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50 Circuit Hikes: A Stride-by-Stride Guide to Northeastern Minnesota

Howard Fenton
Copyright Date: 1999
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv7vs
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  • Book Info
    50 Circuit Hikes
    Book Description:

    Filled with tempting trails and intriguing trailside lore, this comprehensive guide introduces hikers of all abilities to the unique natural beauty of northeastern Minnesota.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9512-6
    Subjects: Physics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-xxii)
  3. Pine County
    • 1 Quarry Loop Trail BANNING STATE PARK
      (pp. 1-6)

      The Quarry Loop Trail combines interesting history with fascinating geology. In addition to the site of a once-active quarry, the trail passes along a section of the Kettle River with notable geology. Banning State Park has ten miles of the Kettle River within its borders, including five sets of rapids that are favorites with kayakers and canoeists, an abandoned sandstone quarry, and the former town site of Banning.

      Kettle River got its name from the “kettles” found along its course. Kettles, or potholes, form in soft sedimentary rocks, like the sandstone that makes up a riverbed. The holes begin when...

    • 2 National Christmas Tree Trail NEMADJI STATE FOREST
      (pp. 7-9)

      The National Christmas Tree Trail got its name for the white spruce that was cut from this forest in 1977 to serve as the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. Five white spruces were planted in its place, along with a sign commemorating the event.

      Very little, if any, of the original forest exists along this trail. Heavy logging began at the turn of the century and continues to this day. Initially, the forest provided large pine logs for sawmills in Superior, Wisconsin, and Stillwater, Minnesota. Logging companies transported the logs to mills by floating them down the Nemadji, Willow,...

  4. Aitkin County
    • 3 Remote Lake Solitude Area SAVANNA STATE FOREST
      (pp. 10-14)

      The Savanna State Forest, which surrounds much of Savanna Portage State Park and a stretch of the Mississippi River, includes a variety of forest habitats; from hardwood forests covering hilly terrain to lowlaying black spruce and tamarack bogs. In between are stands of aspen, birch, balsam fir, and pine.

      While the DNR maintains the trails in the Remote Lake Solitude Area for cross-country skiing, they provide, with one exception, excellent hiking in the summer. The exception is the trail along the northwest shore of Glacier Lake; water covers long sections of this trail during warm weather. Otherwise there are about...

    • 4 Continental Divide—Savanna Portage Trails SAVANNA PORTAGE STATE PARK
      (pp. 15-18)

      Think of a savanna and you’re likely to conjure up an image of a vast grassland with clouds of dust kicked up by large herds of wandering animals. This image doesn’t fit Savanna Portage State Park. The name savanna, applied to the portage trail by voyageurs and later to the park, refers to an area of marsh grass at the east end of the portage. Blood-sucking insects rather than large herbivores inhabit this savanna.

      Canoes once served the purpose that cars and trucks do today, and the many lakes and rivers of northeastern Minnesota served as highways. The Savanna Portage...

  5. Carlton County
    • 5 Rolling Hills MOOSE LAKE STATE PARK
      (pp. 19-21)

      Moose Lake State Park was established in 1971 on land originally known as the Moose Lake State Hospital farm. It lies in an area of the state covered with glacial till and outwash deposited about 10,000 years ago. The old growth white and red pines that once covered this area have been logged. In an effort to recreate the original forest, the DNR has planted pine and spruce in some of the fields of abandoned farms. Stands of mature aspen mixed with basswood, birch, and maple cover other parts of the park.

      The mix of forest types, some still-open, grassy...

    • 6 Rogers Lake FOND DU LAC STATE FOREST
      (pp. 22-26)

      The hike around Rogers Lake is noteworthy for the oak-maple forest and the hilly terrain. The trails in the area are used primarily for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Only the trails immediately around the lake and to the east on higher terrain are passable in the summer. Water covers the trail to the west between Rogers Lake and County Road 120.

      People in the local area know the region as the “ditchbanks,” after the ditches dug in the late 1910s to drain the land and tempt settlers to set up homesteads. The days of cut, burn, and farm lasted until...

    • 7 Silver Creek—Bear Chase Trails JAY COOKE STATE PARK
      (pp. 27-31)

      Jay Cooke State Park offers 50 miles of hiking trails along both sides of the St. Louis River. Here you will find a rolling terrain where the hiking ranges from easy to challenging and the trails are well maintained and marked. There are plenty of spectacular views of the St. Louis River valley and of tributary valleys.

      A highlight of Jay Cooke State Park is the extreme age contrast of its geological features: outcrops of ancient Thompson Slate and the more recent deposits of red clay. The slate outcroppings are most prominent along the St. Louis River gorge above and...

    • 8 Organtz Trail JAY COOKE STATE PARK
      (pp. 32-34)

      Jay Cooke State Park offers 50 miles of hiking trails along sections of the St. Louis River and over the rugged terrain bordering the river. The state initially formed the park from 2,350 acres of land owned by the St. Louis River Power Company. The power company had earlier bought all the land along the river between Fond du Lac and Carlton. Jay Cooke, a wealthy financier, encouraged this effort. His heirs were instrumental in making the land donation to the state, which has purchased additional lands to bring the park to its current size of 8,818 acres.

      Before settlers...

  6. St. Louis County
    • 9 Mission Creek Trail 131st AVENUE WEST, FOND DU LAC, WEST DULUTH
      (pp. 35-40)

      The community of Fond du Lac, where the Mission Creek Trail begins, was once a small Native American settlement. In 1783, Jean Baptiste Cadotte, a French fur trader, made the first written record of an Ojibwa village at this site. Historians believe that Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, passed here in 1679 on a mission to get Native American tribes to stop fighting each other and to trade with the French rather than the British.

      According to some sources, Fond du Lac eventually became the site of the first permanent settlement of non-Native Americans in Minnesota. (Some sources state that...

    • 10 Magney—Snively WEST SKYLINE PARKWAY, DULUTH
      (pp. 41-44)

      Although the City of Duluth maintains Magney-Snively for cross-country skiing, it is a good place for hiking as well. You will hike through a northern hardwood forest of oak, maple, and basswood, and over many short ridges and shallow swales. Late May is a good time to do this hike, when Marsh Marigolds and Large-flowered Trillium are in bloom, and lush green grass carpets the forest floor. This would also be a good hike to do in the fall after the leaves have turned their brilliant oranges and reds, and the trails are perhaps a little drier.

      The Bardon’s Peak...

    • 11 Park Point Nature Trail MINNESOTA POINT, DULUTH
      (pp. 45-48)

      The Park Point Nature Trail covers two miles of Minnesota Point, a seven mile sand spit at the mouth of the St. Louis River separating the Durum-Superior Harbor from Lake Superior. Together with the three miles of Wisconsin Point, they form the longest fresh water sand bar in the world. The sandbar is formed from sand eroded from the banks of the St. Louis River and the south shore of Lake Superior by the prevailing wave action and currents of the lake. A natural opening, the Superior Entry, exists where the Nemadji and St. Louis Rivers meet and flow into...

    • 12 Summit Ledges HAWK RIDGE NATURE RESERVE, DULUTH
      (pp. 49-51)

      Hawk Ridge is the premier spot in the midwest, and one of the best in the United States, to view hawks during their fall migration. From August to December, bird enthusiasts descend upon Duluth from all over the world to witness thousands of hawks on the move.

      Hawk Ridge hosts so many birds inpart due to Lake Superior. Hawks don’t like to fly over large bodies of water because there aren’t any thermal up drafts over cold water. Hawks rely on thermals to get altitude without expending a lot of energy. As hawks meet the lake in their migration south...

    • 13 Otto Lake SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LAURENTIAN RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 52-55)

      Otto Lake is at the very headwaters of the south branch of the White-face River, a tributary of the Cloquet River, which flows into the St. Louis River and on to Lake Superior. This is a region of wetlands, spruce bogs, and woodland swamps. While most of the route around Otto Lake is on the dry ground of ridge tops and slopes, there are two wet areas that must be crossed. At the north end of the lake is a spruce bog traversed by a 900 foot boardwalk. At the south end is an alder swamp that is crossed by...

    • 14 Laurentian Divide SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LAURENTIAN RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 56-59)

      The Lookout Mountain Trails, located on the Laurentian Divide just north of Virginia, are in the heart of the Mesabi Iron Range. Streams and rivers north of the divide flow through Canada to Hudson Bay, while those to the south flow to Lake Superior, the Atlantic Ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico. Lookout Mountain is also a part of the Giants Range Batholith, a large mass of intrusive granite rock that has an igneous origin. Batholiths form the core of some mountain ranges and are associated with the mountain building process. Also in this part of northeastern Minnesota lie some...

    • 15 Big Hole & Ridge Trails MCCARTHY BEACH STATE PARK
      (pp. 60-63)

      Without question, glaciers are one of the most powerful and awe inspiring forces in the natural world. We may not realize this because they are largely things of the distant past. Today’s glaciers are much smaller than the continental ice sheets that once existed, and they tend to be in remote areas far from human habitation. What we do have is the geological evidence of past glaciers and ice sheets, and our imaginations. McCarthy Beach State Park is an excellent place to let your imagination run wild. Here, glacial moraines and kettle lakes testify to the great ice sheets that...

    • 16 Sturgeon River Trail—South Loop SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LAURENTIAN RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 64-68)

      This 8.1 mile hike utilizes a part of the 20-mile Sturgeon River Trail system that lies to the north and south of County Road 65. This hike circles a portion of the Sturgeon River, one of the larger rivers in St. Louis County. From its headwaters at Sturgeon Lake and a vast wetland area northeast of Chisholm, this river flows north to the Little Fork River, a tributary of Rainy River. Ultimately the waters of the Sturgeon River flow into Hudson Bay.

      The route crosses a variety of terrain from river banks to steep ridges. It wanders through stands of...

    • 17 North Dark River SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LAURENTIAN RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 69-71)

      The North Dark River Hiking Trail follows the eastern rim of a small valley carved by the Dark River. It starts out as a foot trail and returns to the trailhead on the Old Woods Road, a former logging road. The trail passes through a jack pine plantation planted in 1939. In late spring and early summer, the hiker can find moccasin flowers, also known as Pink Lady’s Slippers, along the trail. At several points along the rim, hikers can look out over the small valley and see the twists and turns of the Dark River as it makes its...

    • 18 East Bay—Norberg Lake BEAR HEAD LAKE STATE PARK
      (pp. 72-74)

      White pines once dominated the region around Bear Head Lake, as well as much of northeastern Minnesota. They were heavily logged around the turn of the century and only a few of the original trees remain. Within their range, white pines may exist in almost pure stands or as scattered individuals in communities of other trees; the latter is more likely today, due to heavy logging. These scattered white pines add diversity to stands of aspen, birch, spruce, and fir trees that would not exist otherwise. Tall white pines reach above the canopy to add a vertical aspect to the...

    • 19 Becky & Blueberry Lakes BEAR HEAD LAKE STATE PARK
      (pp. 75-77)

      The forest in Bear Head Lake State Park is second growth with some old-growth pines scattered here and there. In 1899, the Tower Logging Railroad purchased an old sawmill and moved it from Wisconsin to Bear Head Lake. Tower Logging Railroad, incorporated in 1895, was the earliest small logging railroads to operate east of Virginia in the iron mining region. Initially the company did contract logging for other companies and moved the logs on its railroad line. With the purchase of the sawmill, Tower Logging got into the logging business for itself.

      Tower Logging cut an average of about 30...

    • 2O Bass Lake Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST KAWISHIWI RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 78-81)

      On May 18, 1925, theHibbing Daily Tribunecarried a story with the following lead-in: “The famous 10,000 lakes of Minnesota today number but 9,999 if reports that Bass Lake, a body of water located about 3 miles northeast of Ely and covering about 550 acres, has almost completely disappeared are considered to be reliable.” While the report proved unreliable, during the previous month Bass Lake had lost about 250 acres in size, and, where there used to be one lake, there were three.

      Bass Lake and neighboring Low Lake occupy a long narrow basin formed from a fault in...

    • 21 Ole Lake—North Star Run SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST KAWISHIWI RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 82-85)

      Hikers entering this enchanted land of pine forests and blue-watered lakes nestled among granite ridges, must tread a path guarded by giant twin sentinels, that leads over the Troll’s Bridge and through the realm of The Griz. Your reward is Ole Lake. Lest you should worry about how to get back home, fear not for the North Star Run shall be your way in the end.

      While all of this may sound like fantasy, there is more truth than fiction. Near the start of the hike, the path passes between two 300-year-old white pines. They stand close on either side...

    • 22 Angleworm Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST KAWISHIWI RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 86-90)

      At various overlooks along the trail around Angleworm Lake, the hiker can imagine how the lake might have gotten its name. Looking along the narrow, gentle twisting length of the lake from a high ridge, it is easy to picture a giant angling worm crawling across the Precambrian bedrock of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

      Angleworm Lake is one of a number of long, narrow lakes that are connected along major stream systems draining large watersheds. Such lakes, located in granite bedrock, get their shape from the joints in the rock. The topography around Angleworm Lake consists of...

    • 23 Astrid Lake Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LACROIX RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 91-96)

      Standing on a bit of sandy beach on Astrid Lake, gazing across the calm water reflecting the forest that hugs the shoreline like a child clutching the hem of her mother’s skirt, a Bald Eagle flies over the water from a hidden perch to the right. Its white head and tail flash brilliant in the sunlight. Quickly, with a few beats of its powerful wings, the eagle turns downshore and into an unseen cove. Suddenly the cries of several loons rise in alarm filling the once still air. The Astrid Lake Trail is a lightly used trail that holds moments...

    • 24 Echo River & Herriman Lake SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LACROIX RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 97-101)

      The trek along the Echo River and around Herriman Lake has much to offer: panoramic views of the snaking Echo River; oak and pine dominated ridges; easy access to two lakes; and beaver ponds nestled in narrow valleys.

      Despite their relatively small size, beaver have a tremendous impact on their environment. Ecologists refer to them as a keynote species for this reason. In their article, “Browse selection by beaver: effects on riparian forest composition,” Carol A. Johnston and Robert J. Naiman write that beaver affect the structure and the dynamics of an ecosystem beyond their immediate needs for survival. While...

    • 25 Dovre Lake Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST LACROIX RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 102-106)

      Hikes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) have a feeling about them that is difficult to get anywhere else in northeastern Minnesota. Once I step across that boundary, it is like entering another world. Something in the air seems to awaken and heighten the senses. The strangely mysterious and powerful nature of the BWCAW transmits a charge that becomes an electric current running up and down my spine. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a trick of the mind playing off our myths about wilderness, but the feeling is addicting, drawing me back time and time again.

      Despite all...

    • 26 Ash River Falls—Loop B ASH RIVER RECREATIONAL TRAIL KABETOGAMA STATE FOREST
      (pp. 107-111)

      There are times when a hike has no panoramic views to revel in, when the forest presents no windows to the outside world. Instead it confines you to a world within walls of trees. So often we want the big experience, like a spectacular view, in order to get the corresponding rush of emotion. We do this to the point that all else is seemingly insignificant. In these cases, hiking may become a series of blind walks from one vista to the next with little attention given to what lies in between. This hike, like several others in this book,...

    • 27 Agnes, Ek, & Cruiser Lakes KABETOGAMA PENINSULA VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK
      (pp. 112-116)

      The Kabetogama Peninsula offers limited hiking opportunities, but what is lacking in quantity is more than made up in quality. This hike offers extensive panoramic views of lakes, beaver ponds, stream valleys, and a major bay on Kabetogama Lake.

      Well-constructed bridges and boardwalks keep hikers dry where the route crosses streams and low-lying wetlands. Although the almost ten miles of hiking and ten miles of paddling sounds challenging, experienced hikers and canoeists should be able to easily finish it in a day. If hiked in the summer, when the days are longest, there should even be enough time to relax...

  7. Lake County
    • 28 Gooseberry River GOOSEBERRY FALLS STATE PARK
      (pp. 117-120)

      Gooseberry River Falls is the most popular state park on the North Shore. One look at the waterfalls located above and below the highway bridge and you will understand what the big attraction is that draws large crowds of tourists. There is the 25 foot high Upper Falls above the bridge, and the two Lower Falls totaling 75 feet below the bridge. Walk about a quarter of a mile upriver from the highway though and you’ll most likely have the river all to yourself.

      On this hike you will journey from the roar of Lower and Upper falls inland to...

    • 29 Split Rock River SPLIT ROCK LIGHTHOUSE STATE PARK
      (pp. 121-124)

      The Split Rock River Trail is one of the most popular hikes on the North Shore. It offers spectacular views of the lake as well as the excitement of a river leaping and tumbling over rock ledges and slides. Pines and cedars soften the rugged walls of the narrow river gorge.

      By North Shore standards, the Split Rock River drains a relatively small area of about 40 square miles. Other rivers, such as the Manitou, Cross, Temperance, Cascade, Baptism, and Pigeon, drain areas that range from 91 to 610 square miles. Two branches of the Split Rock River join about...

    • 30 Corundum Mine Trail SPLIT ROCK LIGHTHOUSE STATE PARK
      (pp. 125-128)

      The highlight of this short hike on the shore of Lake Superior is the Corundum Mine Site, or, more correctly, the Oops-We-Thought-It-Was-Corundum Mine Site. The old mine site is on a point high above the lake. According to a state park brochure, Duluth prospector Ed Lewis claimed discovery of corundum at this location in 1901. Corundum is a mineral with a hardness next to diamonds that was used by grinding wheel manufacturers and the makers of sandpaper. In 1904, the North Shore Abrasives Company began mining this site. However, the mineral was not corundum but a softer mineral called anorthosite...

    • 31 Split Rock Creek SPLIT ROCK LIGHTHOUSE STATE PARK
      (pp. 129-132)

      Stories of commercial fishermen, loggers, miners, and unrequited love bring to life the history of Little Two Harbors, the forested hills above Lake Superior, Corundum Point, and Day Hill. The pebble beach just south of the trail center is the former site of Little Two Harbors, a commercial fishing village from the turn of the century until the 1940s. Further on is Day Hill, an excellent vantage point from which to watch the lake. In the hills overlooking Lake Superior, the trail follows a section of the railroad grade lumbermen used to haul logs out of the woods. Finally, there’s...

    • 32 Bean & Bear Lakes TETTEGOUCHE STATE PARK
      (pp. 133-136)

      While there are many dramatic views from overlooks in Northeastern Minnesota, the views on this hike have to be among the best. Standing on top of an exposed ridge, a sheer cliff plummets 300 feet to the shores of Bean and Bear lakes. These “Twin Lakes”are confined to a narrow, steep-walled valley among the Sawtooth Mountains. Adding to the drama each fall, the abundant maples, oaks, aspens, and birches growing along the ridges, paint the landscape with their vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges. In an unrestrained eruption of color, the deciduous trees end the growing season in a flourish before...

    • 33 Mic Mac & Nipisiquit Lakes TETTEGOUCHE STATE PARK
      (pp. 137-140)

      The interior portion of Tettegouche State Park is a landscape of rugged ridges surrounding four lakes. You can find evidence of this in the waterfalls on the Baptism River, one of which is the highest in Minnesota, and the anorthosite overlooks that provide excellent views of the surrounding country. Along the North Shore, Tettegouche is unique for the lakes within its boundaries, six in all. The largest, Mic Mac Lake, was site of an Alger-Smith Company logging camp.

      Before Alger-Smith began logging this area in 1895, Tettegouche contained several types of forest communities: red and white pines, northern hardwoods, aspen-birch,...

    • 34 Mic Mac Lake—Mount Baldy TETTEGOUCHE STATE PARK
      (pp. 141-145)

      The hub of Tettegouche State Park is the site of a former logging camp on Mic Mac Lake. Five trails lead to this popular destination. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has renovated the camp cabins and made them available for rent. They make a pleasant weekend get away any season of the year. Each cabin comes with a canoe to use for fishing or just paddling around on the lake. You might try going out to the middle of the lake on a clear night, lying back and drifting with the wind while the stars make their journey around...

    • 35 Matt Willis & Yellow Birch Trails GEORGE H. CROSBY-MANITOU STATE PARK
      (pp. 146-149)

      This hike travels through large sections of white birch and maple forest, and small forest swamps of yellow birch and white cedars. While the trail through the swamps is wet in places, it’s possible to pick your way without getting too muddy. These tracts become the doorway to the lower reaches of the River Trail where large conifers shade the often turbulent Manitou River. One of the common trees you will find here is the northern white cedar, easily identified by its flattened, scalelike leaves and grayish bark that peels off in long, narrow, strips. Taxonomically the northern white cedar...

    • 36 Manitou River GEORGE H. CROSBY-MANlTOU STATE PARK
      (pp. 150-153)

      The George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park is the least developed in the state park system and that’s the way its namesake wanted it. There are none of the conveniences normally found at other parks. There is no campground, no comfort stations with showers or even a flush toilet. Primitive campsites accessible only by backpackers help to ensure that the visitor’s experience will be a true wilderness experience.

      George H. Crosby, a mining magnate, donated the land for this park under the stipulation that it be managed so as to retain its wild nature. And wild it is. Hikers will find...

    • 37 McDougal Lake Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 154-156)

      You might think that because this hike is so short it will have little to offer. This doesn’t have to be the case. Being shorter, it invites you to linger and take a closer look at the plants and animals living along the trail. Life in the wild often proceeds at a much slower pace than what we are used to. Slowing down just a bit pushes open the door that has been standing just slightly ajar, giving us a broader look at the activities going on around us that we usually miss in our fast-paced lives.

      The McDougal Lake...

    • 38 Flat Horn Lake Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 157-160)

      Flat Horn Lake is one of several lakes along the course of the Little Isabella River. The Flat Horn is a small lake, offering a short 2 mile hike over fairly level terrain. White birches, aspens, and balsam firs predominate in the surrounding forest, with scattered jack and white pines. There are many jack pines in the picnic and swimming area, and a stand of tall red and white pines at the east end of the lake. You’ll see spruce in the soggy wetlands. White cedars help delineate other moist spots around the lake.

      Along with the many different trees...

    • 39 Eighteen Lake SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 161-164)

      The Eighteen Lake Hiking Trail is an easy lake-side hike with several benches along the way for resting and viewing. Large pines tower over a variety of forest types, from mature mixed-conifer to dense stands of young softwoods. A diversity of wildlife takes advantage of these forest types. Woodpeckers excavate large holes in the trunks of dead tree snags and stumps looking for insects, and beaver gnaw on the softwood trees in the quest for construction materials and food. Belted Kingfishers flash along the shore making the lake echo with their distinctive rattlelike call. Openings in the canopy above the...

    • 4O Divide Lake SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 165-167)

      The short distance and mostly gentle terrain make the hike around Divide Lake an easy one. There are several short ascents of ridges in order to skirt bogs at a few places around the lake. The bogs support large numbers of Blue Flag Irises, while fewer Pink Lady’s Slippers grow along the trail. The woods along the lake’s edge are thick with white birch and balsam firs which often grow in rich soils along streams, rivers, and lakes.

      At the end of the hike, as you walk back to the trailhead along Forest Road 172, you will be walking along...

    • 41 Hogback Lake SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 168-170)

      Hogback Lake takes its name from the sharp ridges that run generally east-west in the area. The major one you will meet on this hike runs between Hogback and Canal Lake, extending to between Mound Lake and Scarp Lake. The ridges provide good vantage points from which to view sparkling lakes snug in a thick setting of thick green forest. But the ridges are an interesting geological feature in their own right.

      The earth’s crust consists of many layers of rock laid down in horizontal beds. Easily eroded strata alternate with resistant ones like the tiers of a layer cake....

    • 42 Ninemile Hiking Trail SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 171-174)

      This is a pleasant hike with the route confined mostly to high ground. Where the trail dips to the lowlands, it crosses streams and wetlands on bridges. The forest consists mainly of maples on the ridges, and white birch and balsam fir at the lower, wetter elevations. From the start, the route gradually ascends onto a ridge where an overlook provides views of a valley that makes up part of the headwaters of the Caribou River. The name of this river will always be a testimony to the woodland caribou which once roamed this region until overhunting and destruction of...

    • 43 Ennis, Blackstone, & Secret Lakes SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST KAWISHIWI RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 175-179)

      Late September and early October is an excellent time of the year to hike the Blackstone Lake and Ennis Lake trails. The pleasantly cool sunny days go well with the warm glow from autumn’s changing leaves. Aspens and maples provide much of the brilliance, while graceful red and white pines, and gnarly jack pines, contribute their evergreen to the palette of rapidly changing colors. The white blooms of pearly everlasting, and the blue of asters show that some small flowers don’t easily give up their hold on summer. There is still plenty of wildlife to see; birds such as energetic...

  8. Cook County
    • 44 Cross River Wayside TEMPERANCE RIVER STATE PARK
      (pp. 180-183)

      Cross River got its name from a cross erected at the mouth of the river by Father Frederick Baraga, a missionary priest, to mark his safe passage across Lake Superior after being caught in a storm during the crossing. Father Baraga, called “the snowshoe priest” by the Ojibwa, immigrated to the U.S. from Yugoslavia in 1830 to work as a missionary among the Native Americans. He was responsible for translating the Bible into Ojibwa, and writing the first Ojibwa grammar book and dictionary.

      Father Baraga shuddered at the thought of the long paddle along the lake shoreline when he and...

    • 45 Leveaux Peak SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 184-187)

      It never fails that every time I see the footprints of a black bear on the trail, the hair stands up on the back of my neck and a chill races along my spine. Goose bumps prickle my skin and I look cautiously over my shoulder every so often until I have left the tracks far behind. Logic and facts about black bears tell me that I have very little to worry about, but it’s hard to shake off the fear held over somewhere deep within my psyche from boyhood stories heard at midnight around campflres. Despite this uneasiness I...

    • 46 Oberg Mountain SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST TOFTE RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 188-191)

      Oberg Mountain and its neighbors on either side, Leveaux Peak to the southwest and Moose Mountain to the northeast, are part of a series of mountain peaks and ridges known as the Sawtooth Mountains. Their origin dates back as much as 1.1 million years when the earth’s crust from Lake Superior to as far south as Kansas began to rift or pull apart. Great flows of basaltic lava flowed out of the rift. Layer on top of layer of lava flowed across the land. Eventually the rifting stopped and the subsiding of underground lava caused the Lake Superior Basin to...

    • 47 Lookout Mountain CASCADE RIVER STATE PARK
      (pp. 192-195)

      Lookout Mountain lies just outside the Cascade River State Park boundary along the Superior Hiking Trail. While the circuit hike to Lookout Mountain is a relatively short three miles, a portion of it involves a steep climb to the summit that gives it a moderate to strenuous degree of difficulty. However, once at the summit, there is a great overlook of the forested interior of the rugged North Shore. Here you can catch your breath and enjoy lunch or a snack. You can also rest easy knowing that the rest of your journey is all downhill from there.

      As it...

    • 48 Cascade River CASCADE RIVER STATE PARK
      (pp. 196-200)

      The route of this hike takes you up the west side of Cascade River, staying mostly on the rim of the river gorge, and returns down the east side spending more time along the riverbank. For practically the entire way the river is either within sight or hearing range. Near the start, the trail crosses the Cascade River below one of its many cascades. According to Thomas Waters, inThe Streams and Rivers of Minnesota,this river drains an area of 120 square miles. There are many lakes in its headwaters, which ensure a steady flow of water through out...

    • 49 Pincushion Mountain GRAND MARAIS OVERLOOK
      (pp. 201-204)

      The first time I heard the name Pincushion Mountain I thought of the small red, tomatolike cushion my Mom kept her pins in when she wasn’t using them. As it turns out, this image isn’t far from what the namers of this peak had in mind. A 1930s forest fire left only stark, burnt trees protruding at different angles from the otherwise denuded knob, making it look like a pincushion. Today the forest has grown back and only the name persists offering but a hint of Grand Marais’ history.

      The area to the west of Pincushion Mountain is interlaced with...

    • 50 Mucker Lake—Border Route SUPERIOR NATIONAL FOREST GUNFLINT RANGER DISTRICT
      (pp. 205-208)

      A map of the bedrock geology of Minnesota reveals a narrow band of rock type along the border between Minnesota and Canada north of the Gunflint Trail that stands out from the rest of the bedrock in northeastern Minnesota. Looking at a map of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness you discover that in this area are many long and narrow, east-west tending lakes. The lakes lie in a bedrock composed of relatively soft sedimentary rocks between ridges of harder, erosion-resistant diabase dikes. Differential erosion by streams, and later glaciers, resulted in the long, deep lakes and steep separating ridges....

  9. Resources
    (pp. 209-210)
  10. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 211-213)
  11. INDEX
    (pp. 214-218)