Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Gitchi-Gami offers Beaver Bay segments

Map of Gitchi-Gami State Trail segments, Beaver Bay
and Silver Bay. Courtesy
While always great for bicyclists, some segments of Minnesota’s Gitchi-Gami State Trail are not so wonderful for hikers. The trail north from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to Silver Bay is one such stretch.

For most of that segment, the state trail hugs Minn. Hwy. 61 or takes a couple of brief diversions alongside local roads. This makes for a noisy walk with lots of wind from fast-moving vehicles as they pass.

Still, for those who want to walk a flat, paved trail that is just as pretty as what any anyone driving Hwy. 61 would see – and it is an extremely scenic drive of pines, forested uplands, and Lake Superior views – the Gitchi-Gami is a good option.

A couple of segments in particular stand out.

In Beaver Bay, start at the north end of the 14.1-mile trail that runs through Split Rock to Gooseberry Falls State Park. Begin in downtown Beaver Bay off of Hwy. 61 south/west of Slater Drive. Hike the trail as far south as you like; the creek south of Pine Bay Loop makes a good turnback point for a little more than 4-mile round trip.

From Silver Bay, the trail can be hiked south. From Rukavina Arena on Outer Drive, head 2.3 miles (4.6-miles round trip) south/west to West Road in Beaver Bay. Parking is available near the arena.

The Beaver Bay and Silver Bay segments do not connect.

In addition, the Silver Bay trailhead is as far north hikers can get to Tettagouche State Park. The next segment of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail begins at the Minnesota DOT wayside in Schroeder, north of Tettagouche.

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