The Gunflint Trail – Where the Road Ends and Adventure Begins

One of the most eagerly stated things someone in Minnesota can say is “I just got back from the Gunflint Trail”. To be able to say this, tells your audience that you know what Minnesota is all about and you have an appetite for adventure.

The Gunflint Trail meanders 57 miles through Cook County and is officially marked as Cook County Highway 12. It starts in Grand Marais, MN (about 110 miles Northeast of Duluth on Highway 61) and ends at Saganaga Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe and Wilderness Area – near the Canadian Border. When you reach the end of the trail, you have traveled 57 miles on one of the most scenic highways in the country.

The Gunflint Trail began as a footpath to connect the inland lakes with Lake Superior.. Over time, this path was widened to a paved road that now hosts lodges and outfitters and provides access to numerous lakes and trails.

When most people think of the Gunflint Trail, they mainly think of staying at one of the great lodges in the area or canoeing in the Boundary Waters. Another option deserving more consideration is hiking. This area boasts many great hiking options.

There are trails to suit everyone’s abilities and interests. Some examples –

  • Eagle Mountain – Hike up to Minnesota’s highest point at 2,301 feet above sea level and enjoy incredible vistas of the Boundary Waters Canoe and Wilderness Area
  • Wild Flower Interpretive Hike – a mile hike along the Devil Track River displaying a variety of native and non-native wild flowers, trees, shrubs and grasses
  • Kimball Lake Fishing Trail – an easy 2 mile hike located just 11 miles up the Gunflint Trail that takes you to designated trout lake
  • Superior Hiking Trail – the Supeior Hiking Trail and the Gunflint Trail cross just a couple of miles outside of Grand Marais.
  • Border Route – 70 miles of moderate to difficult hiking through the BWCA. Many access point to the trail in the area.
  • Kekekabic Trail – the trailhead to this 37 mile long distance hike through the BWCAW is located 48 miles up the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais

All of these just scratch the surface of the outdoor activities and hiking options in the Gunflint Trail area.