Hollow Rock Grand Portage

Icy Adventures Await in Northeast Minnesota

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Hollow Rock, Grand Portage / John Heino

Icy Adventures Await in Northeast Minnesota

By Minnesota Arrowhead Committee

If you've ever marveled at the untamed, majestic power of waves and waterfalls, wait until you've experienced them encased with a white veneer, frozen by a greater force: winter. Here are some places to see northern Minnesota's icy wonders in a new way.

Voyageurs National Park entrance in winter

Voyageurs National Park entrance in winter / Abdiel Nieves

See Vermilion Falls on a trip to Voyageurs National Park. A short hike (1/4-mile roundtrip) along the Vermilion River will take you to a spot where the water pours through a 10-foot-wide gap between granite walls, a vision to behold in any weather. The river then passes through the Vermilion Gorge before it empties into Crane Lake, where you can continue your winter adventure as the roads end and the nation's waterways begin.

Take in the sight of mighty Lake Superior from the rare vantage point of a kayak. When conditions are right, Duluth Daytripper offers iceberg kayaking with seasoned guides. You'll embark from Duluth's iconic Canal Park or Brighton Beach for a once-in-a-lifetime paddle in the icy waters of the big lake.

Winter kayaking on Lake Superior

Winter kayaking on Lake Superior / Brianna Murphy

Hike or snowshoe the trails of Lake County along Lake Superior, north of Duluth. You'll find frozen waterfalls, ice-coated trees and other beautiful scenery all along the majestic North Shore. Popular destinations include Tettegouche, Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse state parks.

If you've never driven on a frozen lake, the ice roads of Voyageurs National Park are the perfect place to have this thrilling experience. The Rainy Lake Ice Road or the Kabetogama Ice Road can be a great introduction to the frozen wonders of winter. Just be sure to follow the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' safety tips and rules.

Man and dog at Superior Hiking Trail overlook

Sunset on the Superior Hiking Trail / Alyssa Hei

Know Before You Go

  • A vehicle permit is required to enter Minnesota state parks. Save time by ordering one online before you arrive at the park.
  • For comfort and safety on the trail, be sure everyone has appropriate footwear (tennis shoes, not flip-flops).
  • Bring a water bottle for each hiker as well as plenty of sunscreen, bug spray and snacks.
  • Pick up a paper map at the park office or load a GeoPDF map before you leave (don’t rely on your phone to navigate because cell and Internet service may not be available in the woods).
  • The accessible trails at Minnesota state parks are stroller friendly as well as wheelchair friendly.
  • Some Minnesota state parks have all-terrain electric wheelchairs for use on unpaved trails.
  • If your dog will be hiking with you, keep it on a leash and clean up after it.
  • Don't pick wildflowers or otherwise disturb the landscape. "Take only photos, leave only footprints."
Minnesota Arrowhead Committee

Minnesota Arrowhead Committee is a coalition of travel/tourism and commerce organizations working together to promote the Arrowhead region of northeast Minnesota as a vacation destination.