Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tilson Creek trails link to VNP visitor center

Tilson Creek Ski Trails, Green Trail
Tilson Creek Ski Trails map
The Rainy Lake section of Voyageurs National Park nicely connects with several trails in neighboring Koochiching State Forest.

Tilson Connector Ski Trail
The 0.93 mile one-way trail links the national park’s Rainy Lake Visitor Center to the Tilson Creek Ski Trails.

To reach the trailhead, park at visitor center and head west from the lot, paralleling the park road. When the trail splits, go left/southwest, crossing County Road 96.

The trail passes through a wetlands then through a wooded area.

Also known as Voyageurs Tilson Trail, once in the state forest it becomes the Blue Trail of the Tilson Creek Ski Trails.

Tilson Creek Ski Trails
The Tilson Creek Ski Trails consists of 10 miles of ski trails arranged in several stacked loops, delineated on state forest maps by color.

Several routes are possible, ranging from short loops to longer excursions. The Blue Trail consists of three stacked loops with the last one joining the Orange Trail. South of the Orange Trail are the Yellow and then the Red trails. North of the Orange is the Green Trail and the Boardwalk.

In summer, grass quickly overgrows on these trails, so this is a good hike for dry days in spring or autumn after a good frost has knocked down the foliage. During winter, hiking is not allowed on the ski trails.

You also can access the trail system via the Green Trail. To do so, use the parking lot on the south side of Minn. Hwy. 11 east of International Falls in the Koochiching State Forest; this is the same lot used for the Tilson Creek Trail on the highway’s north side.

Learn more about the park’s day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at Voyageurs National Park guidebook.