Roundtrip: 5 km
Location: Grand Marais, MN
This trail is part of the Superior Hiking Trail and is the only part which is directly on the shoreline of Lake Superior. This is one of those hikes everyone should do sometime for the sheer pleasure of such an extended stretch of beach-combing. If you enjoy this hike please let me know by using the form at the bottom of this page.
Walking on cobblestone beach can be surprisingly tiring as the terrain shifts under each step. The trail sign shows the trail is 1.5 miles (2.4km) but going out to every point I found it was longer.
From the Pigeon River border crossing continue south on Highway 61 for 46.6 km. On the lake side of the road you will see a Grand Portage State Forest sign just before the Superior Hiking Trail sign. Park on the wide shoulder across from the sign.
From the parking spot on the highway the trail heads to the beach through a short forest trail. When you come out on the beach you will see two small volcanic islands. One is offshore and has no trees, but the second is very close to shore and you can easily wade the few feet to get onto it.
Continuing past the island you cross areas of boulders, crescent beaches and lava beds. Along the way you can find Thomsonite that is a semiprecious stone used in jewelry. The third crescent beach has a sign at the 1 mile (1.6 km) mark where you can see remnants of the old Highway 61.
The fourth crescent begins at 1.5 miles (2.4 km) with another offshore island. Before the end of the fourth crescent watch for a trail marker in the bushes at the edge of the beach marking the end of the hike. Return the way you came.