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Pincushion Trail System: A North Shore Gem

Because of its varied terrain, the Pincushion Trail system offers trails for all sorts of users including hikers, bikers, skiers, fat bikers, birders and many more! With many miles of access, the Pincushion Mountain provides a spectacular view down the mountain to the town of Grand Marais. For hikers, the 15 miles of Pincushion Mountain’s trails offer loops to Lake Superior’s North Shore, the Devil’s Track River, and more! Keep an eye out along the way for an endless amount of birch, aspen, and pine. Hikers can use either the cross-country ski or biking trails, but must keep alert at all times.

There are about 6 miles of single-track trails that mountain bikers can enjoy starting from the trailhead at Pincushion. The trails vary from easy to moderate and some even intersect the cross-country ski trails that can be used if the weather permits. Most of the trails have been developed over time to accompany a smooth ride, but still be cautious as conditions are bound to change. If you’re up for the challenge, many visitors have tried fat biking the Pincushion trails as it makes for a much easier and enjoyable ride.

On a sunny day, the top of the mountain provides a stunning view of Lake Superior. Keep an eye out for pine martens, wolves, and the occasional moose as you stroll along the trails.

A trail map can be found here. 

To get to Pincushion: Follow the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais for 2.5 miles and turn right onto Pincushion Drive. You will find a parking lot and the trail head about .25 miles down Pincushion Drive.

 


 

Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection of vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

Posted on February 17th, 2017 in Uncategorized |


Shovel’s Point: A favorite North Shore hike

Although this hike is only around 2 kilometers, you’ll be amazed at how long it takes you to complete it with how many stops you make to enjoy the views! Jutting into the waters of Lake Superior, Shovel Point is a main attraction for visitors of the North Shore. It is located within Tettegouche State Park and is one of the many wonderful hikes that the park is famous for.

Made of a billion-year-old cape of red rock, this feature provides a great way to get above water level and enjoy some of the greatest views in Minnesota. The hike is perfect for all ages because it is so short, yet so beautiful. There are plenty of steps along the way that provide an easy stroll down to the edge with signs pointing you in the right direction as you move along.

As you make your way along the path, make sure to keep an eye out for the views of the ice caves as they can typically be seen from a point along the way. When you reach the top, you will be greeted with views that stretch for miles, including those of Lake Superior and Palisade Head. This is a perfect spot to break out the lunch you packed and take in the beauty that is right in front of you.

To get to the trail go to Tettegouche State Park. Park in the visitor center parking lot. Start walking east (or to the left if you’re facing Lake Superior) on the trail between the visitor center and Lake Superior.

 


Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection of vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

Posted on February 12th, 2017 in Uncategorized |


Eagle Mountain: Minnesota’s highest peak and home to billion-year-old rock

 

At over 2,300 feet, Eagle Mountain is the highest natural point in Minnesota!  This Minnesota State Historic Site is located in northern Cook County and is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, northwest of Grand Marais. Coincidentally, it is located only 15 miles from Minnesota’s lowest elevation point, Lake Superior. The peak can be climbed during any season, however, be cautious during the winter months as it can be somewhat slippery.  

 

To reach the summit of Eagle Mountain is quite easy. Although most of the hike is straightforward and uncomplicated, the sometimes rocky and rough terrain make some people categorize it as a strenuous hike. The first two miles have little elevation gain, but soon the area becomes full of lowland bogs accompanied by wooden plank walkways for your convenience. Following the first two miles, Eagle Mountain Trail passes along the southern and western shore of Whale Lake, making for a perfect rest stop.


At the top of the 2,300-foot climb you will be greeted by a large commemorative plaque placed on a rock that geologists presume to be over one billion years old. Bust out that lunch you packed and enjoy, as you just made a 3.5-mile hike seem easy. Stop and take a look around. You will be witnessing one of the greatest views in Minnesota.

 

 


Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection of vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.


 

Posted on February 3rd, 2017 in Uncategorized |


Top 10 Things to do on the North Shore

The North Shore is an incredible place with many exciting things to do and unique places to visit. The problem being there is never enough time to squeeze them all in during one visit. So, we tried narrowing down the list to the top 10 things we think all visitor should do when they visit the North Shore (and let us tell you – it was hard!). Nonetheless, here’s our top ten list:

Palisade Head: This 200+ foot cliff towers over Lake Superior and offers one of the most spectacular views of the North Shore. On clear days there are views of the Sawtooth Mountains, Split Rock Lighthouse, and all the way to Wisconsin. Learn more about Palisade Head here.

Artists Point: Unique and beautiful jagged rock formations make up what is known as Artists Point in Grand Marais. Its size might be small, but the impression it makes on your visit will be big! Walk the breakwall to the lighthouse to enjoy a sunset or climb the rock formations all afternoon.

Devil’s Kettle Falls: This waterfall located northeast of Grand Marais in Judge C.R. Magney State Park splits in two with one side heading downstream and the other into a deep mysterious hole (Devil’s Kettle). It is known to have no bottom and no one knows where the water in the hole disappears.

Susie Island Overlook: Stopping at the Susie Island Overlook south of Grand Portage is an incredible experience. With excellent views of the Susie Islands to the east, Josephine Mountain to the southwest, and majestic Lake Superior all around, your breath is sure to be taken away. Find out more about the Susie Islands here.

Oberg Loop Hike: This 2.3 mile loop trail is said to be many visitors favorite Minnesota hike, and we understand why. It offers hikers incredible views of Lake Superior, Oberg Lake and the Sawtooth Mountains and brings hikers through the beautiful maple forest that harbors a variety of plants uncommon to nearby forests. Learn more here.

Cascade River Falls: This string of waterfalls located near the mouth of the Cascade River have been given the name “The Cascades.” They are very well known to many for their unique beauty. A quick hike up a well-maintained trail, lined with birch, spruce and white cedar, brings hikers to many overlooks and bridges. Learn more about Cascade River State Park.

Temperance River Cauldron Trail: This trail in Temperance River State Park begins on Highway 61. Without hiking far, viewers can see a number of falls and the Temperance River which has worn hundreds of cauldrons in the bedrock of the river. Though high water levels in the spring make for the best, most powerful waterfalls, low water levels throughout the rest of the year reveal the most cauldrons.

Pigeon River High Falls: If you have time, you’ll definitely want to visit the High Falls, the highest waterfall in Minnesota, at Grand Portage State Park. The Pigeon River flows along the border between Canada and Minnesota and has carved out a beautiful canyon for visitors to view and explore. Learn more about Grand Portage State Park here.

Gooseberry Falls State Park: This state park is best know for it’s spectacular upper, middle and lower waterfalls. Also in the park is access to beautiful Lake Superior shoreline, hiking trails, a Civilian Conservation Corps building and fantastic picnic areas on an old lava flow. Learn more about Gooseberry Falls State Park activities here.

Split Rock Lighthouse Tour: The Split Rock Lighthouse was built in 1910 after a devastating storm in 1905. Today the iconic Minnesota lighthouse attracts visitors from all over the world. Though the light is no longer operating, visitors can tour the lighthouse, keeper’s house, oil house and the fog signal building. When you’re through we highly suggest exploring other areas of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park as well.

 


 

Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection of vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

Posted on January 31st, 2017 in Uncategorized |


Finding Moose in Northeast Minnesota

Moose in Northeast Minnesota

Weighing in around 800-900 pounds, the Minnesota Moose is no joke! These mammals are about as big as four or five deer and are a sight to see on the North Shore. Although they have poor eyesight, they make up for it with their great sense of smell and hearing. Plus, their long legs and spreading hooves help them maneuver through difficult terrain like marshes and deep snow.

If you’re looking to spot moose on the North Shore, there are a couple of things you should know. First, in the summertime moose like to hang out on hot days in wetlands areas to stay cool. They can often be found in boggy lowlands because plenty of food is available and the terrain allows them to stay cool. They tend to eat a variety of plants and prefer twigs (willow, dogwood, etc).

Environments they thrive in are often in regrowth forests that have been damaged by fire, beavers or logging. These areas tend to provide the most edible vegetation for moose, and since they eat more than 50-pounds a day, it’s important that they have access to a lot of it!

Like any animal, Moose seek to fulfill their sodium requirements. In the summer months much of their intake comes from aquatic plants. However, during the winter, as odd as it may sound, moose tend to navigate towards roads to lick the excess salt left by plow trucks – so searching for moose along the highway tends to be more successful during the winter months.

It is important to spend most of your time searching during around dawn and dusk if you’re looking for moose. It is during these times that they tend to travel to open areas to eat and drink. You’ll often find bull moose alone and moose cows with calves. Moose typically only become aggressive during the fall rut and if calves are around. However, as with all animals, it is important to stay a respectful distance away any time of the year.

Moose habitat on the North Shore begins around Tettegouche State Park, but the further north and inland (away from Lake Superior) you go, the better your odds. There are a number of roads along the North Shore that will take you through prime Moose habitat. We recommend the routes below.

Moose Routes

A) Highway 1: This road travels from Highway 61 (between Silver Bay and Little Marais) inland toward Ely. Many great side-roads will also take drivers through excellent moose habitat.

B) Cramer Road (County Road 7): This gravel road winds through beautiful boreal forest and swampy areas where moose may gather.

C) Caribou Trail/County Road 4: Follow this road that begins on the east end of Lutsen and heads inland for 17.3 miles until reaching The Grade. Make the route an in an out, or turn onto The Grade if you would like to continue your adventure.

D) The Grade: You can hop on The Grade by taking the Sawbill Trail in Tofte, the Caribou Trail (County Road 4) near Lutsen or the Gunflint Trail (County Road 12) to County Road 7 from Grand Marais. The Grade will take drivers through the low-lying, boggy areas that moose favor.

E) Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway (County Road 12) This 57-mile long paved road that begins in Grand Marais and heads inland is the highway we recommend above others. Most of the roads that branch off from the Gunflint Trail (like the Lima Grade which is approximately 21 miles from Grand Marais) are also great to travel during your search.

If you’re interested in getting out of your car, a moose viewing trail is accessible on the left-hand side of the road about 24 miles from Grand Marais. The trail is a multi-purpose loop trail that leads to a hidden pond with a viewing platform.

F) The Arrowhead Trail This road begins along Highway 61 northeast of Grand Marais and Covill. It leads north and west for approximately 13 miles and travels through great moose habitat.

 


 

Cascade Vacation Rentals offers the largest selection of vacation rental homes, cabins, hotels and cottages on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Our rentals cover a large area from Duluth to Grand Portage and inland up the Caribou Trail, Gunflint Trail and throughout Cook County. View rentals by location (DuluthTwo HarborsSchroederTofteLutsenGrand MaraisGunflint Trail) or category type (pet-friendlylarge homes, inland lake homes, etc) at www.cascadevacationrentals.com.

 


 

Check back often for updates on where to go and the top things to do on your next North Shore visit.

Posted on January 24th, 2017 in Uncategorized |