Did you know that the highest point in Minnesota is located in Cook County? Eagle Mountain is our highest peak, at 2,301 feet. It is located within the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness), but the trail head is only 20 miles from Grand Marais.
This past weekend we decided to take the 7 mile (round-trip) hike. You don’t need to get a permit ahead of time if you are doing a day hike; just be sure to fill out the self-issuing permit at the trail head/parking lot. It is a more difficult hike in that there are steep grades and rocky portions, but we didn’t find it overly strenuous as regular hikers. I would recommend going prepared, with good footwear and basic day-hike supplies. The first part of the hike is quite level and after three boardwalks, you’ll find yourself at Whale Lake. From there, the trail becomes quite steep for the remainder. There are a few good lookout spots on your way up, so you can enjoy spectacular views while you take a breather.
Another interesting part of this hike is that you may run into a “High Pointer.” These are enthusiasts that go around the country, visiting the high point of each state. We met one at the top from New York City! This was his 38th high point. I’m not sure that I’ll make it to all 50 states to visit the high points, but it’s pretty cool that Minnesota’s is practically in our backyard.
We thoroughly enjoyed this hike and would definitely do it again. The colors were just starting to come when we went this weekend, so in the next few weeks this hike will be even better!