Alpine Slide

07Aug

Everybody likes a little thrill  every now and then, and the Alpine Slide is ready to oblige. Getting there is half the fun with a leisurely chairlift ride to the summit of Lutsen’s Eagle Mountain. Then hop on your sled and cruise down an exhilarating half mile of twisting, turning track back to the base. 

You control the speed from top to bottom. Take it slow, and you can soak in the sights. Let it rrrippp – and the hill’s a blur of fun as you roar down your own summer luge run. Its amusement park fun the whole family will enjoy – done up in classic North Shore ambiance. 

Children ages 2-5 are free with a paid adult and must ride with a guest 16 or older. Children 6+ are required to purchase a ticket for the alpine slide, however, if they are under 48″ they may ride with a guest 16 or older if necessary. All children over 48″ must ride in their own sled. 

2019 Alpine Slide Dates & Hours

Sat & Sun: May 18 & 19
Sat – Mon: May 25-27
Open Daily: June 1 – September 2
Sat & Sun: September 7 & 8, 14 & 15, 21 & 22
                   September 28 & 29, October 5 & 6, 12 & 13
Thurs – Sun: October 17-20

Open: 10a – 5p *

*September 28 & October 5: Open 10a – 6p

Schedule may vary due to weather. 

Fall Colors

07Aug

Millions of colorful reasons to visit this fall

Fall in Cook County is a time of tumultuous beauty. The air turns crisp and clear. Moose get an amorous gleam in their eyes. Changing leaves paint the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW with a palette of goldenrod, pumpkin orange, and firetruck red. In late fall, a different kind of show begins; the infamous gales of November. This is a chance to get cozy and watch Lake Superior unleash her wild side.

[View our Fall Color Gallery]

North Shore Bucket List– Cook County, MN

There is no shortage of activities to do in the fall. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to experience fall in Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage. How many have you done?

Embrace your inner leaf-peeper

Marvel at all of the color that nature offers. From the ruby reds to the pumpkin patch oranges the whole spectrum comes to life. Download the fall color report from the Superior National Forest for tips to see the best color.

Stargaze and look for northern lights

Set your eyes to the skies in the evenings. You will see more stars than ever before and if you are lucky, a glimpse of nature’s light show – aurora borealis.

Go on a Gunflint Trail “moosefari”

For your best chance of seeing one of these massive, elusive creatures, drive the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway early in the morning or around dusk. Even if you don’t spy a moose, you’ll see spectacular scenery.

Paddle the Boundry Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in a new season

Fall days are often sunny, mild and bug-free, with cool, clear nights perfect for hot chocolate around the campfire.

See fall colors from above

Learn about nature and get dramatic views enhanced by adrenaline on the Towering Pines Canopy Tour at Gunflint Lodge. Or, for a more relaxed experience, ride the Summit Express Gondola at Lutsen Mountains, passing over the Poplar River Valley near Lake Superior.

Hike the Superior Hiking Trail

Immerse yourself amongst the fall colors by traveling through the Superior National Forest on foot. Catch spectacular views from numerous peaks along the Sawtooth Mountain Range of Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest in full fall splendor. Try the Oberg Mountain segment of the Superior Hiking Trail. Or head out early to climbEagle Mountain, the highest peak in Minnesota.

Eat like a local

From down-home diners to northern fusion cuisine to burgers featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” Cook County has a full range of dining to please every palate.

Golf at Superior National

Get in a few more rounds this season by hitting the links at Superior National Golf Course.

Try a new s’mores recipe over the campfire

Pick up some locally made fudge (try maple bacon) and elevate your palate.

Find your true colors and get inspired

Shop our local galleries and find artisan-crafted gems. Feeling inspired? Take a class at North House Folk School or the Grand Marais Art Colony.

Encounter hundreds of species of birds

Cook County is a bird watchers paradise. Our boreal forest is at the heart of the migratory path for numerous bird species. From the peak of a mountain, witness a hawk migration or stay up late and listen for the hoot of an owl.

Take a fall colors drive on our scenic backroads

Download a printable map with highlights and hiking trails: Fall Colors Map (PDF)

See a Lake Superior gale

In the fall, low-pressure systems from the Arctic swing down over Lake Superior and bump into warmer systems fed by the jet stream. These collisions can spawn ferocious gales. If you get a thrill from waves and wind, Cook County has plenty of snug harbors for storm-watching.

Source: Visit Cook County

Summit Express Gondola

07Aug

You won’t find a better vantage point from which to view the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior’s dramatic coastline. This aerial gondola is one of the North Shore’s most popular attractions, taking you on a scenic ride to the top of Moose Mountain, rising 1,000 feet over Lake Superior. The gentle ride at treetop level is an experience not to be missed if you’re visitng the North Shore, here’s why:

It’s the only transportation of its kind in the Midwest: ruffed grouse, eagles, pine martin, deer, bear, timber wolves, and moose have all been spotted from the gondola; ride over the cascading Poplar River and up Moose Mountain for unbelieveable views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area. 

Stop at the Summit Chalet at Lutsen Mountains, a beautiful mountaintop chalet welcoming guests for gorgeous views, relaxation, or for lunch, snacks, and beverages. Inside and outside deck seating is available overlooking Lake Superior. The Summit Chalet at Lutsen Mountains also hosts our Summit Chalet weddings, our premier destination wedding facility. 

Enjoy the mountaintop hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and fresh air. The Summit Express Gondola makes Moose Mountain the most accessible year-round mountaintop destination in Mid-America.

2019 Summit Express Gondola Summer Dates & Hours

Saturdays: April 27, May 4, 11
Saturday & Sunday: May 18 & 19
Friday – Monday: May 24 – 27
Open Daily: May 31-October 20
Saturdays: October 26, November 2, 9

Open 10a – 4p: Apr 27, May 4, Oct 26, Nov 2 & 9
Open 10a – 5p: May 11 – Oct 20*

*September 28 & October 5: 10a-6p
Schedule may vary due to weather. 

Skiing & Snowboarding

07Aug

Minnesota’s Mountain Vacation

Lutsen Mountains offers the Midwest’s only true mountain ski area experience. Four interconnected peaks overlooking Lake Superior bring big mountain skiing with Up North authenticity.

Whether you’re looking for a family ski holiday, a romantic retreat or a weekend ski or snowboard getaway with friends, you’ll discover a real mountain vacation at Lutsen.  Your True North.

  • Mid-America’s largest ski resort
  • 4 mountains, 95 runs, 825’ vertical rise
  • Slopeside lodging & dining
  • Live music 7 days/week
  • New (2015) 8 passenger gondola 
  • New (2013) 6 passenger high-speed chairlift
  • $9 million snowmaking upgrade
  • 10 feet average annual snowfall

Cross Country Skiing

07Aug

Cross-Country Skiing: How far can you go?

Cook County, Minnesota is home to the largest cross-country trail network in North America, totaling over 400 km. 

Lutsen – Tofte – Schroeder Area Trails | 140.5km

Grand Marais Area Trails | 52.9km

Gunflint Trail Area Trails | 210.7 km

Ski Pass

Skiers between the ages of 16 and 64. using non-Federal trails, must purchase a Minnesota State Ski Pass, or if skiing on Central of Upper Gunflint Trails, a Ski Ticket. 

Source: Visit Cook County

Snowshoeing

07Aug

Strap on a pair of snowshoes and go for a quick kid-friendly jaunt or a full-day adventure. Follow a trail along the Lake Superior shore, trek to a waterfall or dramatic overlook, or even blaze your own path in the wilderness. Whatever your snowshoe style, you’ll find the perfect snowshoe trail here in Cook County.

  • Maybe you’ve hiked the Superior Hiking Trail (named #2 in the nation by Backpacker Magazine) in the summer or fall. Now try it in the winter! Most segments of the SHT are suitable for snowshoeing.
  • Some of our parks offer snowshoe-specific trails and equipment rental. Contact them for details.
  • Your lodging establishment can also point you to nearby trails and may even loan you snowshoes or offer guided excursions.
  • While our trails are always beautiful, there’s something special about snowshoeing through freshly fallen snow. Check the weather forecast before your visit to see if you’ll be treated to untouched powder. We average 120″ of snow each year.

Snowshoes come in different styles, from traditional Ojibwe-style wooden frames crisscrossed with rawhide to gleaming modern snowshoes made of metal and plastic. Try different styles and see which you like better. You can rent, buy or check out snowshoes from many Cook County businesses.

Source: Visit Cook County

Dogsledding

07Aug

Dogsleds were the original snowmobiles, transporting people across the snow-frosted forests and ice-kissed lakes of the north. Mix irresistible dogs with beautiful snow, and you’ve got the recipe for a winter adventure you won’t forget. 

Cook County is host to a few dogsled races throughout the year. 

Watching is fun, but doing is even better!

In Cook County, there are several dog mushing companies that will take you out on the adventure of a lifetime. You can opt for a 2-hour, half-day or all-day trip — and maybe even learn to drive your own team. By the end of the excursion, at least one of the dogs will have stolen your heart, that’s a guarantee.

The following businesses offer dogsledding adventures. Call ahead to reserve your spot.

Source: Visit Cook County

Snowmobiling

07Aug

Snowmobile trails – over 450 miles to explore!

This is snowmobiling like nowhere else in the Midwest. With 450 miles of trails that wind through the wildest, the most breathtaking scenery in Minnesota, the hardest part of riding in Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage is deciding where to head first.

Every part of Cook County offers something special to snowmobilers—from wilderness and solitude to Lake Superior views. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like moose, fox, coyotes, and wolves. Looking for a wild ride? The C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trail winds for 146 rugged miles from Grand Marais to Duluth, threading through the stunning backcountry. The North Shore State Trail connects with trails in Lutsen and Tofte and numerous other locations.

Our local club, the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club, is active all winter long, sponsoring rides, contests, and other events throughout the season.

We’re Snowmobile Friendly!

Cook County knows how to show snowmobilers a good time with friendly small-town hospitality. Rest, refuel and resupply at family businesses with countless lodging options, restaurants, fuel and repair services, groceries, and other riding supplies. This is quite possibly the perfect snowmobile vacation.

Snowmobile rentals

Cook County Snowmobile Map (PDF) 

Don’t forget to check the MN snowmobile regulations for a safe and smooth visit.

Source: Visit Cook County

Canoe Tours

07Aug

Discover the headwaters of the Poplar River as the early fur traders once did in a 10-passenger Voyageur canoe. Deer, otters, and waterfowl are commonly sighted, with moose, bear, and timber wolves are seen occasionally. A great family adventure!

  •  Personal flotation devices are provided and required to be worn at all times.
  •  Guests should be sure to bring sunscreen, bug repellent, and water to drink.
  •  In order to safely navigate the Poplar River in a Voyageur canoe, a minimum of four adults is required. If less than four adults are registered, the tour will take place in a traditional 16-foot Wenonah canoe.
  •  There is a 1/2 mile moderate hike to the canoe landing

$15 per person + tax

Guests of Eagle Ridge Resort can take a complimentary Voyageur Canoe guided tour! Please contact the Front Desk to make a reservation.

Golfing at Superior National

07Aug

Superior National at Lutsen is a visually stunning 27-hole, 6,300-yard championship golf course with sloping fairways and grand elevation changes. It has been named the #1 public golf course in Minnesota by Golf Digest magazine.

Superior National nestles against the Sawtooth Mountain Range, winds through the Poplar River Valley, and opens onto Lake Superior vistas so spectacular you might struggle to concentrate on your swing.