Hiking Checklist

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 296-mile Superior Hiking Trail [SHT] and any length in between. All eight state parks have excellent trail systems, too!

  • 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
  • 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 and a camera
  • Use common sense

Gooseberry

SHT, Castle Danger to Gooseberry Fall State Park

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: 9.1 miles one-way to Gooseberry Falls State Park

Difficulty: moderate

Trailhead: From Hwy 61 just past mm 36, go west on West Castle Danger Rd 2.3 miles, trailhead is on right side of parking lot

Maps:

SHTA

Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park

Highlights: waterfalls, waterfalls and more waterfalls!

Amenities: bathrooms, phones, water and picnic sites at the visitor center

Length: 18 miles of total trails

Difficulty: moderate to increased difficulty (length & steepness)

Trailhead: Visitor Center, 3206 Highway 61

Maps:

at the state park, and trails are marked
Summer Map

Two Harbors

Sonju Trail

Highlights: easy paved path along the waterfront from the lighthouse, through a park to the Burlington Bay beach

Amenities: restrooms, water, and picnic sites at Burlington Bay campground

Length: 1 mile, one-way

Difficulty: easy

Trailhead: 520 South Ave or Park Road & Highway 61

Surface: paved

Maps:

maps at visitor centers

Split Rock / Beaver Bay

SHT, Split Rock River Loop
SHT, Split Rock River Loop

Highlights: great day hike; trail runs above river past rock cliffs, cross on a footbridge and return on the east side of the river; river valley views and Lake Superior overlooks

Amenities: at state park 1 mile away

Length: 4.4 miles round-trip

Difficulty: moderate to more difficult [some steep grades]

Trailhead: Hwy 61 MM 45

Maps:

SHTA

Split Rock Lighthouse & State Park
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

Maps:

summer map

Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park

great variety; meander easier trails near the visitor center, or drive in to the park and spend a day [or more] exploring;

follow the SHT west from the campground for 5 overlooks, then head north and traverse around Mic Mac and Nipisquit lakes before returning

Length: 23 miles

Difficulty: some easy, more moderate to difficult

Trailhead: at Visitor Center, at Campground & on Lax Lake Road

Silver Bay / Little Marais / Finland

SHT, Bean & Bear Lakes

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

Maps:

SHTA

George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park
George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park

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

Tofte / Schroeder

SHT, Cross River Wayside
SHT, Cross River Wayside

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 SHT or return downriver

Length: 3 Miles

Difficulty: moderate

Trailhead: MM 79.1, Hwy 61

Maps:

SHTA

Lutsen

Oberg and LeVeaux Mountains

Oberg: a premier trail! a switchback climb to a loop with 9 overlooks; outstanding during fall colors; 2.25 miles

LeVeaux: 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

Look Out Mountain and Cascade River Loops

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

Grand Marais

Harbor Walk

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, picking up the paved path and walking over the bridge into the campground, continue out to Sweetheart’s Bluff and / or up the hill on the Gitchi-Gami Trail

Length: varies

Difficulty: east

Trailhead: downtown Grand Marais

Pincushion Mountian

Length: varies

Difficulty: easy to more difficult

Trailhead: 1 Pincushion Drive

Gunflint Trail

George Washington Memorial Pines

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

Blueberry Hill
Blueberry Hill

enjoy tasty berries [in season] and admire Northern Light Lake from atop Blueberry Hill; this is a short steep hike up, you can 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

Honeymoon Bluff
Honeymoon Bluff

talk about bang for your buck!

take a short climb for spectacular overlooks

Length: 0.5 mile total

Difficulty: moderate [steep]

Trailhead: Clearwater Rd

Maps:

27 miles north on Gunflint Trail, 3.25 miles east on Clearwater Road

Honeymoon Bluff map

Caribou Rock Trail

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

Length: 1.5 - 7 miles

Difficulty: difficult

Trailhead: Hungry Jack Road

Maps:

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

Northeast to Grand Portage

SHT, Woods Creek to Kimball Creek
SHT, Woods Creek to Kimball Creek

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

at the 3-mile mark, you reach the Durfee Creek campsite and begin crossing a series of 24 board bridges

Length: 7.6 miles one way to County Road 14

Difficulty: moderate

Trailhead: Lindskog Road

Maps:

SHTA

Devil's Kettle Trail
Devil's Kettle Trail

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

Length: 2.25 miles

Difficulty: moderate plus about 200 stairs

Trailhead: 4051 East Highway 61

Mt Rose, Mt Jo & The Grand Portage
Mt Rose, Mt Jo & The Grand Portage

Mt. Rose trail is steep paved 0.5-mile interpretive trail from the National Monument to the summit of Mt. Rose, overlooking the stockade and Grand Portage Bay. 1-mile round trip
Mt. Josephine is a rugged 1.5-mile trail from Grand Portage climbing 700 feet to the summit with spectacular views of Grand Portage Bay, and Wauswaugoning Bay, the Susie Islands, and Isle Royale National Park. 3-miles round trip; trailhead is 1.5 mi east of National Monument

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

Length: 1 - 17 miles

Difficulty: moderate to more difficult

Trailhead: 170 Mile Creek Rd

Falls of the Pigeon River
Falls of the Pigeon River

.5 mile accessible boardwalk to the scenic overlook of the HIgh Falls and the 3.5-mile Middle Falls loop which meanders through woods and leads to the Middle Falls

Length: 1 - 3.5 miles

Difficulty: easy

Trailhead: 9393 East Highway 61