The North Shore’s special “secret” hiking season is fast approaching. This season is so secret, no one actually knows when it will start or end. You have to be there to witness its glory—or you have to know someone who can tip you off that the spring wildflowers are blooming. Now.
Starting in Duluth right now and working its way north and east up the shore through Memorial Day, the snow will melt and, within days after that snow melt, early spring wildflowers will pop up and seize the sun.
The Superior Hiking Trail is perfect for spring wildflower hiking. The trail runs mostly along a ridgeline. Maple and oak trees grow along this ridgeline—but before those maple and oaks sprout their leaves, there is a lot of sunshine on the forest floor. Some of the best wildflower displays on the North Shore flourish in these few weeks, yet there is hardly anyone there to enjoy them. It’s special, and it’s a secret.
If you’re looking for information online, try the Duluth Phenology group on Facebook for updates from amateur naturalists in the Twin Ports and region.
Like any good secret party, this one requires a special outfit. You’ll want to wear gaiters, those heavy, nylon fabric “socks” that cover your hiking boots, wrap around your ankle, and run up your calf. It’s snowy and muddy out there right now, and you’ll want to keep the damage to your boots, pants and legs to a minimum.
Here are some
of the best spring wildflower hikes, from my book Hiking the North Shore:
- Elys Peak (Hike 3). 6.6 mile round-trip hike through old-growth forests full of trillium.
- Twin Lakes Trail (Hike 22). 7.5 mile loop hike to Bean and Bear lakes.
- Lutsen Gondola Hike (Hike 35). 4.2 mile hike on maple-laden Mystery Mountain.
- Middle Falls Trail (Hike 50): 5.1 mile loop hike in Grand Portage State Park with violets and waterfalls galore.
Here are a few older posts of mine from past secret hiking seasons, with tips on finding wildflowers. Enjoy!
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