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. 

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. 

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.

Waterfalls

07Aug

After the snow melts, experience the raw power of North Shore waterfall season – a fleeting yet unforgettable spring wonder.

Cook County has the North Shore’s most dramatic waterfalls, including Devil’s Kettle Falls in Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the ephemeral “phantom falls” that pour from the cliffs lining Highway 61, and the High Falls of the Pigeon River in Grand Portage State Park.

At 120 feet, High Falls (pictured above) is the highest waterfall in Minnesota. No wonder it is sometimes called “Minnesota’s Niagara.”

Waterfall weekend road trip

Drive Highway 61 – the North Shore National Scenic Drive – from Duluth to Grand Portage for an awesome waterfall-watching adventure. The trip makes a great spring getaway for couples, families, and anyone who is sick of being cooped up.

(NOTE, there are more waterfalls in Cook County than what is listed on the map. Happy waterfall hunting!)

  1. Caribou River – a short gradual climb along the river will bring you to the spur trail to the Superior Hiking Trail to the base of the waterfall. Park at Caribou State Wayside rest; off of Highway 61 |> GPS [47.464124, -91.030941]
  2. Cross River – Best falls seen right from the highway at the wayside rest in Schroeder. Just eight miles north of the county line, you will find easy access and parking.  Bring a raincoat. The view from the bridge on scenic Highway 61 is one of the best, and the spray might ruin your hair. |> GPS [47.544289, -90.896796]
  3. Temperance River – in Temperance River State Park there is a short hiking trail loop that will bring you around the falls. Deep narrow river gorge with about 10-15 drops. According to the state parks section of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources web site:  It is said that the Temperance got its name because, unlike other North Shore streams, the river had no bar at its mouth. At one time, the waters of the river flowed so deeply and so strongly into Lake Superior that it washed out the usual debris.|>GPS [47.554542, -90.874481]
  4. Onion River – newly reconstructed trail from Highway 61 will bring you along the river for a canyon view. Legend has it that the river was created and named when Paul Bunyan shed tears while cutting the wild onions that grew in the woods nearby. Park at the Ray Berglund Memorial Wayside Rest right off of Highway 61 between Tofte and Lutsen.
  5. Poplar River – located in Lutsen. Hike inland to roaring fall, cascades and canyons. You’ll find multiple waterfalls and rapids that are easily accessible from multiple locations.
    1. Upper Falls above Lutsen Mountains Ski Hill – park at the end of Ski Hill Road at the start of the connector trail for the Superior Hiking Trail. Stay to the left on the trail and follow the old road down to the bridge about a half-mile walk.
    2. Rapids – run through the Superior National Golf Course both the River and Canyon course. Request permission from the Golf Shop and stay on the cart path.
    3. Lower Falls at Lutsen Resort – Where Lake Superior and the river converge, find covered bridges and a small series of rapids just above the mouth of the river. Park in lot and follow signs for the “River Trail”
  6. Cascade River – A breathtaking series of large cascading waterfalls; this location includes parking and a walking path, which makes hiking along multiple waterfalls possible. The Cascade River flows from one ledge after another for a total drop of 900 feet during the last three miles to Lake Superior. |>GPS [47.707828, -90.523152].
    1. Thompson Falls on the Cascade River near the intersection of The Grade and Bally Creek Road
    2. Hidden Falls of the Cascade River downstream from County Road 45 on the Superior Hiking Trail
  7. Fall River – waterfall (just west of Grand Marais by about two miles). Spectacular waterfall below the highway that drops into Lake Superior. |>GPS [47° 44.455’ N / 90° 23.295’ W] Park along the shoulder along Highway 61.
  8. Devil Track River – follow the Superior Hiking Trail for a ravine view. With caution, the falls are more easily accessible by snowshoe in the winter.
  9. Kadunce River – Just 12.7 miles east of Grand Marais, the Kadunce has easy access, up-top viewing, with a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. Feeling adventurous? Hike up the shallow river for a different vantage point. Parking available in the lot off of Highway 61.
  10. Brule River – eight miles up the road in Judge C.R. Magney State Park you’ll meet the Brule River. Best known for the Devil’s Kettle waterfall where the river splits and half the river enters a cauldron, the Devil’s Kettle, and disappears to places unknown. Enter Judge C.R. Magney State Park to get to parking lot. |>GPS [47.819284, -90.051704]
  11. Flute River – unnamed waterfall on the lake side of Highway 61. |> GPS [47.843897, -89.962582]
  12. Pigeon River – in Grand Portage State Park at 120’ the High Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Minnesota. Handicap accessible trail is about 1 mile long. During peak waterfall season, find a nearly permanent rainbow at the base of the High Falls. Parking is available in the Grand Portage State Park visitor center parking lot. |>GPS[48.004560, -89.597588]
  13. Saganaga Falls – where the Granite River and Saganaga Lake meet. Must use a canoe to reach this area.
  14. Stairway Portage Falls – between Duncan and Rose Lake in the Central Gunflint Trail region. Must use a canoe to reach this area.
  15. Johnson Falls – on the far west end of Pine Lake. Accessible from either the Gunflint Trail or Arrowhead Trail. Must use a canoe to reach this area.

Looking for more?

Make sure you pick up the only waterfall-season guidebook: Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore, published by North Shore Press right in Grand Marais.

Peak waterfall season lasts about two weeks in April or May. 

Biggest, spookiest, least-crowded

Cook County is home to the biggest, spookiest and least-crowded of the North Shore’s waterfalls, including:

  • High Falls of the Pigeon River, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota, which gets only 1/16 the crowds of Gooseberry Falls
  • Devil’s Kettle Falls, which flows into a mysterious (bottomless?) hole in the rock
  • “Phantom falls,” ephemeral waterfalls that pour from the cliffs that line the Cook County stretch of Highway 61

“Niagara of the North Shore”

At the top of the North Shore, near the Canadian border, is stunning High Falls, “the Niagara of the North Shore.” Some facts about High Falls:

  • Tallest waterfall in the state (120 feet)
  • Also called Pigeon Falls
  • Located at the top of the North Shore in Grand Portage State Park, just short of the Canadian border
  • About 45 minutes from Grand Marais, or just over five hours’ drive from the Twin Cities
  • The walk to the viewing area is short enough for children
  • In summer, a wooden boardwalk makes High Falls wheelchair- and stroller-accessible
  • Grand Portage State Park gets only 1/16 the crowds of Gooseberry Falls

Source: Visit Cook County

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