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North Shore Adventures: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Paddling from Duluth to Grand Portage

North Shore Adventures: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Paddling from Duluth to Grand Portage

by Katie Berg


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Step out of your car and into adventure!

Minnesota’s North Shore is a paradise of trails, waterways, and scenic beauty. It’s meant to be explored. No one knows this better than local author and outdoors enthusiast Katie Berg. She has hiked, biked, and paddled her way through the entire region. Now, she’s sharing the best trips with you. If your idea of fun involves hiking boots, bicycles, or kayaks, grab this guidebook and gear up! You’ll be introduced to more than 40 options for outdoor adventure. From pedaling one of the Midwest’s top-rated bike parks at Spirit Mountain to paddling along the shoreline of the Lake Superior Water Trail, experience the adventures that this unparalleled region has to offer. Each featured outing includes maps, full-color photographs, driving directions, and a detailed description, so you know what to expect on every trip. Plus, if you seek extreme adventure, this guidebook includes bonus destinations for climbing and scuba diving. With North Shore Adventures at your fingertips, you’ll always know what to do and where to do it!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591937586
Publisher: Adventure Publications, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/14/2018
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 701,800
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

After moving to Duluth, Minnesota, for college, Katie Berg never left. While working her way through undergraduate and graduate school, she served as a climbing instructor for a small local climbing gym. At the same time, she explored northern Minnesota (and the rest of the world) on foot, in a kayak and canoe, in a climbing harness, and underwater as a diver for almost 15 years. Currently, she is a college writing teacher and a dance competition coach and choreographer. She still finds time to serve on her local climber coalition board while enjoying as many Type 2 fun outdoor activities as she can.

Read an Excerpt

St. Louis River Estuary

Getting There & Parking There are multiple ways to access the estuary, but two of the best places to enter are listed below.

Chambers Grove Park

GPS Coordinates: 46° 39.60' N, 92° 16.98' W

If you’re coming from the south on I-35, you can take the Midway Road exit (exit 246) and head south on Midway, which becomes Becks Road. Follow this for 4.5 miles to MN 23 and take a right. Proceed for about 4 miles to where MN 210 splits off from MN 23; in between these two roads is the access road to the public landing area and the parking lot.

If you’re coming from the north, you can take I-35 south and exit at MN 23 (exit 251B). Follow this for about 9 miles to where MN 210 splits off from MN 23; in between these two roads is the access road to the public landing area and the parking lot.

This access will drop you off into the St. Louis River Estuary.

This is also where the Mission Creek Mountain Biking Trails begin.

Spirit Lake Marina

GPS Coordinates: 46° 707' N, 92°204' W

If coming from the north on I-35, take the MN 23/Grand Avenue exit. Follow 23/Grand Avenue until you can take a left on to Spring Street. Spring Street leads directly to the Spirit Lakes Marina, where you’ll find the parking lot.

If coming from the south on I-35, take the Cody Street exit (exit 251A). Stay straight on Cody Street, then turn right on to North 63rd Avenue West for a little over 0.5 mile. Take a right onto Grand Avenue/MN 23. Follow 23/Grand Avenue for 2.2 miles and then take a left onto Spring Street. Spring Street leads directly to the Spirit Lake Marina, where you’ll find the parking lot.

This is one of the main entrance points for several of the guiding services in the area. That said, it’s a little busier since it’s a full marina.

This marina has direct access into Spirit Lake.

Specific Equipment, Safety, & Access Information Compared to Lake Superior, the St. Louis River Estuary is far calmer than the big lake. It’s therefore a safer place for canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and sit-on-top kayaks. That being said, the water is still cold and there is often commercial traffic. Make sure you’re aware of commercial boat traffic laws.

Details The Chambers Grove Park is an excellent water access point for a gorgeous, relatively quiet chunk of the St. Louis River Estuary. Depending on how long you want to paddle, you have a couple of options. If you want to paddle all day, you can paddle up the shore from the landing all the way to Spirit Lake. Both the Minnesota and Wisconsin sides have beautiful shoreline that’s very similar to paddling in the Boundary Waters. You might hear the industry since you’re close to Superior, but right along the water there is undeveloped public land and great little areas to see wildlife and birds, thanks to the Superior Municipal Forest. The trip from Chambers Landing all the way up and around Spirit Lake is a solid full day of paddling, so make sure you’re prepared with food, snacks, and lights in case you get caught in the dark on your way back. 

If you drop in from the Spirit Mountain Marina, you’re dropping into Spirit Lake itself. This allows you to explore Spirit Lake, which is actually a wide point in the St. Louis River, without doing a longer out-and-back paddle. A really unique place to explore in Spirit Lake is Clough Island. This is a great island open to the public; there are a few little landing beaches for kayakers who want a break to land and explore. Once home to a large farm and a mansion (which are gone today), there are no real trails on the island. The site is well known for its beautiful untouched habitat and birdwatching. 

If you want a shorter paddle, just doing an out-and-back around that area along the Minnesota shoreline is a gorgeous paddle in its own right. This can be a quick 1–2 hour paddle.

Table of Contents



Hiking Introduction

  • Jay Cooke State Park
  • Minnesota Point
  • Superior Hiking Trail: Magney-Snively to Ely’s Peak Loop
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • Superior Hiking Trail: Split Rock River Loop
  • Superior Hiking Trail: Bean & Bear Lakes Loop
  • Tettegouche State Park: Tettegouche Lakes
  • Superior Hiking Trail: Section 13
  • Temperance River State Park
  • Superior Hiking Trail: Oberg Mountain
  • Superior Hiking Trail: Carlton Peak
  • Superior National Forest: Divide Lake
  • Judge C.R. Magney State Park/Superior Hiking Trail; Devil’s Kettle & Brule River
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Eagle Mountain
  • Gunflint Trail: Magnetic Rock Trail
  • Gunflint Trail to Border Route Trail: Caribou Rock Trail
  • Grand Portage State Park: Middle Falls

Biking Introduction

  • Jay Cooke State Park
  • Spirit Mountain
  • Chester Park
  • Enger Park
  • Hartley Nature Center
  • Lester Park
  • Mission Creek
  • Piedmont and Brewer’s Park
  • Britton Peak/Sugarbush Ski Area (Tofte)
  • Pincushion Mountain (Grand Marais)

Climbing Introduction

  • City of Duluth: The Alternative Living Cave (ALC)
  • Tettegouche State Park: Shovel Point
  • Tettegouche State Park: Palisade Head
  • Sawmill Dome (located near the Superior Hiking Trail)

Paddling Introduction

  • St. Louis River Estuary
  • Duluth Harbor
  • Brighton Beach & Kitchi Gammi Park
  • McQuade Small Craft Harbor
  • Split Rock Lighthouse
  • Tettegouche State Park
  • Lake Superior State Water Trail

Diving Introduction

  • Madeira Shipwreck
  • Hesper Shipwreck at Silver Bay
  • Lake Ore-Be-Gone
  • Isle Royale National Park Shipwrecks

The Best of the North Shore

About the Author

Customer Reviews