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Lutsen Mountains Gondola Fall Color Ride – Lutsen, MN

Lutsen Mountains Gondola Fall Color Ride – Lutsen, MN

Photo by Preston Buechler @prestonbuechler

Lutsen Mountains Gondola fall color ride is worth the trip! The Lutsen area is one of the earliest to peak, between mid to end of September!

You won’t find a better vantage point to view the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior’s dramatic coastline.This aerial gondola is one of the North Shore’s most popular attractions, taking you on a scenic ride to the top of Moose Mountain.
Rising 1,000 feet above Lake Superior, the gentle ride is an experience not to be missed.Keep your eyes open for eagles, pine marten, bear, timber wolves, and moose, explore hiking trails, or stop at the Summit Chalet at Lutsen Mountains for gorgeous views and lunch or a snack.

For for the daily-updated fall color map from MN DNR link here.

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 Lutsen Mountains Minnesota Ski Adventures Etched Stemless Wine Glasses

Event

Summit Express

Daily 10:00am – 5:00pm

September 23rd & 30th: Summit Express 9:00am – 6:00pm

Schedule may vary due to weather.

Learn more

Plan your trip

Location

Lutsen Mountains

467 Ski Hill Road

Lutsen, MN

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First Class Two Harbors Fall Colors Tour – Two Harbors, MN

 

 

Minnesota’s North Shore: Gunflint Trail’s Annual Biggest Blueberry Contest – Grand Marais, MN

Minnesota’s North Shore: Gunflint Trail’s Annual Biggest Blueberry Contest – Grand Marais, MN

 Gunflint Trail’s Biggest Blueberry Contest

Blueberries, Raspberries and More

Where can you find blueberries, strawberries, chokecherries, pin cherries, raspberries, and thimbleberries growing wild? Cook County, Minnesota is your place! Berry picking is a fun afternoon adventure, and one of the best things to do with kids when you need to slow down for a while. Find, identify and pick wild berries — and just try to save a few for your favorite berry recipe.

June is the month for strawberries. Sweet, tiny, prolific – don’t miss out! Then comes July, with the middle two weeks typically being the best time to gather blueberries. In August, it’s time for chokecherries, pin cherries, raspberries and thimbleberries. When you’re here, just ask your hosts to point you in the right direction, then arm yourself with a pail and enjoy the sweet harvest.

Never eat anything you are unsure of. Always taste test one berry before you toss down a mouthful. Although berry picking is one of many great things to do with kids, NEVER let children pick berries unsupervised. They are more likely to make mistakes in identification and ingest berries they shouldn’t.

Blueberries

Blueberries are the forest fruit that people associate most often with canoe country, and they’re plentiful throughout the region. They like dry, well-drained, rocky soil with good sun and are often found under jack or red pine stands and in recent burns. The plants are a woody shrub, usually less than two feet tall and resemble miniature trees. Blueberries almost always grow in patches from a few individual plants to many square yards in size. If you find one plant, you’ll probably find more.

Raspberries

Next on the list for most folks is raspberries, which are also found throughout canoe country. They like disturbed soil and lots of sunshine. Recent burns and openings in the forest are likely places to look. Along portage trails and around the edge of campsites are good habitats, too.

Thimbleberries

Thimbleberry, also called salmonberry, is a close cousin to the raspberry. Look for the huge, maple-like leaves that are from 4-8 inches in diameter. The plants are almost always about three feet tall and very bushy. Earlier in the summer, thimbleberry has beautiful white flowers that are very similar to wild rose.

Strawberries

Wild strawberries are a passion for some and the best pickin’ patches are closely guarded secrets. They like well-drained soils and lots of sunshine. You’ll find them in forest openings, along portage trails and around some open campsites. The plants are very small, low to the ground and the berries like to hide beneath the leaves.

These are a few of the fruits and berries you are likely to encounter on your next trip to Cook County. There are many other berries and fruits in the forest – some edible, some not. It is always best to be sure of what you are eating and taste test even if you feel sure. Remember to be a good forest grazer and leave more than you take.

DOWNLOAD THE BLUEBERRY PICKING GUIDE

Contest now through August 13th!

Blueberries in the Gunflint Trail area ripen late July and in full bloom early August. Wild blueberries are easy to identify, looking much like the grocery store variety, only smaller. The plants are woody shrubs, usually less than two feet tall and resemble miniature trees. They grow best in dry, well drained, rocky soil with good sun and are often found in recent burn areas. Now through  August 13th

FIND LODGING ON THE GUNFLINT TRAIL

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by Artist Joanne Kollman

Gunflint Trail Minnesota Loon & Chick Giclee Archival Canvas Print Wall Art Décor for Home & Office

Blueberries will be measured by weight, and must be picked fresh and not store bought.

2022 WINNERS & WEIGHTS:

1st Place: Mark | 1.9 grams weighed at Chik-Wauk Nature Center
2nd Place: Paul | 1.85 grams weighed at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters
3rd Place: Lynne | 1.82 grams weighed at Chik-Wauk Nature Center

 Weigh Stations

Weigh stations will be designated by large road signs at various resorts and locations along the Gunflint Trail.

Golden Eagle Lodge

Bearskin Lodge(opens

Hungry Jack Canoe Outfitters

Nor’Wester Lodge and Outfitters

Poplar Haus

Loon Lake Lodge

Gunflint Lodge

Gunflint Pines Resort and Campground

Tuscarora Lodge and Canoe Outfitters

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center

Split Rock Lighthouse: The Keeper’s Tour – Two Harbors, MN

Split Rock Lighthouse: The Keeper’s Tour – Two Harbors, MN

The Keeper’s Tour explores the site through the eyes of the keepers and their families. Hear stories about what it was like living on site at Split Rock Lighthouse.Guided tour of historic grounds and lighthouse are available now through mid April, tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays only. For more details or to reserve your tickets, link here.

Lighthouse History

Walk in the century-old footsteps of the lighthouse keepers and come face-to-face with the 1000-watt bulb.

Located on a 130-foot cliff on the rocky coast of Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse is an intact 1910 light station that guided ships across the often stormy waters of western Lake Superior. Today, Split Rock Lighthouse is a Minnesota state historic site and a National Historic Landmark.

Lighting the way

In the early 20th century, Lake Superior was, as American novelist James Oliver Curwood called it, “the most dangerous piece of water in the world.” As Minnesota’s iron ore industry was booming, the need for safe passage of freighter ships drove the U.S. Congress to appropriate $75,000 for a lighthouse and fog signal at Split Rock — that’s nearly $2 million today.

Not much has changed since the lighthouse was built in 1910. At the top of a 32-step spiral staircase, the lantern room houses the original French-built Fresnel lens that still turns with its original clockwork mechanism. While the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1969, the lantern is still in operational condition and is lit each November 10 during the Edmund Fitzgerald Beacon Lighting Ceremony.

Repels ships, attracts people

In the late 1930s, the lighthouse drew about 100,000 people each year — about five times as many visitors as any other station in the service. When the U.S. Coast Guard absorbed the Lighthouse Service in 1939, it publicized Split Rock Lighthouse as “probably the most visited lighthouse in the United States.”

Today, Split Rock Lighthouse draws visitors from around the world, all year long. Surrounded by Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, the lighthouse is a spectacular destination where visitors can enjoy the changing of Minnesota’s seasons, and it is one of the best locations on the North Shore to get up close and personal with the largest Great Lake.

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Two Harbors, Minnesota, Split Rock Lighthouse, Lithograph Giclee Art Print, Gallery Framed, Black Wood

Fast Facts

Lake Superior is 602 feet above sea level.

The Split Rock Lighthouse tower is 54 feet high.

Split Rock Lighthouse sits atop a 130 feet high cliff.

The official range of the light is 22 miles.

The Keeper’s Tour

Guided tour of historic grounds and lighthouse.
Offered Saturdays at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm, and Sundays at 11:00 am

Getting There

3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Road
Two Harbors, MN

Map/Directions

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North Shore Waterfall Tour – Spring Weekend Itinerary

North Shore Waterfall Tour – Spring Weekend Itinerary

Highlights:

  • Rushing rapids and waterfalls
    along the North Shore of Lake Superior
  • Jay Cooke State Park
  • Tettegouche State Park
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park

Great for:

  • Families, friends
  • Photographers

Overview

Spend a spring weekend exploring the melting rivers of the North Shore of three Minnesota State Parks.

North Shore safety tips:

  • Spring trails can be muddy. Wear waterproof shoes or bring extra socks.
  • The rocks that form the rapids and waterfalls can be slippery when wet or icy. Wear sturdy shoes with good treads. Check at the visitor center for current trail conditions.
  • Lake Superior makes its own weather so come prepared for variety. Hats, mittens and sweaters may be needed for the cooler nights.
  • North Shore terrain can be hilly. Plan 1 hour to hike each 2 miles of intermediate trail.

Day One: Morning

12 p.m.  Arrive at Jay Cooke State Park and stay overnight.

Note: Stay one night at Jay Cooke and one night at Gooseberry Falls, or two nights at Jay Cooke State Park.

Reservations for Jay Cooke State Park

The park offers several opportunities for overnight stays. Within the campground there are heated camper cabinselectric and non-electric campsites or walk-in sites. There are also backpack campsites that are a 2-3 mile hike in. Make a reservation! opens in a new browser tab

Jay Cooke State Park State features a historic swinging bridge.

A swinging bridge spans the St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park.

Park at the River Inn Visitor Area

  • Park Headquarters – check in for camping, information and gift store
  • River Inn Interpretive Center – shelter, bathrooms and displays
  • Accessible parking, sidewalks, buildings and restrooms
  • Swinging Bridge is within view

Bring a picnic

  • Eat either inside the heated picnic shelter or choose a table outside along the river.
  • Option – Get out on the trail and eat along the way.

Viewing the rapids

The St. Louis River cascades over ancient slanted rocks to create dramatic rapids and small waterfalls. These rapids can be viewed several ways around the park.

Angular river rock formations in Jay Cooke State Park.Coffee colored water cascading down rock formations in Jay Cooke State Park.
St Louis River rapids.Turbulent cascades churn coffee-colored water. 

Short stop options:

  • Head short one block down to the historic Swinging Bridge to join the generations of visitors that have journeyed across its bouncy span.  There are many views of the rapids right from the bridge. The sidewalk and bridge are accessible.
  • After crossing the Swinging Bridge check out the rocks and rapids in the bridge area. The trail is a bit uneven.
  • Hike on the north side of the river along the easy CCC trail to get impressive views of the river. Choose from either ½ mile of trail just along the river or continue in a loop through the forest back to the visitor area, 1. 8 miles round trip.
  • Thomson Dam/River Gorge area – Drive 2 miles to the outskirts of the park on Highway 210 and park at the Kayak Center – public lot.
    • View the water flowing through the Thomson Dam.
    • Walk across the highway along the river gorge to the Willard Munger Trail trestle bridge. The trail is uneven and rocky.
  • Oldenburg Point – Drive one mile to the Oldenburg Point picnic grounds for panoramic views of the park and river valley. Parking and outhouses available.
    • Walk the paved path to one of two overlooks. 1/2 mile round trip
    • Option – Visit Oldenburg Point after dinner to watch the sunset over the river valley from the overlooks.

Longer stop option:

  • Hike the Carlton Trail along the river. Fantastic views of the rocks and rapids. You will also hike past the Thomson gorge area by the Willard Munger State Trail trestle bridge before looping back on the north side of the river on the Thomson & CCC Trails. 5 miles round trip. Intermediate trail with uneven surfaces, rocks and some muddy areas.

Other things to do:

  • Attend a naturalist program to learn more about the park.
  • View the displays about the park inside the River Inn Interpretive Center.
  • In May, ask about the best trails to view spring flowers or migrating birds  PDF.
  • The Park Headquarters has many different free things to offer. Check out a kid’s activity pack, a birding kit, fishing pole or a GPS unit.
  • Willard Munger State Trail – a paved trail connection starts in the visitor center area and heads up to the state trail where you can choose to head towards Duluth or Hinckley. Bicycles available to rent at area shops or bring your own.

Come back again:

  • Over 50 miles of hiking trails including portions of the Superior Hiking Trail and the North Country Trail.
  • Fall colors peak near the end of September and early October.
  • Visit in winter for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

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Hiking Waterfalls in Minnesota: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Two: Morning

Travel to Tettegouche State Park (approximately 2 hrs).

Route Suggestion:

  • I-35 North through Duluth
  • Choose Scenic Highway 61 for a beautiful drive along Lake Superior to Two Harbors. Although the Highway 61 Expressway is faster, you will not see views of the lake.
  • Highway 61 from Two Harbors to Tettegouche State Park.
  • Stop in Duluth or Two Harbors if you need to pick up food for a picnic/snack.

Day Two: Late Morning

Arrive at Tettegouche State Park.

View of the High Falls in Tettegouche State Park.

Tettegouche State Park features many spectacular views of the falls.

Short stop options:

The Cascades Trail (1.5 miles)

  • Hilly
  • Uneven Trail Surfaces
  • Hike to the Cascades waterfalls, a one and half mile round-trip hike along the trail on the west side of the river. This is our only trail that closely follows the river. From the Visitor Center, cross the historic park bridge on foot and take a hard left to find the trail below the bridge. Follow that upstream.

Shovel Point Trail (1.2 miles)

  • Hilly
  • Uneven Trail Surfaces
  • Boardwalks and Stairs
  • Leaving the Visitor Center through the lakeside doors, take the shoreline trail to the left. This charming trail weaves between cliff tops and the nearshore forest. There are exactly 300 stair steps on this trail. The various stairs and boardwalks have been installed to protect the fragile cliff top soils and plants. Say hello to the rock climbers at the cliff top of Shovel Point!

Longer stop option:

High Falls (3 miles)

  • Uneven Trail Surfaces
  • Boardwalks and Stairs
  • A hike to the High Falls of the Baptism River allows you to stroll into the North Woods, gently climbing as you go. Leave the Visitor Center through the lakeside doors, following the shoreline trail to the right, down to the mouth of the Baptism River. Skip a few rocks. Hunt for crayfish in the shallows. Linger. Take the trail up the riverside, over the park road and under Highway 61. The High Falls are 1.5 miles inland. Stairways will bring you down to Two Step falls, on your way up and another set of stairs will get you to the base of the High Falls. There is no loop to hike, so return the way you came. It’s all downhill from here!

The High Falls of Tettegouche State Park offer a spectacular backdrop for a wild rose/

Other things to do:

  • Naturalist programs
  • Interpretive displays
  • Check-out birding kits, family Discovery Kits, or a field guide.
  • Find Tettegouche’s geocache with your own GPS or borrow one from the park.

Come back again:

  • Tettegouche has four sets of dramatic waterfalls. Check them all off your list!
  • Explore the 23 miles of hiking trails through some of the most-rugged topography in Minnesota
  • Visit historic Tettegouche Camp on the shores of Mic Mac Lake. Canoes are available for rent at Mic Mac Lake. Arrange for this at the Visitor Center or call the park staff from the phone at the Tettegouche Camp shower building.
  • Fish in any of our six inland lakes or in the Baptism River
  • Ski our groomed ski trails or rent snowshoes and hike wherever you want
  • Pick berries

Don’t Miss: Palisade Head stop on way to Gooseberry Falls State Park – Look for the Palisade Head parking lot and road about 1.5 miles southwest of Tettegouche State Park.

Day Two: Late Afternoon

Travel to Gooseberry Falls State Park, overnight stay (30 minute travel time) Learn more about Gooseberry Falls State Park

Reservations for Gooseberry Falls State Park

Checking into your campsite

  • You can check-in to your site whenever the last visitor has vacated it. Previous visitors have until 4 pm to check out. Stop at the Contact Station to check-in. Contact station has limited spring hours.
  • Set up your campsite and make dinner or check into your lodging and enjoy one of the local restaurants.

Day Two: Evening Options

  • Find the Gitchi Gami State Trail by the Campground Shelter and explore on the Picnic Flow, one of the North Shore’s best examples of a well-exposed, hardened lava flow.
  • Hike to where the Gooseberry River and Lake Superior meet. Admire the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built Lake View Shelter, pump house and picnic tables along river and shoreline. Skip rocks at the pebble beach.
  • Take a short evening hike to gaze at the moon and stars. The best views of the night sky can be found along Picnic Flow and Lake View Shelter area.

Gooseberry Falls State Park State features a series of falls to enjoy.

Expanses of rocky ledges frame the plunging Gooseberry River as it races over falls toward Lake Superior within Gooseberry State Park. 

Day Three: Viewing the Waterfalls

Gooseberry River travels three miles through the park, over five waterfalls and many rapids in which the water drops 240 feet down to Lake Superior.

Day Three: Morning

  • Drive or Hike to the Joseph A. Alexander Visitor Center
  • Visitor Center and Trail Center – gift shop and interpretive displays
  • Access to the Upper, Middle and Lower Waterfalls
  • Accessible parking, sidewalks, buildings and restrooms

Short stop options:

  • Visitor Center and Falls Area – Don’t forget your camera!
  • Take a short accessible trail to the Upper and Middle Falls or stairs to the Lower Falls.
  • Visit the “Castle in the Park” stone wall and enjoy the view of Lake Superior from the top, then hike to the Upper Falls via the catwalk and trail. Check out the viewing platform, CCC camp sign and bench overlooking the falls and bridge.
  • Hike the Falls Loop Trail (1 mile loop) to see the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. Start at the catwalk to get a view of the Upper Falls. Don’t forget to turn around and catch a view of Lake Superior. Hike under the bridge and follow the stairs enjoying different views of the Middle and Lower Falls from the overlooks. The trail crosses the Gooseberry River and follows it upstream to the Middle Falls viewing platform.

Longer stop options:

Fifth Falls Trail (2-mile loop)

  • Hilly
  • Gravel
  • Boardwalks
  • Travel this rugged path up the river to the Fifth Falls and back. Stop to watch the river go by, look for caves, or view CCC features along the way.

River View Trail (2.5-mile loop)

  • Hilly
  • Gravel
  • Boardwalks
  • Walk up to the falls from the campground, Start at the falls and travel downstream to the river mouth and Picnic Flow Area along the lake.
Visitors enjoy a view of Gooseberry Falls.
The Gooseberry River offer a visitor many views of the falls to choose from.

Come back again:

  • Gitchi-Gami State Trail (8-15 miles one-way) Paved. Shared with bicycles. Access this paved bike trail from the Picnic Flow Trailhead and travel as far as Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (8 miles one-way) or the town of Beaver Bay (15 miles one-way).
  • Check out the Birding Kit and hike the River View trail in search of spring warblers and migrating birds
  • Fish for salmon (fall) or trout (spring) in the Gooseberry River (Trout Stamp needed).
  • Gitchi Gummi Hiking Trail (2-mile loop) Hilly Gravel Boardwalks Experience incredible views of the Gooseberry River Valley and Lake Superior.

Relax:

Stop in the Joseph Alexander Visitor Center to gift shop, bird watch or enjoy the view of Lake Superior and Gooseberry River. The Department of Transportation rest area is open from 8am to 9pm daily. Wander through the building to view exhibits and watch a short movie about the park in the theater.

Day Three: Noon – Depart for Home

Minnesota DNR

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North Shore Annual Stargazing and Comet Calander & Bell Museum’s March Star Party!

North Shore Annual Stargazing and Comet Calander & Bell Museum’s March Star Party!

North Shore Vistor

New moon nights – night when the moon is absent from the sky – make for great stargazing!

Here’s a great way to start – look due north after the sun has set and find the Big Dipper constellation (above) with its telltale 3-star handle and 4-star dipper. In the winter, the dipper is at ‘3-o’clock’ with the handle hanging down.

Best Stargazing March – March 21, 2023 – 7:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Calander

Lyrids Meteor Shower – April 22, 2023 – 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Best Stargazing April – April 23, 2023 – 8:00 pm – 10:45 pm

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower – May 5, 2023 – May 6, 2023 – 11:00 pm – 5:00 am

Best Stargazing May – May 19, 2023 – 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Best Stargazing June – June 18, 2023 – 9:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Best Stargazing July – July 17, 2023 – 9:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Perseids Meteor Shower – August 11, 2023 – August 12, 2023 – 11:00 pm – 5:00 am

Best Stargazing August – August 16, 2023 – 9:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Best Stargazing September – September 14, 2023 – 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Draconids Meteor Shower – October 8, 2023 – October 9, 2023 – 10:00 pm – 3:00 am

Best Stargazing October – October 14, 2023 – 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Orionids Meteor Shower – October 20, 2023 – 9:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Taurids Meteor Shower – November 11, 2023 – November 12, 2023 – 10:00 pm – 3:00 am

Best Stargazing November – November 13, 2023 – 8:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Leonids Meteor Shower – November 17, 2023 – November 18, 2023 – 10:00 pm – 3:00 am

Best Stargazing December – December 12, 2023 – 7:00 pm – 11:45 pm

Geminids Meteor Shower – December 13, 2023 – December 14, 2023 – 10:00 pm – 3:00 am

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Stargazing in Minnesota: Practical Astronomy Observation Journal For Sky Lovers & Beginners

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