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north shore lake superior kayak

Lake Superior kayaking

The Lake Superior Water Trail is a sea kayaking trail that, upon completion, will circumnavigate Lake Superior. The Minnesota portion runs about 150 miles from the St. Louis bay in Duluth to the Pigeon River at the US/Canada border.

The MN DNR now has GeoPDF trail maps that display your current location without needing cell service [how fabulous is that!]. Learn more about GeoPDFs and the required app here.

For inland lake kayaking, please see the Outfitters Page

access points, descriptions & maps

click on the map links for full descriptions and details of the access areas

Mile Marker 0.0

lake superior kayaks at lighthouse

Boy Scout Landing to Knife River

The Duluth-Superior Harbor is a very busy international port. Use this map to find out where to paddle. Choose the sheltered St. Louis River and bayside of Minnesota ‘Park’ Point for novices and windy days, or paddle just off the shore northeast past large lakeside homes, river mouths, parks and bays.

Mile Marker 17.9

looking over nose of red kayak at split rock lighthouse up on a stone cliff

Knife River to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

The big cliffs segment of the trail!  Begins midway up scenic 61 and paddling past/to Two Harbors, and Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse state parks. Amazing perspectives from the big lake of the lighthouse. Very limited access, so plan ahead.

Mile Marker 46.0

lakesuperiorwatertrailmap3

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to Schroeder

Departing near the lighthouse the tall cliffs begin to decrease in size while you will encounter more rock outcroppings and cobblestone beaches. On the northeast side of Tettegouche State Park at the mouth of the Crow Creek are some sea caves. Very limited access, so plan ahead.

Mile Marker 78.8

mn state park lake superior kayak trail

Schroeder to Grand Marais

Views of the Sawtooth Mountains emerge along this stretch which includes Carlton peak, Temperance River and Cascade State Parks. Much of the picturesque property is private, so plan ahead.

wintry ski in ski out townhomes at caribou highlands lodge at lutsen mountains

Mile Marker 109.1

sunrise over lake superior with pines on shore

grand marais to pigeon river (at the canadian border)

The final section of the trail is less populated with cobblestone beaches and river mouths. The Brule River leads into Judge CR Magney State Park. After entering the Grand Portage Indian Reservation the shoreline topography begins to heighten and includes the Susie Islands, views of Isle Royale and finally the expansive Wauswaugoning Bay which the Pigeon River empties into.

clearwater historic lodge on gunflint trail northern lights

Where to kayak?

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR] and US Forest Service [USFS] provide lake access in the North Shore area.

hogback lake

From Hwy 61 MM 60, drive north on the MN Hwy 1 for 22 miles, turn east / right on the Wanless Road for 11.9 miles

crescent lake

From Hwy 61 MM 83.2, drive north on the Sawbill Trail for 17 miles, turn west / right on the Wanless Road for 11.9 miles

sawbill lake

From Hwy 61 MM 83.2, drive north on the Sawbill Trail for 23 miles.

white pine lake

From Hwy 61 MM 92.5, drive north on the Caribou Trail 6.7 miles, go west / left on the Honeymoon Trail for 2.6 miles, then right onto white Pine Access Road

mink lake

From Hwy 61 MM 109.1, drive north on 5th Ave W for .7 miles, turn left onto the Gunflint Trail for 10 miles, thens east / right onto Trout Lake Road for 1.7 miles

trestle pine lake

From Hwy 61 MM 90.1, drive north on 5th Ave W for .7 miles, turn left onto the Gunflint Trail for 3 miles, west / left on Devil Track Road for 5.7 miles, north / right on Ball Club Road 4.6 miles, then east / right on Trestle Pine Road for .9 miles

lakes with campgrounds

In addition to these recommendations, you can find a boat landing and easy lake access at all of the Superior National Forest Campgrounds found on the camping page.

sparkling wintry lake superior and ice sheets stacked on north shore

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