Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Minnesota with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice little suburban trail - very underused but kept up nicely. On a few spots you can see a road or some houses, but for the most part it is private and has lots of different types of trees and scenery. Almost makes you forget you are in a city. The loops are broken up into 3 trails so you can mix and match depending on how long you want to hike or how much time you have. There is a park at the trailhead with parking and portable stalls. My kids enjoy this one, pretty relaxing hike. Good spot to see some wildlife. Occasionally you will see some bikers on the trail but everyone has been respectful. I have gone back a few times, it's a nice little hike.

We actually did a loop starting with the Humpback Trail then connected with the Manitou River Trail campsite #6 is a great place to stop and have a snack... great rock to rest on...campsite number 10 is perfectly beautiful...the trail is rugged... sometimes it just disappears and you have to bushwhack your own path.. climbing over trees and under or whatever in between...
I think about campsite #12 we took off on the Matt Willis Trail and continued onto the Lake Benson trail around the west side of the lake... once you get to this trail it’s a piece of cake a boardwalk all the way around the lake until you get to the road which takes you back to the parking lot. The trail is moderately hard just because the footing is difficult... ferns cover the path sometimes waist high,(so you can’t always see where your foot is going)ground was pretty moist, slippery uneven rocky trail... otherwise not too difficult... went the end of June we had a perfect weather window... it started raining as we left... we had the place to ourselves

4 months ago

Just finished the loop this past weekend for 4 days,3 nights. Went with the same 2 guys as before. Could easily have made it 2 nights (hike out the last day instead of staying right near the fork). The trail was in excellent condition. I had a Fenix 5x gps watch and map/compass. Note the devils cascade site was occupied by canoers, something I'm guessing happens quite a bit.

We hiked this section in August from Lutsen down to Temperance River State Park. Our journey included Oberg Mountain and Carleton Peak over 2 days. Great views of Lake Superior from various points along the route. More elevation change along this section than most anywhere else along the SHT.

When you visit the Grand Portage National Monument you'll notice a signpost just behind the fort for the "Grand Portage" itself. This is the beginning of the actual portage the fur traders used to transport their canoes and goods between Lake Superior and the old Fort Charlotte on the Pigeon River that is the border between the US and Canada.

The portage is 8.5 miles and for those willing to walk in the shoes (or moccasins) of the ancient explorers this is a nice day hike in and back from the fort at Grand Portage to the old Fort Charlotte site and back.

The hike starting at the Lake Superior fort and back will take approximately 7 hours, so its a full day hike, but if you want to make it shorter you can start at the portage crossover point on either Old Highway 61 or Cowboys Road. This will cut the hiking time considerably without losing any of the scenery or historical perspective of what the explorers went through.

The trail itself is quite wide and very well maintained. I hiked it a few days after a half inch rain and during a rain storm, so the path was quite muddy. This trail does not handle rain well so you won't enjoy this hike unless its dry, but when dry you can move quickly and easily. The footing is good and there are very few steep areas. You will not find vista views, but the forest, marsh and wildlife is abundant. I didn't see any moose, but there were a lot of footprints on the trail and the grouse were everywhere.

Once you get to the old Fort Charlotte site there are picnic tables, tent platforms and a nice canoe landing for the Pigeon River. This is a great place for lunch or a snack to take in the history and sounds of this ancient trail. I was welcomed by a group of swans that took flight when I arrived. The parks service also has a set of informative signs that take about the fort, the portage and it;s history.

I applaud the park service for keeping this trail in excellent shape. There were several places that you could see the work being done on maintaining the trail adding or fixing walkways and building steps. You really get the sense that this portage must have been extremely difficult when carrying long and large canoes and heavy packs. I hiked this in September and there were really no bugs to deal with, but I can image that bugs could be oppressive during the summer and certainly a few hundred years ago for the voyagers.

I'd recommend this hike for it's historic significance. This has been an active trail and trade routes for several hundred years or more. It's a good hike to add in with a hike to Eagle Mountain or if you're hiking sections of the Superior Hiking Trail, and if you don't want to do the whole Grand Portage start at Old Highway 61 or Cowboy Rd.

6 months ago

It was more than just some Moderat trail it was actually pretty good

6 months ago




While canoeing Disappointment Lake we came across 5 lost hikers that were walking in the lake along the shoreline; we ended up transporting them and their kit to a portage/(Little part) of the trail that still exists. Turns out they tried hiking this trail, got lost in the blowdown, and then made the decision try and find their way out in the lake as compared to fighting the woods on a trail that is buried..

Everyone in the group was drenched, it had been raining the past 36 hours, lucky for them the temps were in the low 60's... Still a recipe for disaster..

Giving a 1 star because there is not a skull and crossbones..

Pretty good overall, but the last 7-8 miles of the hike (which ends at George Manitou state park) was fairly uneventful with little to see. Mostly just a trail leading through the timber with very thick growth all around and a ton of mud to hike through!
I'm more of a waterfall or scenic overlook kinda guy! Definitely tired us out though, but with 275 more miles of the SHT to explore, I won't be back to this stretch of it. Saw nearly zero wildlife...a few chipmunks and squirrels round out the list!

They say the trails in Crosby-Manitou are rugged. Believe them. Trail is hard to follow in some places, overgrown, downed trees, steep ascents and descents. Well worth it.

amazing trail. amazing views.

My son and I are prepping for the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico so we won't be able to replicate the elevation that the southern Rocky Mountains have but with backpacks and a speedier pace, it's not a bad trail. We were unable to locate the end of the trail to have our car dropped off so we could be dropped off at the trailhead. So for the route, we planned for 5 miles in and 5 miles back. However, plans quickly changed when we hit just over 2 miles in and there were ticks crawling up our boots. It's a known fact that Scoutmaster Brian tends to forget one item whenever he leaves for a Boy Scout-related event and it happened to be the insect repellent.

The trail is easy to spot but the grass is about ankle high and ticks like that. If you plan to go, definitely spray on decent insect repellent both on your body and clothes. Besides ticks, there are a lot of horseflies and mosquitoes. We altered our hike to head down a eastbound road just after the two mile mark. Even that was nice with some beautiful views of lakes and fields. For the next trip, we will make sure we follow the Boy Scout motto and "Be Prepared!"

Friday, December 23, 2016

The best weekend hike in the BWCA. Check the amount of permits out the weekend you go. It's best done counter clockwise. If you get there and see cars in the lot you may want to do it in the clockwise direction. The best sites are on found going counter clockwise, which is the way most people do it. You have three choices that way.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Just got back from a completing the loop in 3 days/2 nights. Great trail. Easily followed except for a few areas. Note that the Swamp crossing on the east side of angleworm lake is litterally a beaver dam crossing. NOT a bridge of any sort. It must have washed out or something. We took a 45 min detour because we didnt think the dam was the crossing. Beautiful trail, lots of ups and downs. Little bit of everything. In my opinion the West side of the lake was a nicer/ more scenic hike. We stayed at whiskey jack campsite and the west angleworm camp that is just across the lake from another campsite. Whiskey Jacks site was great, poor fishing, and a bit chilly due to facing north. Angleworm west was a awesome site. water was a little bit away from camp but not bad. Caught an eater northern angleworm.

Friday, November 04, 2016

I have competed this trail 3 times and have just done a in and back for a short weekend twice. This is a trail that can be somewhat challenging with the ups and down, but the views and changes in scenery are amazing. The campsites are all very nice, if you get the chance, plan to stay at the Whisky Jack campsite. I would stay away from the one at the end of Home Lake, just because it is off the water and in the wood where the bugs are a little heavy. The trail is well worn and there is very little chance of getting off trial. On the weekends in the summer you can see a little traffic on that lake, so if you are into the solitude aspect, I would suggest going on a weekday. I will continue to go back to this trail just because it is a great hike and easily done in a weekend.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

It was a great hike in the first week of October. Spent 2 nights there. Beautiful reflection during sunrise and sunset. We camped right on the lake. Most part pretty easy to follow the trail. Only a couple spots are a bit confusing. Overall, a great 2-3 day causal hike.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Did a partial weekend trip up to little shell with 3 hikers, Myselff with good experience, one with quite a few trips, one with minimal backpacking but much canoe experience. Bring a map and compass and know how to use them as this a a relatively primitive trail. Get a good DNR map NOT the printable ones online. Watch for rock cairns and sawn trees. These are the ONLY markers. Comparing this to the SHT, it is much more "out there" meaning you are litterally in the the bush with, at some points, a very tight trail that can be easily lost. With that said it has been my favorite backpacking trail I have done, definately will be back to do the full. Note that the campsite along the first portage is impassable due to the portage being flooded 1/2 through, unless you like wading 4' water/

Friday, September 16, 2016

Check the local postings about this one! There was a windstorm in July, and this trail is not yet fully clear. We hiked as far as we could (probably only about 2 miles in and back round trip) since we were there. This and the other nearby trail are not well groomed--we could tell the the often narrow trail isn't heavily used. We wouldn't recommend it in low light even when clear of the tree debris. We will try again, though, when the downed trees are removed and hopefully augment our review! Gorgeous area.

We did this hike in June, and only the Oberg Mountain section, but the views were absolutely beautiful. The hike has more elevation than most in the area, but we took our time as there are such great views as you round each bend. Very stunning, and not too strenuous. Definitely worth the drive from Duluth.

There were several fallen trees across the path, in numerous places, which made it difficult. And the mosquitos were the worst I've ever seen. That was in July.

It was a nice country trail with varied elevation.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Beautiful trail in Chester Woods Park outside of Rochester, MN. Traill starts off in meadow land with plenty of varieties of wildflowers. Then it descends into a beautiful forested area with another meadowland about half way. The trail then winds back around following the river through thick forest. Awesome hike with plenty of flora and fauna to view.

For MN hiking at lower elevations this is moderate difficulty but if you are used to high elevation hiking it is easy.

Friday, May 13, 2016

I liked turtles, but not after this...

Sunday, May 08, 2016

This is a great weekend hike! Had fun crossing the beaver damn on the southeast side.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Awesome trip. A challenging trail with a lot of ups and downs, but gorgeous scenery and very peaceful. I plan on coming back and doing it again with the Disappointment loop next time.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The map of the trail is a least 10 years old and does not come out on the Fernberg Road. I was through there in 2005 and at that time the trail headed south from the parking lot south of Snowbank Lake. If you are going to charge for this serice you should stay current with your maps.
The trail is great and I'm going there in a week. I've hiked it about 6 times and I enjoy it every time.

Very nice climb and views. I've hiked it in the summer and snowshoed in winter. Very accessible and the switchbacks make it a pretty easy climb.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Combined this loop with portions of the Disappointment Lake loop to the east for a 27 mile 3-day remote and challenging backpacking trip with a couple companions. Again, the trail is beautiful, especially the northern and north-eastern portions with great overlooks of Snowbank Lake from high granite ridges. However, since I was here 4 years ago, the trail has become much more overgrown (whether due to a very wet spring this year, or lack of maintenance, I don't know), making navigation difficult and unclear at times, and footing somewhat treacherous (being often unable to see your footfalls). The portions on the Kekekabic and Disappointment trails were not nearly so overgrown. The water level was high, making most beaver dam and creek crossings challenging and many places mucky. Still well worth doing if you like a challenging and remote hike in the BWCA area (we didn't see another body the whole trip).

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