Superior National Forest Overview

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Superior National Forest
Superior National Forest (courtesy, Explore Minnesota Tourism)
Superior National Forest

Contact Details
Superior National Forest
8901 Grand Ave Place
Duluth, MN 55808
Phone: 218-626-4300

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They don't call Minnesota the "land of 10,000 lakes" without good reason. Exemplifying the nickname, Superior National Forest contains more than 445,000 acres of water. It is located on the border of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota.

The most heavily used wilderness area in America is located within the forest. It is called the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which resulted from the melting of glaciers during the late Ice Age. This vast area of water contains more than 1,200 miles of canoe routes and more than 1,000 lakes and streams. But this doesn't mean that you are limited to water sports when you visit Superior.

Superior's boreal, or northern, forest ecological community is the largest of its kind in the eastern United States. Its forest is dense with crisp fir, spruce, aspen, birch, and maple trees. Its wildlife typifies the Great Lake—moose, loons, black bears, and the rare but beautiful gray wolf.

Mountain Bike Timber/Frear/Cross River Lake
Compared to many other national forests, Superior's mountain biking facilities are far above average. Birch and aspen deck this route with their natural beauty. Huge rocks and invading vegetation challenge parts of this 30-mile rock gravel path, but accessible from the path are sparkling lakes and other splendors of the forest.

More on biking in Superior National Forest

Shout Mush!
In the spirit of the winter months, many venues in the area offer instruction in the art of dogsledding to any curious visitor. Dogsledding in Minnesota is legendary and quite special to the Superior region. As the sport has recently grown in popularity, many have elected to discover how to harness and mush through Superior's beautiful winter wonderland. Whether you try it out of curiosity or simply for the bragging rights, it is sure to be an experience you'll never forget.

More on dogsledding in Superior National Forest

Canoe the Boundary Waters
The cry of a loon, serene and immaculate waters, a moose and otter on a distant shore... imagine your paddle slowly and methodically driving you forward as you steer yourself along one of Superior's 1,000 glacier-formed lakes. Once explored by Native Americans, missionaries, and explorers via canoe, this impressive wilderness is decorated by waterfalls and sheer rock cliffs. For the wilderness canoeist, these 1,200 miles of paddling routes are pure and utter bliss.

Challenge the Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail is one of the best in Midwestern America. Surveying a sweeping view of Superior's beauty, this trail runs along a 1,000-foot-high ridgeline of scenery overlooking Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains. As you hike, make sure to take note of the spectacular cascades, waterfalls, and canyons. This narrow and rugged path is designed solely for the enjoyment and pleasure of hikers, and to gain a greater link with nature and humanity.

Ski the Pincushion Trail
The long winter in Minnesota has given locals a long time to perfect its snow sport facilities. Cross-country skiing, in particular, has become a specialty of those lucky enough to visit Superior National Forest. Considered by many to be the best cross-country trail in the area for both length and complexity, Pincushion Trail System is well-marked and groomed once a week. It has trails for skiers at all levels of ability.

More on cross-country skiing in Superior National Forest

Drive the Forest Mosaic
The Forest Mosaic drive begins on the Gun Flint Trail. As you motor along this road, you will be able to do more than just gawk at the beauty of Superior from a car. With the help of information packets, you will discover and experience the ecology of the forest. Superior's diverse wildlife is also easily accessible, as are its various species of trees and plant life. You will also pick up some knowledge about the evolutionary repercussions of fire and logging.

More on scenic driving in Superior National Forest

Fish Minnesota's Northern Lakes
Many say that Minnesota is one of the best fishing destinations in the United States. And, as countless anglers have found out, much of Minnesota's best fishing is in Superior National Forest. Though many people flock to Superior specifically for the fishing, the forest's vastness allows for the serenity and peace of secluded angling spots. From spring to fall, fishers enjoy the supply of brown, rainbow, and native brook trout. Also abundant is the walleye and northern pike, while some rivers boast of steelhead in the spring and salmon in the fall.

Camp at Trails End Campground
Renowned among locals as one of the most picturesque of all of Superior's campgrounds, Trails End offers superb camping opportunities. Much of the campground overlooks Seagull Lake below and the emerald pines above, making many sites a remarkable experience. Another thing to remember is that blueberry season in Minnesota is mouth watering—don't forget your pans for morning pancakes.

Discover the Gray Wolf
Superior National Forest is one of the last places in the States where endangered species of wolves are still active. Approximately 300 to 400 gray wolves still live in the area today, giving the forest a large enough population to effectively preserve the gray wolf. Now there are offices within the forest boundaries that are dedicated solely to the conservation of the entire wolf species. Although you may be lucky enough to see one in the wild, you may have a better chance to experience the gray wolf at the International Wolf Center in Ely. Here, you can not only learn plenty about the wolf's condition in its natural habitat but actually watch some wolf pups in captivity as they frolic and grow.


Published: 22 Oct 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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