Although Northeastern Minnesota is aptly known for being world-class Canoe Country, most visitors actually come here to hike! And no wonder, with its millions of acres of national and state forests, abundant wildlife, and breathtaking vistas galore! The boreal forest around Cascade Lodge has many intersecting trails offering short, easy hikes to longer, more challenging ones.
The Cascade River drops 900 feet with a boisterous roar during the final mile-plus of its journey from backcountry wilderness to Lake Superior. It’s obvious how the river got its name with its series of impressive, deafening waterfalls shortly before emptying into the Big Lake—all easily viewed from well-maintained riverside trails. A wood footbridge spans the river gorge in Cascade River State Park, a short walk from our resort or from Highway 61 at the river mouth.
There’s a 7.8 mile loop trail that takes more ambitious hikers along the river banks from Cascade Park three-plus miles inland before returning on the opposite side. Look for mink, otters, belted kingfishers and other wildlife, or pause to wet a fishing line with a brook trout shore lunch in mind. This hike offers a big taste of our backcountry wilderness. The 50-foot lower Cascade Falls is an easy ¼-mile, 10-minute hike from our lodge, an awe-inspiring must-see while you are staying with us! A somewhat steep 2.6-mile trail hike from our lodge to the summit of nearby 600-foot Lookout Mountain is well worth the effort! Spectacular vistas of Lake Superior and the surrounding boreal forest await the hiker at the mountain top. Take in the unforgettable scenery with your feet dangling from a rock ledge, or from the comfort of a wood bench. A small mountain top campsite with shelter and fire pit is ideal for a cookout. Red fox, bobcats, martens, and fishers have been spotted along this trail.
Brave enough for a bear, moose, or wolf encounter? Quietly hike any of our myriad forest trails at dusk during the summer, and such encounters become likely! The forest comes alive at sunset, and most larger mammals, like humans, prefer walking on trails. Our wild animals are wary and shy, though, so be quick with your eyes!