The snow is melting and warmer temps are on the way, but the lazy days of summer are months away. What’s there to do? Plenty, as it turns out. Learn about the unique pleasures of this in-between season in Northeast Minnesota.
Farther north on the Canadian border, tumbling over the Sawtooth mountains of Cook County, High Falls in Grand Portage State Park is a sight to behold. At 120 feet, it is the tallest waterfall in Minnesota.
Can't wait to hit the trails? Grand Rapids and the Iron Range are home to world-class mountain biking experiences for all skill levels. Tioga, Redhead and Giants Ridge are built on rocky hills and canyons, so they are likely to dry up sooner than other biking areas. As always, check trail conditions before you ride, though.
Cozy lodging and year-round camping are on-tap in these cities, along with nearby breweries, dining and attractions.
In the Superior National Forest of Cook County, explore miles of gravel roads or test out your technical skills on the singletrack Jackpot Trail in Tofte.
Migrate to See Birds
Skyline Drive in Proctor is the home of one of the premier spring bird migration sites in North America, with 25,000 raptors and thousands of other birds. The vast expanse of Lake Superior beckons to them below.
Northeast Minnesota is home to the state's best walleye fishing on the ice or open water. Explore Crane,Vermilion and Rainy lakes for late-season panfishing on the ice or the first catch of the season during the walleye opener in May. Full-service or rustic resorts cater to your every need, and small-town hospitality abounds in the communities of Crane Lake, Tower and International Falls.
Take an early season paddle in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness near Ely and experience not only the stunning natural beauty of the glacier-carved lakes and forests, but the stars and maybe even the northern lights in the world's largest certified Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Trails for all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles and off-highway vehicles open at varying times in the north, typically April and May. But some trails are open year-round, including those in the Iron Range Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, the Northern Traxx Trail, and the Ranger Trail, all on the Iron Range. To the north, the trails of the Crane Lake area create a network of connections that bring you deep into the woods. Resorts, lodging and camping in both areas keep you close to the trails and area dining. Be sure to check with the Department of Natural Resources for trail closures, licensing and trail pass information before you trailer up.
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