Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Trails crisscross Split Rock geography

Stony Point as seen from the cove on the Two Little Harbors Trail.
Several day hiking trails explore the interesting geography of Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

The park essentially consists of two landforms.

The first is the highlands that rise a few hundred feet above Lake Superior. This entire section is located west of Minn. Hwy. 61. The Split Rock River Loop runs alongside Split Rock River as the waterway cuts downward through the highlands toward Lake Superior. The Merrill Logging Trail follows a former rail line that winds into the highlands.

The rocky shoreline with several headlands – erosion-resistant rock that sticks out into the lake – forms the second geographical region. All of it is east of Hwy. 61. Among the headlands, from north to south, are Split Rock Point, Corundum Point (which includes Day Hill), Stony Point (where the lighthouse is located), and Gold Rock Point.

Stony Point, which rises about 150 feet straight out of the lake, offers the most dramatic of vistas at the park. The Split Rock Light Station Trail runs across the top of Stony Point while the Little Two Harbors Trail heads down that point to a rocky shoreline on a cove.

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