Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Primitive trail heads into Boundary Waters

Topo map for Anglewood Trail. Click on map for larger picture.

Anglewood Trail
crosses creek
on way to lake

Day hikers can glimpse what northern Minnesota looked like in the days before the pioneers arrived via the rugged Angleworm Trail.

The primitive trail heads heads 12 miles total around Angleworm Lake in the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. For a day hike, the first 1.5 miles (3-miles round trip) of trail can be done.

To reach the trailhead, from Ely drive about 14 miles north on the St. Louis County Road 116/Echo Trail (aka Ely-Buycks Road). Watch for signs pointing to the parking lot, which really is just a turnaround off the road.

Big pines
From the lot, the trail – formerly a forest service road that now doubles as a canoe portage - runs through red and white pine stands. In spring, look for blossoming pink ladyslippers.

The trail quickly descends into a ravine, and at 0.8 miles from the parking lot, a bridge crosses Spring Creek. A secondary trail heads roughly north-south and crisscrossing the stream several times.

At the ravine’s bottom of ravine, the trail enters the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. As such, hikers will need a user permit to day hike; you can pick up a free self-issue permit at the trailhead or at any U.S. Forest Service district office for the national forest.

Ascending out of the valley, the pines grow larger in size as you circumnavigate a marshy area. The old growth groves abound in the area.

Lookout tower
At 1.5 miles from the trailhead, the trail reaches wetlands at southern shore of Angleworm Lake. Angleworm in many ways feels more like a river than a lake as it fills a narrow gorge banked by two high ridges.

Looking north, you'll likely see the Anglewood Lookout Tower on the ridge overlooking the lake's west side. The tower sits at 1570 feet elevation.

The main trail continues north while a secondary trail heads south for 1.5 miles to the northern shore of Trease Lake. The intersection with the secondary trail marks a spot to turn back.

Definitely bring topo maps and a compass on the Anglewood, and spruce up on your navigation skills before hittin' this trail. Be aware that some maps and guides refer to the route as the Angleworm Lake Trail or the Angleworm Hiking Trail.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.