Eric and I headed North for a couple days in June, antsy to soak up some Minnesota summertime adventure and to tackle a few 142C condo projects. We had never made the 7-mile round trip trek to Carlton Peak and decided to follow the Superior Hiking Trail along this rugged and vast stretch of wild Minnesota wonderment…am I ever glad we did.
There are a few ways to make the journey to Carlton Peak, which is one of the Southwestern summit points of the Sawtooth Mountains along Lake Superior. We chose the option that begins at my all-time favorite Minnesota State Park also known as Temperance River.
We’ve explored here quite a few times over the years, including this one. Hikers with smallish kiddos: be extra cautious starting out on this trail as the river runs through a gorge with amazing cauldrons hand-crafted by Mother Nature over many many years. BUT there are very few guardrails or barriers. Best bet is to play it safe and keep your distance from the edge.
The super-saturated summertime green hues created a bountiful umbrella of color throughout the trek. This stone stairway makes for a enticing entry point to the main ascending trail.
Air, water & earth. All the lovely Minnesota views were in perfect form along our hike. This point is just before the trail winds to the right, the Temperance River is close enough for toe dipping, or stone tossing along the left.
Overall, the trek was manageable through the first couple miles, winding through this pristine back country, sunlight peeking through the leaves, a breeze just whispering with enough force to distract any bugs. Perfect.
For mid-June, there were a few splashes of wildflower wonder, too, including the fragrant wild rose bushes.
The last stretch to the summit is the most challenging. The ascent to Carlton Peak requires careful footing given the numerous boulders and rock strewn path. To be honest, as we got to this section, I actually was distracted by the “work” part of the hike and was taken by the ruggedness of the landscape.
If you’re easily distracted like me, there are plenty of new friends to be made while hiking 🙂 And as a brief intermission part way through this steeper section, take a break and leave your name on the trail register!
The 360-degree view from the top is simply amazing and worth every step. And, of course there’s our majestic Lake Superior off on the horizon ❤
We made it! Have you hiked the Carlton Peak trail? If so, hope you enjoyed the vista, too!
This story first appeared on From Lutsen with Love in September 2019. All reflections and images are my own.