Hiking is a free and easy way to experience the magic of Cook County, and there’s no shortage of trails to explore! These three favorites are perfect for hikers of all ages and experience levels, with beautiful views and unique features you’ll want to come back to again and again.
Artist Point and the Lighthouse
This convenient hike is a must if you’re spending time in Grand Marais. The trail begins behind the coastguard station, and then it’s time to choose your own adventure. Turn left to Artist Point, or right to the lighthouse. If you go left to the point you can follow a trail through the woods, or explore your own way by trekking across the ancient lava flows that have hardened to basalt (be careful!). The path to the lighthouse is more modern with some concrete walkways, but there are many natural nooks and crannies to explore leading to fantastic views of Grand Marais and the Sawtooth Mountains.
This is an easy hike through the woods that offers some of the best vistas of Lake Superior in the county. The trail begins from the north side of the parking lot at the overlook just a couple miles up the Gunflint Trail on CR 53. Follow signs for the Superior Hiking Trail. This area contains a large number of trails for skiing and mountain biking, so bring a quality map if you intend to stray off the main SHT path. The Pincushion Mountain spur is about 1.7 miles from the parking lot, and you will be rewarded with incredible views of Lake Superior, the Sawtooth ridge, Grand Marais, and even the local dairy farm. If you’re looking for a longer and more challenging hike, continue following the Superior Hiking Trail to the steep Devil Track River gorge.
Devil Track River Canyon
This hike offers an almost Southwestern vibe with views of a deep river canyon and beautiful pine forests. Venture a few miles northeast of Grand Marais on Highway 61 and take the Lindskog Rd (CR 58) about a mile to a small Superior Hiking Trail parking lot on the left side of the road. Hang right on the trail and after a quick jaunt through a birch forest you will find yourself on the edge of the canyon. Be careful as you enjoy the viewing areas along the trail – there are no railings. Continuing on you will soon come to a bridge crossing a tributary, a great stopping point for a short hike. This is the same trail as the Pincushion Mountain trail, about 5 miles in total between the two parking areas. As the trail continues on it gets more challenging with rolling terrain until a steep drop down into the canyon to a beautiful A-frame bridge across Devil Track River.