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Willard Munger Trail
Towns Events & Points of Interest
has all kinds of lodging options, a half-dozen restaurants, unique gift
shops, old buildings, new buildings, hiking trails and other
And no where else in the state can you enjoy the thrills of whitewater
during the day and casino gambling at night.
there is no tourist information center, nearly every business in the
area will be happy to give you the latest information on what’s going
on and directions on how to get there. That’s the friendliness of a
Cooke State Park
is about three miles from
Carlton and can be accessed by bike from the trail near M12.
park features hardwoods and spectacular views of the St. Louis River,
which thunders over rocks when the water level is high. Don’t miss
walking the swinging bridge that crosses the river.
An interpretive center offers programs and hands-on learning
are 50 miles of hiking trails and 12 miles of off-road mountain biking
to add to the touring experience. Tent camping is available.
at the end of July includes a 5K run/walk
and ultra marathon, softball and golf tournaments, games, crafts, food
and a parade.
hosts the National Whitewater championships
usually at the end of August. But you need not be just a spectator. If
you’d like to give the sport of whitewater rafting a try, check with
local businesses on how to find an outfitter.
is well-known for its tourist attractions, including: the maritime
museum next to the signature-attraction, the lift bridge; the railroad
museum downtown next to the art gallery; the warehouse district with
all the touristy spot; Skyline Drive that offers a panoramic view over
Duluth, as well as one of the best places to watch the annual
migrations of many raptors, in season; and the fascinating shipping
ports on Lake Superior that gives the whole area an ocean-like feel.
North Shore and several state parks
that feature hiking trails, waterfalls and gorges are just up Hwy. 61
from Duluth. Fall weekends when the trees are in their most picturesque
splendor are popular times, even if things get a bit congested.
well-known by many travelers who’ve driven I-35 between the Twin Cities
and Duluth-North Shore, but there are many things to see and do in
Hinckley besides take a rest stop, including enjoying the Willard
Not only does the Willard Munger Trail begin in
Hinckley (and go all the way to Duluth), but other attractions make a
multi-day, multi-activity trip worth exploring.
Hinckley is home
to a nearby state park, a museum that describes the devastating
Hinckley fire, a casino that draws people day and night and a variety
of lodging and eating establishments.
And all along the trail are little towns that have established their
Here’s a sampling of some of the major points of interest:
Hinckley Fire Museum
just south of the trail’s beginning offers a glimpse into the old
logging days and the life of a depot agent, as well as the infamous
fire. A caboose and covered picnic area are also on the grounds.
Hinckley Fire Monument
a sobering reminder of the death toll from the infamous fire, is east
of Hinckley and 1-35 in the Lutheran Memorial Cemetery, just south of
four long trenches where 248 bodies are buried en masse.
is the gateway to St. Croix State Park
16 miles to the east on Hwy. 48. It’s the largest state park with
33,000 acres of forests, meadows, marshes and streams. Both the Kettle
and St. Croix rivers are accessible from the park.
The park hosts a daily schedule of demonstrations, talks, films and
slide shows, most with an interpretive naturalist.
And, if you’d like more biking, the park has six miles of surfaced
trails, besides the 127 miles of foot trails.
hosts the “Corn and Clover Carnival”
weekend after the 4th of July with a full schedule of activities for
those looking for a small-town celebration.
Grand Casino Hinckley
gambling is a part of your recreational calendar, the Grand Casino
Hinckley is open non-stop.
is accessible from the Munger Trail via a short spur; another nice town
, the first to be designated a
Wild and Scenic River, runs through the town.
is located on the river; it’s the site of an old sandstone quarry
operated around the turn of the century. The remnants of an old wagon
bridge can easily be seen.
is also accessible east of
Sandstone, complete with falls, cave, campsites, hiking trails and the
usual state park amenities.
Banning Quarry self -guided trail
in Banning State Park includes unique rock formations that are in
contrast to the trail’s landscape, and also offers an informative look
at the old days of quarrying.
has a statewide reputation for whitewater canoeing and kayaking due to
its “kettles” and large holes that cause turbulent currents.
There is a series of five rapids, the toughest being Hell’s Gate,
that’ll challenge the most experienced.
races during Quarry Days at Sandstone
the 2nd weekend of August, or bed races the 4th of July weekend in
most popular in the state and has produced record walleyes.
is a quiet little town with just enough shops and restaurants to make a
stay worthwhile. Besides, you’ll probably get off your bike to use the
rest stop along the trail that includes an old depot, a few feet of old
railroad track to walk across and and outside toilet. A walk around
town will be a welcome respite.
hosts a 4th of July celebration
a volleyball tournament, old-fashioned barn dance and bed races.
is the half-way point between Finlayson and Willow River.
Willow River Days
held the last weekend in July.
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