbacks and stone steps about .6-mile round trip. For the loop, you return on the original trail and end up about .2 miles from the trailhead at the Stockade.

From mile marker 143.7 on Hwy 61, turn south on to Mile Creek Rd; drive for .75 miles to the Grand Portage Heritage Visitor Center parking lot. Trailhead is on west side.

mile 146.6

mount jo overlook grand portage

Mount Josephine

Top-of-the-world views can be found at the summit of Mt. Josephine [3 miles difficult!], you will be rewarded with turnaround views of Grand Portage Bay, and Wauswaugoning Bay, the Susie Islands, and Isle Royale National Park. You hike in about 1/2-mile, and you will see a ‘Summit 1 mile’ sign, this is when it starts to get steep; there are a few switchbacks. The super easy way to see Mt. Jo is from the pull-offs on Hwy 61 a few miles south of the monument.

From mile marker 144.0 on Hwy 61, turn south on to Townsite Rd for 0.6 miles; turn left on Upper Rd for about .7 miles, past the holding ponds, to a small pull off on the left; the trail starts by heading northeast along an old road

mile 150.8

The Pigeon River drops 950 feet ending with the 120-foot drop High Falls. This lower reach is particularly rugged until a short distance after the falls, where the river widens. An easy half-mile hiking trail in Grand Portage State Park leads to the High Falls. The trail end has two great viewing decks where you can feel the spray of the falls and take photos! Leave time for a visit to the center and store within this state park, too. Grand Portage State Park is at mile marker 144.0 near the boundary between the United States and Canada.

The hike is a 1-mile round trip accessible boardwalk to the scenic overlook of the High Falls (easy) and the 4.5-mile round trip Middle Falls loop (difficult) which meanders through woods and leads to the Middle Falls

Length: 1 – 3.5 miles
Difficulty: easy
Trailhead: 9393 East Highway 61
Surface: paved and boardwalk and steps to High Falls; Middle Trail is dirt

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