Hike Lookout Mountain Trail in Cascade River State Park

Rate this Adventure 3.5 miles 529 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Joe Whitson

Discover amazing views of Superior National Forest and Lake Superior and see the deep trenches and many waterfalls of the Cascade River.

Halfway between Schroeder and Grand Marais, Cascade is usually little more than a pit stop on a longer trip. Since the main cascades are just a quarter mile from the highway, there is usually little incentive to further explore the 5300 acre park. However, those who take the time to wander around are rewarded by one of the most beautiful parks on the North Shore, if not the entire state.

The park encompasses two rivers, a large stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail, Lookout Mountain, and access to trails the penetrate deeper into the Sawtooth range. Cascade River and Cascade Creek are aptly named since both streams are made up of a series of falls descending nearly a thousand feet on their path to Lake Superior. The trails follow the rivers and meander around Lookout Mountains giving picturesque views of the water and surrounding forests. Like many parks in Minnesota, Cascade doesn't have some grand attraction, but provides a quiet beauty that takes time to appreciate. Take the time, it's worth it.

The hike to Lookout Mountain starts at the main trailhead on Hwy 61 (there is a parking lot) and begins by heading to the main cascades. This is as far as the majority of people go. You, however, are going to snap a few pictures of the falls and continue on up the trail. You'll follow the river for another half mile or so before breaking off the main trail and heading up to the mountain. I was here in the autumn and the mixture of green cedars and yellow aspen and ferns made the entire hike feel a little like an REI advertisement, but the hike would be great all summer long, though probably a little dangerous in the winter. The first half of this trail is well marked and leads you up to the peak (there is some backpacking campsites near the peak if you're interested), but the second half is less well marked and we ended up coming out at Cascade Lodge, a resort and restaurant, instead of back in the park. If this happens, don't worry. Just go get a drink at the restaurant and walk the quarter mile down the road back to your parking spot. If you do manage to follow the trial back, pat yourself on the back and head back up to Cascade Lodge anyways.

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Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Gorgeous hike in the fall with a supremely rewarding view from the top!

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