Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Travel Tuesday's - Take a Trip to Minnesota - Lake Superior Area

Today is the first of what will now be a weekly series I plan to call Travel Tuesday's.  I love to travel, and as I am working on my marathon journey across America, I am visiting some amazing well known and less known locations.  So I thought of an idea to share them on my blog, so others can decide if a specific place should be added to their "one day" travel list.

This series will feature a little bit of any of these things:  Fabulous places to visit, Spectacular travel destinations, Great hiking trails.  Some weeks I will showcase a destination, other weeks I may just pick a specific hike or location.  Most will be within the United States, but occasionally a few may not.  So as my readers I hope you will enjoy these posts, feel free to ask any questions you have, or make additional suggestions or recommendations.

Today I would like to take you on a tour of things to do in Minnesota - Specifically the Lake Superior Area near Duluth and all along the coastal region of Lake Superior northward toward Canada.

Splitrock Lighthouse - One of the most photographed
Lighthouses in the country I have been told.




Along lake Superior you can expect to see beautiful breathtaking views.  Several lighthouses of different kinds, some of which you can even tour.  Dramatic cliff side drops, waterfalls small and large hidden in lush green forests.

On a calm day, the lake will appear similar to most other lakes (except much larger).  But on a windy or stormy day, you can expect fog, or waves crashing up onto this cliff side.  I have heard some of the worst storms bring these huge waves crashing in up to 30 feet high.  (Almost makes you feel like you are at an ocean:)





Along the coast of Lake Superior


Let's start in Duluth and work our way north.  When I visited Duluth I found a cute city town built on basically a mountain side.  For colder days, and winter days they have an indoor skywalk system that allows you to walk pretty much anywhere you would want to go from your hotel to other city locations and even lake front, while staying heated and dry but still being able to see the views of the city by window.

The town also has trails and walkways near the lake and city parks, that will allow you to go miles without getting bored.  You can sit and watch the famous bridge go up, and the large ships come in, or hike along the rocky shoreline.




Take the scenic drive along Lake Superior and only a few miles outside the city the forest and hiking adventures can begin.  I had a blast pulling out at the different stops, taking a short or longer hike to different waterfalls and lighthouse sights.  Upon arriving there, I had no idea how much there was to explore and how much more time I would wish I would have had:)

Make sure to bring your camera, and I recommend bringing a lens cloth, as it can be humid and foggy one hour and clear and beautiful the next.  (It's always good to be prepared:)






No matter if you enjoy a short hike or a longer hike.  This area provides both.  As you drive further north up the coast you will see many different pullouts for viewpoints.  Short hikes to breathtaking waterfalls that are less than a half a mile, to a couple miles round trip.  There is something for everyone who loves the outdoors.

Foggy river outlet into the lake - Early morning

Gooseberry Falls Area from a distance out on the hiking trail

Lake Superior Coastal View


I took well over 100 photographs on my trip, so it was a little hard to just post a few.  But I tried to select a few of different varieties and different locations along my time hiking and exploring the coastal area's here.

This is another view of some of the Gooseberry Falls

I did a little hiking a bit way up further north, about an hour
from the Canadian boarder.  I found this beautiful canyon with
Easy hiking trails, to moderate hiking (uphill).
This particular waterfall is visible right from the scenic
Hwy, so this one is perfect for anyone to see.

Although I am a bit more of a hiker, if I had more time I would have likely chartered a sailboat and went out on a lake cruise.  Additionally, for those interested they also have fishing charters you can take.

This is a large little slot canyon you can hike out to on a short trail
cross a few bridges and see the beautiful canyon cut from this
river as it makes it way into the great lake.

This is one of the views that you can see from the splitrock
lighthouse overlook.
I took a self guided tour in the Splitrock lighthouse, and then walked the State Parks trails, and many staircase cliff side wood walkways.  (Let me tell ya, there are a lot of stairs to go from the top of these cliffs down to the bottom of the lake:)  I actually hiked these a day before a marathon, so thanks to all those stairs my rear was a bit sore to start the race:)  But it was worth it!

I think if I can ever make it back, I'd love to stay in one of those
cabins you can see hidden in the woods above the river.
At least for a day or two, aside from the roaring river and waterfall
I think it would be absolutely peaceful!!!

It had actually just rained earlier in the day, which is why the river
water is so muddy in this picture.
Another view of Gooseberry Falls - There are lots of different
waterfalls that cascade down, you can hike out and around to all of
them quite easily.  There is a short loop trail (few miles) that you can
take that will allow you to see all the different sight views.

I had to hike back in a bit of a ways to see this set of waterfalls
But other than a little steep it wasn't bad at all.  Especially since
it was so beautiful and worth it!
This is was taken in the town of Duluth - I snapped this
picture one evening - This was actually my dinner view
Beautiful and peaceful, huh!

This lighthouse was about a 20 minute drive north of Duluth
if you can't guess, I love lighthouses!!!

Here is a little information on if you want to go:
*  You may be able to find a direct flight to Duluth - But if you are like me, it wasn't an option.  So I flew into Minneapolis and then took a short connecting flight to Duluth.
*  There are many places to choose from to stay, and great hotels. If you don't want to stay in Duluth, you can always stay in a nearby city or campground.
*  Also, if you go you are a hop skip and a jump from Wisconsin - It's literally across the bridge from Duluth:)
*  Although it takes a few hours from Duluth, you can drive the coast all the way up to the Canadian Boarder
*  If you like to visit National Parks - Isle Royale is in the Northwest Corner of Lake Superior - However, you'll need to take a boat to get there.  They have cruise options available.
*  They do occasionally get crazy weather here, and it isn't uncommon for heavy fog to roll in, so be careful if when you take your rental car out and bad weather rolls in.  It's smarter to pull over a few minutes and let the storm pass.  (I had to do this a couple of times.)  However, I also noticed it would pour and then be beautifully sunny a few hours later.  So be prepared for sun, rain, hail and fog.  (I was there 6 days and I saw a little of all of this.)
*  When hiking it wouldn't hurt to carry bug spray.  I didn't need it, but with all the water MN gets, I would imagine it would be better to be safe than sorry.
*  They also have Zoo's, museums, aquariums and many recreation attractions in the area besides just hiking and sightseeing.
*  Last if you are a runner, I highly recommend the Grandma's Marathon (or half) that they host in June in Duluth.  This was actually the race that brought me to this beautiful little gem of a hikers and explorers paradise.



I love to travel, and explore so I hope you will come by each week and check out my new Travel Tuesdays.  No matter where you have plans to go, I hope you are able to get out and enjoy the outdoors!  There is so much beauty and a lifetime will never be enough to see it all!  Happy Tuesday All!

4 comments :

  1. Beautiful pictures! I may have just checked Google maps to see how far away this is from my house. I don't think Allan would be too thrilled about a 15-hour drive so I'd have to find somewhere in between that would be fun to visit too.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! Ya, a 15 hour drive would be way too long:) I bet there are lots of awesome places a bit closer to home:)

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  2. I love Minnesota! I've been to splitrock lighthouse once and remember it being absolutely beautiful! The hiking around Dultuh is awesome too!

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