Sonju Trail

This easy paved path showcases the historic Edna G tug, the potential of an iron ore ship being loaded [pictured at right], the Two Harbors Lighthouse and both Agate Bay and Burlington Bay. Agate Bay is where the ships and tug are and Burlington Bay is on the east side of town, and includes Lakeview Park for skipping rocks, wading, and admiring Lake Superior views. With shops, restaurants, and a brewery adjacent to the trail,  stroll the mile-long walkway then return and enjoy the amenities.

Hop on the trail in downtown Two Harbors [mile marker 26.1] by turning south on 6th Street for .75 miles Click below for details and a map.

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Gooseberry River & Falls Trails

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. See the link below for more info and maps.

Gooseberry Falls State Park is at mile marker 39.5, northeast of Two Harbors.

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Wolf Rock

Short steep and so worth it, this trail ascends 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. This trail is part of the Superior Hiking Trail, so you can continue on another 8.6 miles to Gooseberry Falls State Park, or turn around, enjoy the descent and head to your next short hike!

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

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Split Rock River Cascades

Split Rock rolls and tumbles, 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 and length, 5 mile round trip, and trail quality. While a lovely hike all summer long, a spring hike affords falls views that are obscured once trees have leafed out. Bonus – this trail is a loop, heading up the west side of the river, crossing a bridge, and returning on the east side, with access to the sandy river mouth.

At mile marker 43.8, part of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

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Little Two Harbors Trail
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

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 Traill 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!

At mile marker 46.0, part of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

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Bean & Bear Lakes Trail
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 [SHT], 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 SHT.
To get to the Penn Blvd. trailhead, at mile marker 54.0, turn north on Outer Drive, go 1.1 miles where the road becomes Penn Blvd. Continue .9 mile to parking lot on right.

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Mic Mac, Nipisquit and the Old Tettegouche Camp

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.

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Crosby Manitou State Park trails

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.

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Shovel Point

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.

Shovel Point is part of Tettegouche State Park at mile marker 58.5

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Fantasia Overlook

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Gitchi Gami State Trail

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Sugarloaf Nature Trail

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Britton Peak

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Moose Mountain

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Oberg Loop

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Cascade River Falls

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Grand Marais Harbor & Bike Trail

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Artist Point

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Pincushion Mountain

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George Washington Pines

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Blueberry Hill

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Honeymoon Bluff

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Mount Rose

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Mount Josephine

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High Falls of the Pigeon River

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.

Superior Hiking Trail [SHT]

The SHT follows the ridge that rises above Lake Superior from the south of Duluth to the Canadian border. Trailhead parking lots are situated every 5-10 miles apart making this trail ideal for day hikes. Head to their site or buy the book for complete details.

A few I suggest are ::

  • Split Rock River Loop
  • Bean and Bear Lake near Silver Bay
  • Britton Peak to Oberg [Tofte to Lutsen]
  • Pincushion Mountain to Cook County Road 58, near Grand Marais

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