Sunday, June 29, 2014

Great Lake shoreline, historic lighthouse await Split Rock state park day hikers

Split Rock Lighthouse. Photo courtesy
of Wikipedia.
Vistas of Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline, a historic lighthouse, and glimpses of a century-old shipwreck await hikers at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore.

The state park is off of Minn. Hwy.61, about 20 miles north of Two Harbors, Minn. Some of the route heads along cliffs, so always keep an eye on children with you.

Lake Superior vistas
The largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, can be enjoyed along Split Rock Point via the 1.8-mile round trip Corundum Mine Trail. Park at the Hwy. 61 wayside immediately before Split Rock River; cross the highway and join the Gitchi-Gami State Bike Trail that goes over the river. After the bridge, take the first trail heading right/southeast, then follow the connector trail overlooking Crazy Bay.

A slightly shorter route is the 1.3-miles round trip Day Hill Trail, which heads to a summit overlooking the lake. Park at the lot at the end of Split Rock’s entrance road then take the stem trail south toward the lake. At the second junction, go right/northwest and head around the base of Day Hill, following the route to the summit.

Historic lighthouse
Day hikers can explore one of the nation’s most famous lighthouses and enjoy impressive cliff top views of Lake Superior on the Split Rock Light Station Trail. The 0.8-mile trail is a collection of walking paths around the historic Split Rock lighthouse. Perched atop a 130-foot high solid rock cliff overlooking Lake Superior, Split Rock is among the most photographed lighthouses in the country. The Minnesota Historical Society operates the 25-acre site in in the state park.

Madeiraa shipwreck
Take the Gitchi-Gami State Bike Trail north of the lighthouse to Gold Rock Point for a 4-mile round trip. On the point, you can look for agates and try to spot in the shallow water the remains of the cargo ship Madeiraa, which sunk here in 1905.

Learn about nearby hiking trails in Day Hiking Trails of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.