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"Hiking the northern shore of..." Minnesota Things to Do Tip by WFTR

Minnesota Things to Do: 133 reviews and 150 photos

Hiking the northern shore of Lake Superior
This area has five to ten rivers that empty into Lake Superior, and each of these rivers has numerous waterfalls. The state has a park at the outlet of most of these rivers, and trails follow the rivers and connect together. A short walk up almost any trail gives even the most casual tourist a good view of some pretty falls. The enthusiastic day hiker can follow the trail farther to get a good workout and see even more falls. The avid backpacker can walk from one end of the trail to the other over a couple of days. There isn't a great deal of vertical relief, so none of it is very hard-core hiking, but all of it is beautiful.
Both the falls and the water in this area are beautiful. A neat feature of these rivers is that natural minerals in the water give it a slight brown tint, but the water is still very clear. I likened some falls to a giant stream of Coca-cola, but the water is much clearer. None of the falls are extremely high, but almost all are more than just little cascades. Part of the fun of seeing them is seeing the wide variety.
Many of the forests in this area have large stands of birch trees. I remember walking through one area where I was surrounded. Above me, there was blue sky through the thin tops of the birch trees. Below me, there was an endless carpet of yellow leaves through which the trail wound. To every side as far as I could see were the white trunks of the birch. I have a great slide of this area, but I don't have a slide scanner.
The hiking experience in this area will be plenty of waterfalls and pleasant walks through the birch forest. I was in a hurry and did only one trail for any length. I camped at Temperance River State Park and went up the trail to an overlook on some rocks. I had great views of Lake Superior and the surrounding hills. I went half a mile or so up the trail by the Cascade River, and the falls there were likewise very impressive. I suspect that Cascade River is considered the 'must see' trail in this area. It's also fun to look at where one of these rivers empties into Lake Superior. There is a clear difference between the brown water of the river and the blue water of the Lake.
I visited in October and considered October a great time to visit. The weather was cool but not cold. The leaves had fallen and left a gorgeous covering on the ground. Going in September might be better because the leaves would be in peak colors. A friend of mine visited in the summer, and she loved the extremely long days. She had business in the area but was able to take nice little hikes after work because it stayed light so long.
Take lots of film.

Directions: The nearest town that I remember is called Lutsen, but there are other little towns in the area. When I was there, it wasn't extremely developed. The best way to go is to take a state road from Duluth

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 25, 2003
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