Exploring a hidden stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail leading from Lutsen’s Poplar River along the backside of the Sawtooth Mountain Range has been on Eric’s bucket list for a few years. It’s about an 8 mile journey, and given we’re not über trekkers, we were wishing for agreeable temps, little precipitation and light on bugs! We finally tackled the adventure last month. Over the course of a few hours, several granola bars and 100+ photos, we made it back to 142C. Given there were so many lovely vistas and souvenir photos, we’re dividing this adventure into two posts.


Starting off, the trail head is about a 10-minute walk from 142C, heading toward the ski chalet and gondola; you’ll follow the main road past Papa Charlie’s. We thought we should take a before photo! You’ll find parking and this sign at the trailhead:

Lutsen Mountain trail head, near the Poplar River

If you’re driving in, here is the description from the Superior Hiking Trail website:

Lutsen Mountains Recreation Area Trailhead: At Hwy. 61 milepost 90.1, turn left on Cook Co. Rd. 5 (Ski Hill Rd.) and go 2.9 miles to recreation area. Park in general parking areas or continue 0.3 miles up road past gondola and restaurant to small trailhead parking lot on left. Overnight parking okay in both areas. Bathroom, restaurant, drinking water at trailhead area.

As you enter the trail, you can choose to go right or left; we veered to the left, the path closer to the river. In about five minutes, we arrived at the iconic Poplar River bridge and paused for a couple pics and a game of Pooh Sticks. This is our tradition, to toss a stick over the bridge on the inland side of the river and then race to the other side of the bridge to see if you can spot the stick. It’s something we’ve done with the boys since they were little. We never see the stick; it never gets old.


Across the bridge, you can take a right or left. We headed right so we could traverse the back side of the mountain. A little further along, we saw this directional sign.


Moose bridge.jpg




Stay tuned for Part 2! xo


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