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The Arrowhead Region

Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Minnesota The Arrowhead Region

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Introduction

Waders on the North Shore, Lake Superior

Waders on the North Shore, Lake Superior

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The western edge of the arrowhead region of northern Minnesota runs roughly from Duluth north to the Canadian border. The arrowhead shape this region is named for, lies east of this line and is bordered on the southeast leg of the triangle by Lake Superior and by Canada to the north.

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Geography

The arrowhead region is dominated by Lake Superior. This huge freshwater lake is a constant presence, whether you are enjoying its beautiful views, being affected by its climate, or using it for recreational or occupational purposes. The land surrounding it is fairly rugged, full of many glacier carved lakes and tumbling rootbeer colored rivers running down from the Sawtooth mountains. The area is full of hardwood forests (birch, maple, oak) and coniferous forests (white pine, red pine, jack pine etc.). Fall color season usually peaks around the 1st of October inland, and a little later near Lake Superior. The land is rugged, full of forested, rolling hills and rock out crops of the Sawtooth mountains. Elevations range from 600 ft (Lake Superior) to 2,300 ft (the high pt. in the state at Eagle mountain).

There are many gorgeous waterfalls in the region including many impressive cascades on the following rivers: Gooseberry, Cascade, Beaver, Baptism, Temperence among others. Almost every river that runs into Lake Superior is going to have a waterfall. Many of these falls are easily accessed by the many State Parks that lie along Lake Superior.

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Cities

  • Duluth - The world's largest inland port. Hang out in Canal Park and watch 1000 ft ore carriers glide through the canal under the aerial lift bridge. Duluth is the gateway city to the arrowhead, population is about 80,000 people. It's a great city for outdoor activity, has great parks, restaurants, and scenic views.

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Sights and Activities

Duluth's Canal Park

Check out 1000 ft. ore carriers passing under the lift bridge.

Lake Superior Hiking Trail

Awesome hiking trail running from Canada to Carlton, scenic views, great hiking, shuttle services available.

Outdoor Activities

Biking, Hiking, Canoeing, Kayaking, Swimming, Running, Rock Climbing, Surfing (on Lake Superior), The North Shore. Drive, Bike, or Hike this amazingly beautiful shore line.

The Boundary Water Wilderness Canoe Area is located to the far north of the region. This very rugged, wild, and beautiful area is best accessed by canoe. The area is dotted with long connections of glacier carved lakes, many in pristine condition. This area is very popular, and the National Park Service has mandated that only a certain amount of people can be in the wilderness on a given day. A lottery system has been set up for the busy season (June-August), and outside of the busy season, it's pretty easy to get a permit. Do your research before you apply: the NPS will want to know where you want to enter the wilderness, your route, and from where you'll be leaving. They'll also want to know the dates, the number of people in the party, etc. There are a number of canoe outfitters that can help you plan your adventures in Ely, Grand Marais, and throughout the northland. There are a number of hiking trails winding through the boundary waters as well. If this interests you, contact the Superior National Forest for information.

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Events and Festivals

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Weather

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Weather changes a lot close to Lake Superior and is often hard to predict. In winter (December until mid March) temperatures are cold and can reach below 0 °F. Dress warm if you visit in the winter. Spring and Fall are very pleasant, comfortable in jeans and pullover; summer is warm, and enjoyable. Always pack a windbreaker and a sweater though, if the wind blows in off of the lake it can get quite chilly by the lake. Duluth has a phenomenon where it can be 75 °F on top of the hill, and down by the lake it can be 45 °F.

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Getting There

By Plane

Duluth International Airport (DLH) has flights with Delta Airlines from Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Detroit and with United Airlines from
Chicago. Allegiant Air flies to/from Las Vegas and Orlando.

By Train

Amtrak will get you to Minneapolis.

By Car

As with most places in the US, car is the best way to visit the Arrowhead.

By Bus

Greyhound Bus has a station in Duluth.

By Boat

Located on Lake Superior, sailing or boating is a possibility. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources maintains several safe harbor marinas for boaters on Lake Superior. Check with sailing circles to see what's available.

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Getting Around

By Train

North Shore Scenic Railroad runs from Duluth to Two Harbors during the summer months.

By Car

Renting a car is the best option and rental cars are available at Duluth International Airport and in Duluth.

By Bike

Minnesota has many paved bike trails, making this a viable option. Trails usually run from town to town following old railways. Backroads of Minnesota have light enough travel to make biking enjoyable. Highway 61 has wide shoulders for bikers and also near Kitchi Kami trail in spots.

  • Willard Munger State Trail Duluth to Hinckley
  • Kitchi Kami State Trail (Gooseberry falls up to Canadian border) (All sections of this trail may not have been completed) Check with DNR.
  • Mesabi State Trail (Hibbing to Hoyt Lakes)

By Boat

Many people have boats and sailboats in the area. Check in sailing circles to see if anybody is on a circle tour.

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Eat

There are very good restaurants located throughout the Arrowhead. Most are very casual, and reasonably priced.

  • Sir Benedict's Tavern, Duluth (great sandwiches)
  • Lake View Castle, Duluth
  • V.I.P. Pizza, Duluth
  • New London Cafe, Duluth (best breakfast in town)
  • Hacienda Del Sol, Duluth (best Mexican food in the area)
  • Chester Creek Cafe/ At Sara's Table, Duluth(specialties using locally homegrown ingredients)
  • Howling Wolf Bar and Grill, Grand Marais
  • Trail Center Lodge, Gunflint Trail
  • Ely Steakhouse, Ely
  • Trestle Inn, North of Finland on Lake Co. 7

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Drink

The arrowhead likes its drinks. There are plenty of bars, pubs and taverns located throughout the northland. Look for the rustic northern Minnesota Inns for a great Minnesota atmosphere!

  • Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake, Duluth
  • Trail Center Lodge, Gunflint Trail
  • The Trestle Inn, North of Finland on Lake Co. 7

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Sleep

There are plenty of motels and hotels in most towns throughout the northland with a variety of prices. If you want true Minnesota Cabin hospitality, look for the lodges located on the many lakes in the region. Or camp out at the many State Parks ($18-25/night). All accommodation will be more expensive in the summer during the busy tourist season. Off season rates are usually around $50/night.

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This is version 14. Last edited at 11:23 on Feb 15, 10 by Herr Bert. 1 article links to this page.

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