Monday, October 20, 2014

Multiple day hiking trails surround North Shore's Lutsen

Gitchi-Gami State Trail south of Lutsen, Minn.
Photo courtesy of Minnesota DNR.

Minnesota village boasts several miles of walking paths

Lake Superior vistas, mountain summits, and a scenic aspen-birch forest await day hikers on trails in the Lutsen, Minn., area.

The tiny village sits about two-thirds of the way up the North Shore between Duluth, Minn., and the Canadian border. The best way to reach Lutsen is to take Minn. Hwy. 61 north from Duluth.

Among the many great day hikes around Lutsen are:
g C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trail (Lutsen segments) – Head 0.75 miles (1.5-miles round trip) west to the Tait River or go east 1 mile (2-miles round trip) to the stream flowing out of Mistletoe Creek into Vat Lake in the Superior National Forest. Park in the lot off of County Road 4 north of the County Road 164 intersection, about 6.5 miles north of Lutsen.
g C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trail (Tofte segments) – In Superior National Forest, walk west a little more than a mile (2.25-miles round trip) across the Temperance River to Blind Temperance Creek or go northeast 5.2 miles (10.4-miles round trip) to the Lutsen Trail intersection. Park in the pullout lot at the County Road 2 and County Road 166 intersection about 4.5 miles north of Tofte.
g Gitchi-Gami State Trail (Lutsen Segment) – The trail heads south/west from Lutsen Ski Hill Road. Take it to Rollins Creek for a 3-mile round trip. Park at the designated GGST parking area.
g Gitchi-Gami State Trail (Tofte Segment) – Starting at Tofte Town Park, the trail heads north/east. LeVeaux Creek is about two miles away for a 4-mile round trip.
g Gitchi-Gami State Trail (Ray Berglund State Wayside segments) – Parking at the wayside, either head south/west to LeVeaux Creek for a 4-mile round trip or north/east to Rollins Creek for a 2-mile round trip.
g Lutsen Access Trail – Day hikers can head through a forest of aspen and birch overlooking Lake Superior in the Lutsen Scientific & Natural Area. From Lutsen, take County Road 5 (aka Ski Hill Road) north. In about 1.5 miles, you’ll come to a ditch crossing the road; park off the road here. The trail heads east into the woods for a 3.33-mile round trip.
g NF-1230 Ski Trail – An old forest road turned ski trail makes for a solid hike up the bluffside starting in the Superior National Forest and ending in the Lutsen Scientific & Natural Area. The 3-mile round trip crosses all three of the SNA’s forests. Park in the dirt lot off of County Road 5, about 1.1 miles north of Hwy. 61 in Lutsen.
g Oberg and LeVeaux Mountains Trails – Day hikers can choose between these trails, each of which leads to the summit of two prominent hills in Superior National Forest’s Sawtooth Mountains. Both are well-worn paths and spurs off the Superior Hiking Trail. To reach the trails, from Lutsen take Hwy. 61 south. Turn right/north onto the unpaved Onion River Road (aka Forest Road 336); after passing the mountains, a parking lot is on the road’s left/west side.

Read more about day hiking Northeast Minnesota in my Headin’ to the Cabin: Day Hiking Trails of Northeast Minnesota guidebook.