Northern Minnesota has some amazing state parks – if you’ve never been, GO!
One I am particularly bias about is Jay Cooke State Park in Carlton. My parents took me and my older brothers here as kids to play in the St. Louis River and hop on all the huge boulders – I’m not sure this is authorized anymore but the 90’s were a different story – HAH!
There are 50 miles of summer hiking trails and for the winter go-getter 32 miles of xx-skiing trails or 7 miles of snow shoe trails if you’re in to that like I am.
You’ll start at the visitors center – get a State Park Pass ($7.00/day) and find a parking spot. Walking across the swinging bridge is where it all starts – seriously it started out as logs and ropes The Forest Service put into place in 1924. Obviously its been rebuilt since then, a couple of times at that due to HUGE F****** floods in 1950 and 2012. From there its up to you if you’d like to go left or right on to the trails. There’s a little map on a wood post at every trails intersection to get you through the park. There is even a portion of The Superior Trail that runs through Jay Cooke so keep your eye out for backpackers!
Make sure you have bug spray and sunscreen as you’ll be coursing from shady river bottoms to sunshine filled cliff tops. Also there are these cute little covered picnic area’s for lunch, and campsites and cabins available for the over-nighters ($23 regular season/$17 off season).
Aside from hiking and camping there is white water rafting, biking, bird watching, and a pioneer cemetery within the park as well.
If you’ve been, do tell!!