Mt. Josephine is one of many peaks in the Sawtooth Mountains, this one in particular has a 1,342ft elevation and is in the village of Grand Portage, MN. It takes just a couple turns off of scenic HWY 61 to get there. When the road comes to a “T” I highly recommend taking a quick right to see the Grand Portage National Monument before continuing north to the trail head. Its a super cool historic depot that used to serve as a fur trade center and played a part in Ojibwe history. If you have time to check it out its a great deal – its free!
The trail starts out fairly easy its a large path you’ll take for a 1/2 mile. Keep your eye out for the tiny little summit sign or you’ll miss your left turn up the mountain. Thats when it gets strenuous. You’ll gain 700ft of elevation in the next mile of short switchbacks. There is some random stuff like an old car body in the woods and a tree that looks like a toilet.
How weird does it sound that there are mountains in Minnesota? They may not be as tall as the rockies but they share the same difficulties on the trail and offer tons of room for activities. Some people can live in Minnesota their whole life and never know that northern Minnesota has such places (cough cough my boyfriend). Not only are there mountains but there is Lake Superior which looks like an ocean and similar to the coast of Maine in my opinion. You get an amazing view of the lake from the top of the mountain, I was told on a clear day you can see all the way to the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. We however chose to do the hike when it was below zero and partly cloudy so we had no such view. There is what looks to be remnants from an old house on the top and you can see in every direction.
Make sure you have good foot wear – since it was winter we made sure to have Yaktrax on our feet so we didn’t lose footing on the skinny trail. Also make sure you get the right size, mine are too big and they slide all over my foot, I still get great traction, they just have to be adjusted a lot. The hike is a little ass kicker but the views from the top are worth it. I’d love to see the North Shore from the top of Mt. Josephine in the Fall sometime. For now I’ll settle with February because I mean come on this is beautiful!
Have you ever been? I highly recommend it! All you need is to spare a few hours to take a 3 mile hike to see some beauty in Northern Minnesota. And I don’t know maybe bring some champagne and snacks and watch the sunset – make a date out of it!