Friday, November 9, 2012

Falls of the Poplar River - Lutsen, MN

Poplar River
Lutsen, MN

The scenic shoreline of Lake Superior is the backdrop for one set of falls on the Poplar River in Lutsen, Minn. The other sets of falls have more of a rapids feel to them and are in a more rugged, forested setting near a ski resort. Remnants of an old mill building, and a wooden bridge add to the overall scenery at this location.
The Lutsen resort rests at the bottom of a hill drive, right on Lake Superior. This popular tourist resort features a restaurant, trails, kayak rentals and parking lot access to see the lower falls. The best vantage point comes from this old building along the river:
The building is crumbling, with floor missing in spots, so use extreme caution if you go in. From here, you can see the river cascade over rocks as it roars towards the lake - the picture above is 2012 with high water, the one below is from 2011 and has water only on the left side:
The other sets of falls are located on Ski Hill Rd., past the Caribou Highlands Lodge. There is a shirt hiking trail that will lead to the river and a panorama of forest, mountains and river featuring sets of falls all looking similar to this:
The stunning beauty of this area is great in all seasons, water levels typically higher in the spring and peak fall color (according to my dad and stepmom) here is phenomenal.

Getting there: From Hwy 61 in Lutsen, head up Ski Hill Rd (CR5) almost two miles past the gondolas for the ski lodge and look for the Superior Hiking Trail parking to reach the Upper Falls. For the lower falls, turn onto Resort Rd. near mile marker 90, follow signs for Lutsen Resort, and find parking there - the trail to the falls is back off of the road you came in on near the base of the hill.

Overall: Good
Hike: Easy

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