Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Best trails for seeing wonders of Minnesota’s Cascade River State Park

Cascade River. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Among the best ways to see the top sights at Minnesota’s Cascade River State Park is via a day hike. Just three short trails will allow you to enjoy each of the park’s highlights – waterfalls, fantastic Lake Superior views, and brilliant autumn colors.

The Cascade River drops over two waterfalls as it rambles through a fern-laden gorge of 1.1 billion-year-old volcanic rock. A segment of the Superior Hiking Trail heads about 0.5 miles round trip from a parking lot off Minn. Hwy. 61 south of Cascade River to Cascade Falls and the Cascades, a set of five small waterfalls just above it.

Lake Superior views
Off the state park’s shores the glacial lake the Ojibwe called gichigami – “the great sea” – stretches for 31,700 square miles. The Lake Trail runs 1.2 miles (2.4-miles round trip) along Lake Superior’s rocky beaches and white cedar trees.

Autumn colors
After Labor Day, the park’s birch leaves turn gold, making for an impressive site against the green spruce and fir. The Lookout Mountain Trail, a 3.5-mile loop, takes you through the forest to an overlook 600 feet above the shoreline, offering a view of the Sawtooth Mountain Range and of blue Lake Superior in the distance.

Find out about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.