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. 

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.

Hiking

07Aug

Lutsen Mountains features several miles of hiking trails, including hiking along the famed Superior Hiking Trail. Combine a hike with a ride on the Summit Express for easy access to mountaintop trailheads that lead you through wildflower meadows and deep forests, past waterfalls, wildlife, and spectacular mountain overlooks.

Download the “All Trails” app from your app store to explore what’s in the area! 

Superior Hiking Trail (SHT)
This famed trail travels the distance of Minnesota’s North Shore from Duluth to the Canadian border with the section traversing Lutsen Mountains as one of the most dramatic segments. Mountaintop vistas, deep cedar forests, maple ridgelines, and Poplar River Falls are all part of this spectacular, rugged trail. Connect to the Oberg Mountain trailhead 6.8 miles to the west, the Caribou Lake trailhead 6.2 miles to the east, or ride the gondola to the Moose Mountain summit, and return to the base area via the spur trail and the SHT on a lovely 4.5-mile loop.

SHT Spur Trail (Moose Mountain)
When hiking the SHT, take the Spur Trail to access Lutsen Mountain Tram, Summit Chalet, the Mystery Mountain Overlook and the Moose Mountain Ridgeline Trail. It traverses the steep rugged north face of Moose Mountain. Combine the Spur Trail and the Ridgeline Trail for a scenic loop, slightly over a mile in length.

Moose Mountain Ridgeline Trail
This easy trail rewards hikers with spectacular vistas of Lake Superior & the Superior National Forrest. Combine this trail with the SHT Spur Trail for a scenic loop, slightly over a mile in length.

Poplar River Falls Trail
Stand above Poplar River Falls by hiking to the bridge on this trail. From Lutsen Mountains’ Base Area, hike along the gravel road to the parking lot. Take the Superior Hiking Trail to the left until you reach the bridge. Continuing past the bridge along the SHT will lead you to Moose Mountain.

Other Woodland Trails
These old Mountain Bike trails and work roads will take hikers for miles around Lutsen Mountains’ 1000 acres. Trails vary from easy to difficult, and hikers should travel carefully as trails may be unmaintained and/or traveled by maintenance vehicles. 

Mountain Biking

07Aug

These are the rides on every biker’s bucket list. With no crowds and over 2,000 miles of potential rides, Cook County is a bike and biker’s paradise. From the paved Gitchi Gami State Trail winding along the Lake Superior shore to white-knuckle singletrack to endless backcountry roads threading the Superior National Forest, biking in Cook County, Minnesota is a ride you will never forget.

Lutsen99er Mountain Bike Race – June 29, 2019

A 19, 39, and 99-mile mountain bike race. 

Heartbreak Hill Loop

Distance: 18 miles | 2 – 5 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate 
Heartbreak Hill Loop_LTTA

Description: Over the river and through the woods is the best way to summarize this trail. In the first few miles, you gain a good deal of elevation. This scenic loop crosses the Temperance River multiple times, it is recommended to take the opportunity to park the bike and take a short hike along the river.

Terrain:  This ride blends gravel road adventure with a taste of the Gitchi Gami paved bike trail. Hybrid or mountain bikes are recommended. Be aware that the Sawbill Trail is a well-traveled road and a main route into the inland lakes – be cautious of vehicle traffic.

Onion River Road

Distance: 7 miles round trip* | 30 minutes – 1 hour [*out and back trail] | Difficulty: Easy  
Onion River Road – Route MAP

Description: Easy, family-friendly ride with several fun side-trip opportunities. Several hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobile trails cross through the area. This light traffic gravel road is a gradual climb through a mixed and scenic forest. Please remember riding on the Superior Hiking Trail is not allowed.

Honeymoon Loop  + Spur Trail

Distance: 20 miles |  3 – 5 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate  
Honeymoon Loop_Route Map

Description: A classic Northwoods ride, the Pancore/Honeymoon Loop will give you a taste of the ruggedness of the area. Rated intermediate due to distance but mild for the route.

Terrain: Generally smooth gravel with a few rockier sections on the Pancore Lake Road. Recommended to use a mountain bike but, with caution, a hybrid bike is capable.

Pike Lake Loop + Spur Trail

Distance: 22 miles | Estimated time: 2 – 4 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced  
Pike Lake Loop_Route Map

Description: After a rainstorm, sections of this trail can be very muddy. There are many spur trails and roads, pay close attention to remain on the main trail. Excellent wildlife viewing.

Terrain: Gravel and primitive minimum maintenance road. Mountain bike recommended.

Britton

Distance: 5.5 miles of trail | >1 – 2 hours | Difficulty: Intermediate – Advanced  
Britton Peak Single Track – Route Map

Description: A series of single-track mountain bike adventures await discovery.

Terrain: Narrow single-track trails. Mountain bike required.

Peak Trailsitchi-Gami State Trail | Schroeder – Lutsen Resort

Distance: 10.41 miles each way | 1 – 5 hours | Difficulty: Easy 
Gitchi Gami State Trail

Description: A paved recreational trail to provide a safe corridor for bicyclists, in-line skaters, joggers and walkers along Highway 61, paralleling the North Shore of Lake Superior. The trail can be broken into segments or done in full.

Terrain: Paved multi-use path offers a safe route along the highway but crosses multiple private driveways. Travel with caution then approaching high traffic zones. Any bike can be used on this trail but ideal for road biking.

Backcountry & Forest Service Roads
Countless backcountry gravel roads and trails wind through the Superior National Forest and into some of the most breathtaking country to ever roll beneath your bike. Pick up an official Cook County Highway Map or the official Superior National Forest Visitor Map for a comprehensive list of all roads and trails.

Where to rent bikes, get the gear, take guided tours and more.

Biking Events

Source: Visit Cook County