Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hike heads along scenic MN’s Beaver River

Beaver River Falls. Courtesy briandjan607/flickr.
A scenic wilderness hike to the Beaver River awaits day hikers on Minnesota’s North Shore.

The Superior Hiking Trail segment runs 2-miles round trip.

To reach the trailhead, from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, drive north on Minn. Hwy. 61 to Beaver Bay. One there, turn left/north on County Road 4/Lax Lake Road. A parking lot is on the road’s right/northeast side in 0.8 miles.

From the lot, head northeast on the trail. ATVs share the route for about 0.4 miles.

At that point, the trail crosses a metal bridge over the Beaver River then turns onto a footpath hugging the waterway. The Beaver River rises out of the highlands and runs 23.4 miles before spilling into Lake Superior.

Initially along the trail, the Beaver River is wide and gentle as it flows past fragrant cedar and white pine groves. Soon, though, the river turns into a raging cascade.

The trail then comes upon two small campsites. The North Beaver River Campsite is first, and a quarter mile later is the South Beaver River Campsite.

After the south campsite a mile into the hike, the trail turns away from the Beaver River and gains elevation through a forest of birch, cedar and spruce. Given the loss of the river view and the ascent, turn back at the south campsite.

Beaver River Falls
The Superior Hiking Trail unfortunately won’t get you to thundering Beaver River Falls. To see that, you’ll need to head south from the parking lot on County Road 4. Just before the Hwy. 61 intersection, turn left/northeast into the falls’ large parking lot.

From the lot, hike about 0.05 miles downhill to the falls. There, the river spills over ancient black rock that is around 1.09 billion years old. Several drops make up the falls, totaling about 55 feet in height.

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