Best in Snow: 5 North Shore Winter Escapes

By Brett

On the North Shore, winter is far from frightful – it’s actually quite delightful as there are plenty of activities and adventures awaiting. While alpine skiing gets the glory this time of year in Lutsen, there are plenty of other winter sports and family friendly experiences awaiting on the North Shore.

We’ve rounded up 5 of the best in snow winter escapes. (Including our favorite mountain at Lutsen Mountains.)

Shred the Slopes at Lutsen Mountains

Whether it’s your first time out on the slopes or knocking off the dust from your skis for the return of the winter season, Lutsen Mountains offers an incredible variety of trails and skiing options suitable for any age and kind of learner. With instructors available for group or private lessons, you can get on the fast track to a confident and thrilling snow sports journey.

Lutsen Mountains is currently open for daily operations through April 9th. The best way to spend the day is to enjoy a meal with friends or family at the Summit Chalet, and then shred one of the 32 primary runs and 20 side runs on Moose Mountain. The variety of runs and terrain lets skiers and snowboarders mix it up all day long on the ski hill.

Don't Forget

Moguls Grille & Taproom, offers Ski-In and Ski-Out access meaning skiers do not need to find a place to store their gear before refilling and heading back out onto  the ski slopes. Moguls Grille & Taproom features a fun outdoor patio with lights and bonfires, drink specials, and local craft beer and wine, making it a great option for Après-ski after a full day on the ski hill.

Go Sledding on the North Shore State Trail

The C.J. Ramstad North Shore State Trail is a 146-mile multiple use trail which runs from Duluth to Grand Marais, making it the perfect place for snowmobilers to explore. The trail provides a rugged and magnificent terrain to enjoy along the North Shore as it twists and turns through the forests behind the bluffs that overlook Lake Superior.

Snowmobilers can take advantage of hundreds of miles of interconnected snowmobile club trails found throughout North Shore communities such as Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Lutsen, and Grand Marais.

Snowshoe Up the Frozen Kadunce River

The Kadunce River is a special spot tucked just off Highway 61, 9 miles north of Grand Marais. A popular spot to hike in summer where those with wet shoes can hike up the river when water levels are low, gives way to an incredible snowshoe trek when the river has frozen in winter. The slot canyon can be navigated via snowshoes from the Kadunce River Wayside starting at the mouth of the river where it typically empties into Lake Superior, passing underneath the overpass, and up into the lichen and mossy covered slot canyon which eventually opens upon a frozen waterfall.

Not comfortable exploring by yourself?

Join a professionally guided tour to ensure your safety and learn more about the region. New Hok Ski Tours are available out of our Lutsen and Two Harbors Experience Hubs.

Cross-country Ski on the Pincushion Mountain Trail System

The Pincushion Mountain Trail System is a dream come true for winter activity enthusiasts. Boasting 25 km worth of tracks fitted for cross country skiing and skate skiing, which runs through an undulating landscape alongside Devil Track River canyon and ridgeline over Lake Superior. Trails are rate for skiers of all skill levels, including at 1.6km lighted trail for night skiing and stargazing.

Entrance to the trail can be gained from the Pincushion Mountain Area public parking lot which provides one of best overlooks above the Grand Marais harbor. A Great Minnesota Ski Pass is required to use the trail system.

Snow Tubing at Spirit Mountain

For those who want to get an adrenaline boost, and enjoy an activity with family and children, Snowtubing at Spirit Mountain’s Adventure Park in Duluth offers exciting options. Offered on Saturdays from 12pm to 5pm during the season, snowtubing two-hour sessions can be purchased in advance, with some limited walk-up availability. On Friday and Saturday Nights the lights come on, letting youngers and those young at heart take part in Glow Tubing, which is available from 5:30pm to 8:00pm.

As a bonus, snow tubing at Spirit Mountain requires no walking back to the top of the Snow Tubing Hill, making it an even better family winter activity.

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