First person to the top that day. The parking lot was all Minnesota aside from my NH plates. Seventy minutes to the top, seventy minutes back down.
When we got to Whale Lake, my kids and I enjoyed some Pad Thai we had bought at the co-op in Grand Marais. A nice breeze kept the bugs at bay, and it was the perfect spot for a trail dinner. We had the summit all to ourselves and enjoyed better views than we expected from the ledges near the top.
Took the whole family (six kids ages 13 to 19 months.) I carried the baby in a child carrier on my back which made it a little more strenuous, but otherwise it was an easy hike. The kids loved finding brightly colored mushrooms, flowers, and berries along the way. And they loved stopping by Whale Lake for a snack. The mosquitoes weren't too bad, but we ran out of bug spray. So my arms paid the price. It drizzled on us when we reached the top. But cleared up enough for some great views at the lookout spot. HP #6 for the whole family!
And, boom goes the dynamite...
Ok 6:30 AM isn't that early of a time to start your day. Especially when the sun comes up over Lake Superior. I left Tofte at 6:30 and drove up the Caribu Road to the trailhead. Signed in and commenced with my ascent. Once to Whale Lake I saw a campsite, smoke and heard some people. The climb from Whale Lake to the top is serious. Not difficult but rock covered and at times requires some focus. Once at the top the views are simply unbelievable. Several lakes and I heard a loon below. As far as you can see there is simply forest and lake. No signs of others. The BWCA is a treasure. And I got 4G cell service on the top!! Weird but fun. The descent needs to be paid attention to as the rocks give way to roots along the trail heading back from Whale Lake. I encountered my first human 1/4 of a mile from the car on the return trip. A woman, her daughter and their Mastif dog. They didn't have bug spray or a head net.
I recommend the folks at Sawtooth Rentals to help you get your way to the trail head and of course if you are embarking on this journey now keep in mind, the state bird of MN is the Mosquito. Deet and netting will make you smell funny and look goofie but they work and you will really love the remoteness of this HP. No bugs on the top. Really cool morning.
Camped at the Split Rock Lighthouse and then drove out here and started hiking around 1 pm. Got back around 4 pm. Views amazing, hike and trail amazing, the mosquitoes were horrific!
Acclimated for four days at Whale Lake. Spent our time shuttling oxygen tanks to 2100 feet. Made the summit on a cloudy, foggy, drizzly day.
Nice view of the other Minnesota mountains from the summit. State high point.
Nice hike, away from it all. Unfortunately the fall colors disappeared sooner than expected.
Perfect summer day on the North Shore. No bugs and sunshine! Our assault team consisted of five, my brother and his son, my son and his four year old, (Frenchy). First few 1000 yards went really fast. After the 4yr old fell a few times the pace became more leisurely. Those rocks and roots can come up on you fast. At least he does not get much momentum from a height of 4 feet. We met at least four other teams on the trail. We explored at the summit and enroute. Recon for the next adventure.
Very rocky and mosquitoes a plenty but a beautiful hike. Whale lake is wonderful. Saw 2 ribbon snakes and tons of weird mushrooms but sadly no wolves.
A nice early spring hike.
Had to break trail through fresh powdery snow on snowshoes. Wonderful way to avoid the insects though. Had to dig around for the summit plaque
Left the trailhead at sunrise, which made for excellent photos at Whale Lake. The fall colors were great. Views from the overlook were great, and getting to the highest point in Minnesota was neat. Met one person with her dog when I was nearly back to the trailhead.
We took Gunner, our Boxer. Didn't see a single person or critter all day.
I got a bit of a late start on the afternoon of 29 September 2010, and found this highpoint to be a little more challenging than expected. The first three miles are fairly flat, but the trail is strewn with large rocks that must be negotiated carefully, especially after a morning rain. The ascent over the last half-mile is fairly steep, and the large summit plaque was a welcome sight. Then I had to hurry somewhat to get back to the trailhead before dark. It's beautiful country, especially in early fall, and I hope that you'll have more time to enjoy it than I did. The drive up from Duluth along Lake Superior is spectacular. This was state highpoint #28 for me.
Hiked this after a week on Isle Royale.
Only a small handful of cars in the parking lot. I met all of their owners on my way up, and once again had a state highpoint summit entirely to myself. As mentioned in the profile, the views are to be had a short distance below the summit.
A much more rugged trail of exposed rock and root than one would expect in Minnesota. And the last half-mile or so shoots up-up-up!
After finishing the steepest part of the descent, I ran the remaining 3 miles to the trailhead.