October 20, 2020
Snowshoeing in Minnesota’s sprawling, rolling backcountry is all about solitude, natural beauty, and embracing winter’s inevitable arrival. Remember when everyone spoke at length about epitomizing hygge? Wearing flannel, warming beside a crackling, wood-burning fireplace, and trudging through several feet of fresh powder without a care in the world? At Cascade Lodge, hygge is not only possible, but it’s an everyday reality. Our historic Lutsen lodge acts as a four-season basecamp for nature enthusiasts, hushed explorers, romance-starved couples, and adventurous families alike. Naturally, Cascade Lodge is a short distance from many top-ranked Northern Minnesota snowshoe trails, ranging from the on-site Cascade River State Park to the always-enticing (and breathtaking) Oberg Mountain.
Instead of mindlessly searching for “snowshoeing near me” this winter, simply bookmark this handy article. Below, we list the five most picturesque Northern Minnesota snowshoe trails, all located along the North Shore near peaceful Cascade Lodge. All but Carlton Peak are recommended to first-time snowshoers, as that trek is quite the climb, albeit gradual.
Cascade Lodge hugs Cascade River State Park; thus, guests can enjoy immediate access to dozens of interweaving Northern Minnesota snowshoe trails. Most well-marked loops include little-to-no elevation gain—perfect for those with kiddos, as well as first-timers. We always recommend plodding en route to the frozen waterfalls. Otherwise, the lake trail and the Lookout Mountain loop are two delightfully secluded options. Helpful hint: Sawtooth Outfitters in nearby Tofte offers affordable snowshoe rentals.
You might be shocked to find LeVeaux Mountain ahead of spellbinding Oberg Mountain, but there’s no denying that the latter sees a lot of foot traffic, even in the heart of winter. Therefore, the adjacent, out-and-back LeVeaux Mountain trek is a superior alternative. You’ll rarely stumble upon another group of snowshoers on this poorly-marked, 3.2-mile journey. The lack of trail markings in these foothills only adds to the secretive allure. Let the snowshoes do the work and follow your heart to LeVeaux’s breathtaking peak.
Yes, Oberg Mountain welcomes crowds of tourists. Thus, it’s important to arrive early. Even when Lake Superior is howling amid winter’s frozen peak, the countless unobstructed views from the mountaintop provide shrieks of joy. Members of our team hike atop the mountain during every season—and they still verbally (and instinctively) exclaim, “Oooh” and “ahhh,” at that first enthralling overlook.
The interpretive, exploratory creekside trail, known to most as the “Kadunce River Wayside,” remains one of our favorite hidden gems, even if it’s not considered one of the most beloved Minnesota snowshoe trails. Gracefully trek up the creek (or along the eastern pathway) en route to a frozen waterfall. But don’t stop there. Hike up the gorge a bit before strolling back into the creek toward yet another waterfall. Don’t waver—the hidden marvel lies about a mile ahead inside a calm, dark gorge.
Carlton Peak would be higher on this list of Northern Minnesota snowshoe trails if it weren’t such a calve and thigh burner. That being said, experienced snowshoers will love the steady elevation gain, which tops out at approximately 519 feet, but feels more like 1,500 in the snow. There’s no denying the scenic beauty of the rockface, as well as the sprawling valley and Lake Superior vistas from the peak.
The perfect place to start and finish each day of snow-packed exploration is Cascade Lodge, a centrally-located, four-season respite. Guests can swiftly hop onto Highway 61 for a day-trip, cross the road and greet Lake Superior, or venture into neighboring Cascade River State Park. Enhance your trip with a stop a nearby rocky beach or a picturesque waterfall. When you’re not out and about, remember to grab a bite at Cascade Restaurant & Pub before slipping into your cozy cabin for fireside stories and a shared bottle of wine. To learn more about our remarkably tranquil slice of Minnesota’s North Shore, please visit our website. You can also call us directly at 218-387-1112.