April 13th, 2020
As North Americans rediscover the harmonious allure of outdoor recreation over the coming weeks and months, an escape up Minnesota’s breathtaking North Shore becomes more and more enticing. The North Shore is known for its sprawling views of Lake Superior, classic Minnesota eats, rushing waterfalls, vibrant fall foliage, and some of the Midwest’s most challenging hiking trails. The 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail is an adventurer’s playground throughout all four seasons, even amid winter’s icy peak. Along the Superior Hiking Trail lies many jaw-dropping Lake Superior overlooks, some of the densest forestries in Minnesota, and ample acreage to self reflect near curious wildlife. Planning a trip to historic Cascade Lodge wouldn’t be complete without two or three quintessential North Shore hikes, including an exploratory venture through the on-site Cascade River State Park.
The prettiest North Shore hikes lie between Schroeder and Grand Portage, a beautiful, 66-mile stretch of world-famous Highway 61 that features unobstructed Lake Superior vistas, rolling mountains, and dramatic cliffs. In the center of this particularly splendid slice of Northern Minnesota rests Cascade Lodge, a staple in the hospitality industry since 1927. Cascade Lodge, unlike many other Lake Superior resorts, is idyllically situated near the four most picturesque North Shore hikes, including our first entry: the Oberg Mountain Loop.
There’s no denying that Oberg Mountain, and its sibling LeVeaux Mountain, see a lot of foot traffic during peak seasons, such midsummer and autumn. However, this 2.6-mile loop undeniably provides the best vantage points of azure Lake Superior and the surrounding Superior National Forest. Make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds. We highly recommend packing a light picnic and a high-end camera as you’ll want to spend several hours atop this mammoth rock.
Lovers of peaceful, cascading waterfalls, deep gorges, and aging bridges cannot resist the allure of Cascade River State Park, one of the last remaining hidden gems in Northern Minnesota. While the state park’s maze-like array of trails that follow the Cascade River isn’t overly strenuous or lengthy, many of our guests spend hours near these picturesque falls. That being said, there’s also an intertwining system of North Shore hikes accessible from Cascade Lodge’s eastern rim.
Mysterious Devil’s Kettle Falls also made last month’s exposé on the region’s most majestic waterfalls. While the two-mile trail’s three waterfalls are collectively the main “attraction,” don’t overlook the journey itself. Our team members have spotted whitetail deer, native birds, woodchucks, and even moose over the years in these woods. The trail follows the eastern edge of the rushing Brule River, where you’ll encounter a steep staircase and the often-overlooked Upper Falls, which really packs a punch.
It’s easy to forget about Carlton Peak because it’s seemingly just a blip on the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail. Still, the gradually rising expedition to this 924-foot-tall mountain is a must for hikers who appreciate isolation and true quiet. The trail only boasts 519 feet of measured elevation gain, so hikers of all skill levels can scale it.
After a full day of hiking near Grand Marais, return to Cascade Lodge for an evening of gourmet cuisine, stargazing, and stories beside a crackling wood-burning fireplace. We’ve evolved into one of the top-rated romantic getaways in Minnesota thanks to our classic cabins—where history and heritage adjoin. To learn more about our particularly beautiful slice of the North Shore, please visit us online at CascadeLodgeMN.com. And don’t forget to stay up to date with the latest news on COVID-19.