State parks

Swim the North Shore
August 5, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Swim the North Shore

Folks are swimming in the lake off the North Shore like never before. The water is crystal clear and freakishly warm. The map above is from this weekend, showing water temperatures across Lake Superior. The reds are about 70 degrees, and the purple around Duluth and the Apostle Islands shows water in the mid-70s. This warm water will go away any day now. All it will take will be a good northwest breeze like the one blowing today. That breeze will blow the warm water away from the North Shore. Up from the depths of the 800-foot deep North Shore trench … read more


Sea kayak the Tettegouche shoreline
June 1, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Sea kayak the Tettegouche shoreline

This morning I was out in a small boat on big Lake Superior. It had been way too long since I took a sea kayak down to the rocky North Shore and paddled along those cliffs and beaches. At Tettegouche State Park, I drove in just past the visitor center to a small parking lot by the Baptism River. From there, I carried my boat about 150 yards down to the mouth of the Baptism (Funny, last time I did that 20 years ago it was a whole lot easier).Once I squeezed myself through the hatch and into the boat, I … read more


Get back into the wild at Tettegouche’s High Falls
July 21, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Get back into the wild at Tettegouche’s High Falls

The State Parks are back! Take this weekend to reacquaint yourself with the deep pockets of scenery and nature in the North Shore parks. To the High Falls High Falls of the Baptism, May 2011, from Flickr Recent rains have lifted North Shore streams out of their summer slumber. With the shutdown over and the park gates open again, head deep into Tettegouche State Park for the short walk to the High Falls of the Baptism River.   At approximately 70 feet tall, this the highest waterfall completely in Minnesota...the High Falls of the Pigeon River at Grand Portage are taller, but are shared … read more


Sugarloaf: Despite the shutdown, your own North Shore state park
July 5, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Sugarloaf: Despite the shutdown, your own North Shore state park

Margie Menzies, amazing summer naturalist at Sugarloaf Cove Minnesota State Parks are closed this week. And probably next week, too. If you're on the North Shore and you need your state park fix, head for Sugarloaf Cove. You'll find a hiking trail, quiet Lake Superior beaches, interpretive programs, and one super summer naturalist at the heart of it all. Sugarloaf Cove is a state scientific and natural area; it's managed by a private nonprofit organization, so it's still open despite the state government shutdown.Here are four reasons why you need to go to Sugarloaf Cove now: It's open! You don't have to park … read more


Climb Day Hill at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
May 16, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Climb Day Hill at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

It's one of the North Shore's best viewpoints. It's just a short hike in along good trails. And chances are, you've never been there. But you'll definitely want to hike to the top. Right in the heart of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is Day Hill, named after the Duluthian Frank Day. It's a classic anorthosite knob, like Carlton Peak and Mount Trudee. The top is almost 250 feet above Lake Superior, so you're looking down on the entire park shoreline, including Split Rock Lighthouse, which looks tiny but dramatic about a mile away. Day Hill is famous for its lone fireplace. … read more


Boot walking: Hike on the snow
February 11, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Boot walking: Hike on the snow

Here's a great way to get out and explore the winter woods. It might only be good for this weekend, so get ready and go!The snow lies deep on the North Shore. But there hasn't been fresh snow for a week or so. With the cold we've had the last few days, now's the perfect time to head out on the snowshoe trails...without snowshoes. The trails have been packed by snowshoers, and the cold has hardened up that packed snow. Walking on top of the snow is just like walking on packed dirt. Stepping just off the trail sends you … read more


Snowshoeing: Back to the Future
February 6, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Snowshoeing: Back to the Future

The best way to truly experience the North Shore in all its wild winter glory is by snowshoe. Strap on a pair of snowshoes and head into the hills. It's slower than skiing, and it's truly a silent sport. Before I discovered the glories of North Shore cross country ski trails, I spent my winter days exploring the area on snowshoes. I'd take a compass bearing to a distant ridgeline and tramp through the deep snow and brush to reach that landmark and feel like I was the first person there in a century. Now the Superior Hiking Trail runs … read more


In the wolf wilderness at Gooseberry State Park
December 31, 2010 by Andrew Slade

In the wolf wilderness at Gooseberry State Park

Sally and I went for a lovely ski this week up at Gooseberry Falls State Park. We skied nine kilometers of freshly-groomed ski trail through the park's backcountry. And had quite a thrill along the way, reconnecting us with wild places and wild creatures. Gooseberry has three main areas of ski trails. On the lake side of Highway 61 is a long loop through the campground and by the river. On the inland side of Highway 61, there's a large and complex network of trails on the east side of the river. On the west side of the river, there … read more


Best North Shore holiday gift guide
November 30, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Best North Shore holiday gift guide

How can you share your love of the North Shore with the friends and family on your gift list? Here are ideas for gifts that will make your loved ones' Christmas morning feel like finding the perfect agate or the biggest blueberry patch. This year, buy local...buy on the North Shore. 1. Wood engravings, lino cuts, and giclee prints, oh my!One-of-a-kind notecards, groovy t-shirts, whimsical prints, and northwoods novelties come from our friends at Kenspeckle Letterpress. Rick and Marian produce their magical art in Duluth's Canal Park. 2. The sweet stuffWho doesn't love real maple syrup on their pancakes? The North Shore … read more


Deer season hike #2: Gitchi Gummi Trail
November 4, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Deer season hike #2: Gitchi Gummi Trail

The deer season opens in two days across Minnesota. Good luck to all the hunters, and be safe! If you're not hunting, you can still get out and enjoy the North Shore. The state parks all have safe no-hunt zones between Lake Superior and Highway 61. A few days ago, I wrote about a nice hike at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Today, I'd like to encourage you to visit Gooseberry Falls State Park...away from the crowds AND the hunters. The park's Hiking Club Trail is known as the Gitchi Gummi Trail. This is very easily confused with the Gitchi Gami … read more