Dec 05

Caribou Falls: Minnesota

Caribou Falls
Lake Superior Northshore is full of fantastic sights.  Chief amongst them is the many waterfalls that dot the countryside.  Caribou Falls is just one of the beautiful Minnesota waterfalls that we got to visit during our time there.
Caribou Falls Trail
This wonderful little waterfall had everything I look for when out tracking down waterfalls.  A short easy scenic hike, secluded enough to not be overly popular, and it is a gorgeous waterfall. The perfect trifecta.  Caribou Falls is just north of Little Marais.  The trailhead is marked and is part of the Superior Hiking Trail.  As for the trail itself it is just a 1-mile roundtrip hike with an overall slight gradual incline until a set of stairs leads down to the base of Caribou Falls.  It has a well maintained easy to follow trail.  That makes the hike seem faster than it is with its nice views of the Caribou River.
Nature Tracker
Caribou Falls is a nice gem of a waterfall in Minnesota, but far from being the best.  With that being said, it will go down as one of my favorites due to the company I got to spend it with.  Over the last few years we have had the blessing of going on extended family vacations.  A chance for the kids to spend some quality time with the grandparents and see some brilliant sights.  My pregnant wife, feeling a little waterfalled out, decided to keep our two-year-old in the car while I got to go with my parents and my oldest on a little adventure hike.  Which was great.  My oldest, who had just turned five, during our time in Minnesota came up with some nicknames for us.  I am Sandy Dad and she is Dirt Girl.  When our powers combine we become an adventurous duo.
Caribou Falls Sign
Our adventure began at the parking lot of the Caribou Falls State Wayside.  Nice little parking lot with an information sign that let us know that our destination was only a half mile away.  The trail was easy to follow, however a five-year-old can have a hard time staying on the path.  It seems everything can be fascinating if you are seeing it for the first time.  Making the hike more about the journey than the destination, which isn’t that why I should be hiking in the first place?
Leaf Heart
I love getting the chance to see nature through my children’s eyes.  The fascination and wonder at the changing of leaves, the sounds of nature, and the glimpse of an animal.  My she certainly is my little nature tracker.  As she spotted a small brown snake by the turn in the trail, and called out loud and proud to the group at her finding.  I would have thought it was just a stick.
Dirt Girl and Sandy Dad
We could hear the falls before we could see it.  Around a bend and down a flight of stairs sat Caribou Falls a scenic 40-foot waterfall.  Not the best one we saw on our trip but certainly a memorable one thanks to the company and the journey.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota attractions, click here  

Caribou Falls
Located at the Caribou Falls State Wayside at 7232 MN-61, Silver Bay, MN 55614
1-mile roundtrip hike
easy to low moderate hike
20-30 minutes

Sep 22

Amity Creek Falls – Minnesota

Running Water of Lester Park
Right down the creek from Amity Falls is Amity Creek Falls.  A small cascade that needs to be seen after a heavy rain or the spring season.  Scenic with the pedestrian bridge in the background.  Fun little spot to skip rocks.  Also begs for a little investigative work for the little crabs that call the creek home.
Root beer stream
Easy to get to.  Amity Creek Falls is located off of Occidental Blvd along the path the goes along with the creek.  It is a nice little family friendly trail that is begging to be explored.   We had a great little family adventure as we explored Lester Park.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota attractions, click here  

Amity Creek  Falls
Located near the 500 block of Occidental BLVD at Lester Park in Duluth, MN
For more information about Lester Park visit their website at http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parks-listing/lester-park/

Sep 17

Amity Falls – Minnesota

Lester Park Waterfall
Amity Falls was the first falls we saw at Lester Park.  Right then, we knew it was going to be a fun visit.  A nice 44 ft. tall waterfall with a bridge overpass and a gazebo right next to it.  Back home we are lucky if our city park has something other than a playground for the kids.  Don’t get me wrong we like our local spots and go there all the time.  However, Duluth is truly blessed with scenic areas disguised as their version of everyday parks.
Lester Park Bridge
Extremely accessible.  Amity Falls is located off of Occidental Blvd.  It is a popular park but if you can find parking near the gazebo then Amity Falls becomes a roadside attraction.  If not, there is a small parking lot just north of the falls and easy hike down to it. At the falls, you have two options.   Settle for the view along the rim and bridge or head down the steep rocky area to Amity Creek.  If you do decide to walk down to the base of the falls watch your step.  There is no designated path. A misstep here or slick rock there and it could ruin your whole Lester Park experience.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota attractions, click here  

Amity Falls
Located near the 500 block of Occidental BLVD at Lester Park in Duluth, MN
For more information about Lester Park visit their website at http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parks-listing/lester-park/

Sep 15

The Shallows – Minnesota

The Shallows Waterfall
The Shallows is the biggest and best waterfall found in Lester Park.  It is also the most difficult to get to. The downside is the Shallows is nice but pales in comparison to some of the other waterfalls that can be found in the area.  Still it is nice. The Northshore of Lake Superior is truly a blessed area for waterfall hunters.  Just a short flight of rocky stairs to see this scenic 45-foot waterfall.
The Shallows Stairs
A little bit more difficult to find than the other waterfalls of Lester Park.  The park is located at the fork of two bodies of water.  Most of the waterfalls are located on the west side of the park along Amity Creek.  The Shallows is on the other side of the park along the Lester River.  The easiest way to get to the Shallows is to drive up Lester River Rd and park at the Lester Park parking lot.  Head north from the parking lot and pick up the gravel trail that runs along the Lester River.  There are two paths down to the shallows one is a false path that is dangerous and steep.  Make sure you take the one with the stairs.  Once down the stairs follow the short trail to the waterfall.
The Shallows Trail
There is a nice playground near the parking lot.  My wife took the kids over there as I got go see the waterfall.  She is great like that.  It is a very short hike to the Shallows.  Worth it if you have the time, but make sure you go and see the other great Minnesota waterfalls that are in the area.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota attractions, click here  
Shallows Waterfall Lester Park
The Shallows
Located at 60th in Lester River Rd at Lester Park in Duluth, MN
For more information about Lester Park visit their website at http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parks-listing/lester-park/

Sep 14

Lester Park – Minnesota

Running Water of Lester Park
Yet another great city park in Duluth.  Lester Park is a scenic area that was the perfect combination for my family.  Had a play area for the kids, waterfalls for me, and easy road access to all its major features for my then pregnant wife. We really enjoyed our time there.
Good Times
Duluth is a city packed with outdoor grandeur.  Lester Park is another fine example of what Duluth offers the outdoor enthusiast.  Great trails located right in the city.  We really could not ask for a whole lot more.  While Lester Park does not offer the same remote feeling as Congdon Park.  It does offer a great place to spend the afternoon.  Hiking the trails, watching your kids play on the playground, and seeking out the waterfalls.
Lester Park Bridge
Home to several named waterfalls.  Some decent sized drops among the smaller ones.  During the warmer months, the area serves as a good swimming hole.  Our time saw us there during early June and the water was still freezing.  Though those tougher skinned Duluthians were out and about having a good time splashing about.
Shallows Waterfall Lester Park
We really enjoyed our time at Lester Park.  The whole Duluth, Lake Superior area was one of our best vacations in a long time.  There were so many fun outdoor spots to explore and see.  Even “run of the mill” for the area city parks like Lester Park were fantastic.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota attractions, click here

Lester Park
Located at 61st Avenue East and Superior Street
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Cost as of this Posting: Free
For more information about Lester Park visit their website at http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parks-listing/lester-park/

Sep 10

Wisconsin Point Lighthouse – Wisconsin

Lake Superior Shoreline
Staying on the other side of the ten-mile-long sand bar we could see the small white speck of a lighthouse.  Did not look like much.  Though we knew it was there.  One-day curiosity got the best of us. So, we drove down to the end of Park Point on the Duluth side of Lake Superior and did a little beach combing as we hiked the shore line towards the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse.  After walking a ways and pockets full of all the things my daughters found interesting.  We turned around.  Our little outing did not give us a great view of the lighthouse.  Wanting to get closer we did a little internet search.  There we learned that we could come from the Wisconsin side and get right up next to the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse.
Wisconsin Point Lighthouse from Minnesota
The next day we planned to see some beautiful Wisconsin waterfalls and on our way back to Duluth stop off and see the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse.  It was a cold overcast day with a little chop on Lake Superior.  The water was a reddish brown color.  I guess this is caused by the erosion, wave action, and river drainage.  Definitely a different look than the clear water that can be found further up the North Shore.
Wisconsin Point Lighthouse
Not the most scenic lighthouse but worth a trip.  The Wisconsin side of one of the longest freshwater sandbars in the world is certainly more rugged than its Minnesota counterpart.  This ruggedness did allow for an incredible animal sighting.  After we parked and started walking up towards the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse a large bird took to flight.  It had been perched on the rocks next to it.  It was a large bird of prey but took off and all I could get was a distant photo of it as it flew away.  A nice little addition to a quick stop at the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse.

To see our other reviews of Wisconsin attractions, click here

Wisconsin Point Lighthouse
Located at Wisconsin Point Rd, Superior, WI
Hours: Motor Vehicles and parking is prohibited from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
Free Attraction that is not open to tours but accessible by a concrete walkway
For more information visit the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse website at
http://www.ci.superior.wi.us/226/Wisconsin-Point

Sep 09

Tischer Creek Falls – Minnesota

Tischer Creek Waterfall
The North Shore of Lake Superior is a waterfall hunter’s paradise.  From rugged remote falls to those located in cities and towns along the shore.  These Minnesota waterfalls are scenic and any Top 10 list would need to include Tischer Creek Falls.  Tischer Creek Falls is a series of 5 waterfalls that runs the length of Congdon Park.
Tischer Creek
Congdon Park protects a mile-long gorge that was created by Tischer Creek as it carved up the red volcanic rock called rhyolite.  Deeded to the city in 1908. To let all, enjoy the stream, hillside, woodland, waterfall and canyon.  The rugged landscape on both sides of Tischer Creek is like taking an adventure without leaving Duluth.  It was incredible.  I have been to very few places that make me feel that I am out in the wilderness without leaving the neighborhood.
Tischer Creek Falls Congdon Park
Tischer Creek Falls is easy to get to and offers multiple views of its falls.  Either from above on some of the bridges and upper trail.  As well as the trail that follows the creek through the gorge.  Taking either trail it is easy to forget that we were surrounded by roads and houses.  My girls and I really enjoyed our time taking in the series of falls.  If we ever find ourselves back in the Duluth area Tischer Creek Falls is certainly worth a repeat visit.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota Attractions, click here

Tischer Creek Falls
Trailhead Located down the stairs from the East Superior Street Bridge at Congdon Park
1.5 mile trail that is easy to moderate hike
For more information about Congdon Park visit their website at http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parks-listing/congdon-park/

Sep 05

Congdon Park – Minnesota

Congdon Park Waterfall
I never would have thought it but Duluth is an outdoor persons playground.  Probably more of a summer thing.  But it is places like Congdon Park that really made it a fun vacation destination for my family and me.  A wonderful park in the city.  Where I could take my girls out for a little daddy/daughter’s adventure time.
Congdon Park
As many of the other areas around Duluth Congdon Park combines this magical recipe of scenic wonder into one spot.  Cooks up woodlands, canyons, and waterfalls into a family friendly hiking spot.  I found myself constantly wishing my hometown had places like Congdon Park.  Of course, I could do without the cold winters.  I guess you have to take the good with the bad.
Sisters
There are two main trails at the park.  Both short in nature and suitable for able body people.  My five and two-year-old girls took the upper path.  It is a dirt trail that runs above the Tischer Creek.  It is a wooded trail that was a lot of fun.  We were on the lookout for wildflowers, butterflies, and waterfalls.  My eldest already came up with the moniker for us of Dirt Girl and Sandy Dad.  However, our sidekick did not have a nickname yet.  After stopping by and posing for a few pictures and throwing a few rocks into the stream.  She came up with Kid Pebble.  We are a dynamic trio.
Tischer Creek
The second trail runs along Tischer Creek.  Here is where you get the biggest bang for your time buck.   A very scenic trail.  This hike can be found by heading down the stairs located at the East Superior Street.  Heading down the trail and hiking along Tischer Creek was like taking an adventure down a remote gorge.  Except it is in the middle of the city.  The Tischer Creek hike was one the nicest, easiest, and shortest hikes I did on the whole trip.  The perfect trifecta.
Tischer Creek Waterfall
Congdon Park was a definite highlight of my trip.  After a couple of lackluster trips leading up to our trek to Minnesota.  We were feeling a little letdown in our vacation planning.  Minnesota was the perfect bounce back trip for us. Full of fun outdoor attractions that were easy on the wallet.  Congdon Park is just another great example of that.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota Attractions, click here
Dirt Girl, Sandy Dad, and Kid Pebble
Congdon Park
Located at 33rd Avenue East and Greysolon Street to St. Marie Street
Hours of Operation Dawn to Dusk
Cost as of this Posting: Free
For more information about Congdon Park visit their website at http://www.duluthmn.gov/parks/parks-listing/congdon-park/

Sep 03

Leif Erikson Park – Minnesota

McKayla in the Flowers
What to do when on a limited budget, have active children, and want to see something worthwhile.  Public park is one of the best ways to go.  Most decent size cities have one.  Duluth, Minnesota has several, one of the most noteworthy is Leif Erikson Park.  Of course, it had us with free.
Lief Erikson Statue
One of the more unique city parks that we have ever been to.  The history of Leif Erikson Park as well as the fact that it sits directly on I35 makes it one of the must-see things in Duluth.  We were there in early June.  The garden was just barely in bloom and most of days were cloudy.  Now like all outdoor activities time of year places an immediate impact on how good of a visit it is. While we did not get to see Leif Erikson in all its splendor. Our girls had a great time running around and posing for pictures.  Which made all the difference for us in determining if it was a good visit or bad visit.
M in the wind
It is a beautiful garden park.  Scenic views of Lake Superior, the Ariel Lift Bridge, and over 2,000 rose bushes amongst its flora collection. A portion of the park is on a tunnel that I-35 goes under.  Duluth is filled with some incredible public spaces and Leif Erikson Park is one of the more popular ones.
sisters
An interesting tidbit about Leif Erikson Park is that it was not always named that.  In the 1920s a small group of adventures set out to prove that Leif Erikson and the Vikings not only came to America but ventured deep into its heart.  In the Spring of 1926 four men left Norway and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean.  They made the journey to Boston covering 6,700 miles in 50 days.  From Boston, they sailed to Duluth to take part in a national Norwegian emigrant experience.  Shortly after the trip a Duluth business bought the 42-foot boat and donated it to the city.  Under the conditions that the boat be maintained and the park that houses it will be named Leif Erikson Park.
Leif Erikson Park
Leif Erikson Park was a nice little distraction for our girls.  We spent roughly an hour there walking around taking in the views.  Watching the ships roll in.  If you find yourself in Duluth take the time to visit Leif Erickson Park and imagine the Vikings are coming.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota attractions, click here

Leif Erikson Park
Located 12th Ave E London Road
Hours of Operation: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week, 365 days a year
Cost as of this Posting: Free
For more information about the Leif Erikson Park visit their website at http://www.goduluthmn.com/best-duluth-attractions/leif-erikson-park-rose-garden/

Aug 26

Split Rock Lighthouse – Minnesota

Splitrock Lighthouse
We finally got our Lake Superior moment gazing out across the water looking up at Split Rock Lighthouse. The first few days all we saw was the reddish-brown water around Duluth.  A condition caused by high winds, river sediments, and erosion.  Hoping to see the beautiful blues we imagine the lake to have, it was a disappointing sight.  Our fortune’s changed as we drove up Highway 61. The views got better.  Looking up at that rocky cliff and then out to the deep blue water that stretches for as far as the eye can see was a highlight of our trip.
Family in MN
Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the iconic views of Lake Superior.  If there is a Lake Superior postcard section it is one of the choices.  It is beautiful.  Unfortunately, it also costs money to go and see.  Something like $10 bucks a person.  So, we settled for views from the turnout and at its base.  I am sure the Split Rock Lighthouse tour/museum is nice, just not for us.
Splitrock Lighthouse Mn
Built in 1910 the Split Rock Lighthouse served as beacon of light until 1969. From its rocky shores, you can hike to the top of lighthouse.  Around the top of the stairs there was a sign that said you must have paid admission for ascending the last few steps.  Cruel joke indeed.  Would have been nice to have the sign at the bottom.  On the bright side, I got my exercise in for the day.

To see our reviews of other Minnesota Attractions, click here
Base of Splitrock LIghthouse
Split Rock Lighthouse
Located at Mile-Marker 46 on Highway 61
Park Hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost of visiting the park Adults 18-64 $10, Seniors 65 and over $8 and Children 5 to 17 $6
For more information about the Split Rock Lighthouse visit their website at http://www.northshorevisitor.com/attractions/state-parks/split-rock-lighthouse/

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