Area Activities

Alpine Slide

Just a couple minutes drive from Lutsen Resort is the "Alpine Slide". Take a scenic ride up a chairlift to the top of Eagle Mountain. Pause for a few minutes on the deck overlooking the ski area and the surrounding vistas. Then, climb on your sled and take a thrilling ride down the half mile track as it makes its way back to the bottom.

You can go as fast or slow as you want as you control your sled's speed. Whether you're a grandparent with a 4 year old in your lap or a teenager looking for speed... its a lot of fun!

Biking

Lutsen is a biking destination for riders of all skills. You’ll find paved trails, back-country forest service roads and tight single track mountain bike riding.

The paved Gitchi Gammi State Trail has an 11 mile section which runs right by Lutsen Resort. A great option is to leave from the main lodge and ride a level 14.5 mile round-trip section to Tofte where you can enjoy a refreshment at the Coho Cafe. From Tofte you can return, or, continue on for another 3 mile section to Schroeder, crossing a bridge over a canyon above the Temperance River. For a taste of Forest Service road riding, park at the nearby Oberg Mountain parking lot, then ride your bike to the end of the road. Round trip is 11km. For single track mountain biking, head to nearby Britton Peak in Tofte or Pincushion Mountain and ride the new single-track mountain bike trails.

Bike Rentals are available nearby at Lutsen Recreation in Lutsen, Sawtooth Outfitters in Tofte, or Superior North Outdoor Center
in Grand Marais.

Canoeing

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area runs along the U.S./Canada border. With over one million acres and over 1,000 lakes, it ranks as the second largest area within the United States' National Wilderness Preservation system. It is a short drive from Lutsen Resort. You can enjoy a “taste” of the Boundary Waters through our Day in The Boundary Waters Package, or, contact Sawbill Outfitters, a 30 minute drive away. They'll provide you a rental canoe, equipment and a brief orientation, if needed. The Kelso Loop accessed from their dock, offers a perfect Boundary Water’s day trip.

Sawtooth Outfitters in Tofte offers additional rental options. You can drive from there to one of the nearby entry points, like Brule or Homer Lake, which, although only a few miles apart, offer either a big lake or a small lake experience, respectively.

Day Trips

Lutsen Resort provides a great base from which to venture out to explore all the cultural, historic and recreation options of Cook County. This vast county of over one million acres, with just over 5,000 year-round residents, has an amazing variety of day trip options.

  1. The Village of Grand Marais: Lighthouses, shops & artists.
  2. A Day in the Lutsen Area: Scenic & recreation
  3. Tofte Tour Day Trip: A bit of everything.
  4. Gunflint Trail Sampler: Historic & scenic
  5. A Day At Historic Grand Portage: Cultural, historic, scenic.

Fall Color Touring

Brilliant maple reds, golden aspen yellows and the rust shades of tamarack provide a fall color palette unique to the Lutsen area. Our fall season starts toward the end of September and lasts well into October. We like to think of it as two separate seasons; the maple change first and about a week and a half later, the birch and aspen change. Check conditions at the Forest Service's Fall Color tracker. Local forest service roads provide access to the interior of Superior National Forest and a well marked fall color tour is available for those looking to venture out by car. As the forests thin out, watch for moose in the swampy areas, and take in the abundance of fall color.

Make sure to visit our local award winning maple syrup manufactures:

  • •  Wild Country Maple Syrup - wildcountrymaple.com
  • •  Caribou Cream Maple Syrup - (218) 663-7841

Fishing

Lutsen Resort was first homesteaded by a fisherman in 1885 and there is a long tradition of fishing in the area. Whether you are coming with a group of friends to fish "the big Lake" or are a family looking for a "fishing plus" experience you won’t be disappointed! Choose from the many options below:

  • •  Charter fishing for Lake Trout, Coho and Chinook Salmon on Lake Superior.
  • •  Fly Fishing the on-site Poplar River or nearby inland streams for rainbow, brown and brook trout.
  • •  Shore casting Lake Superior for Lake Trout, Coho and Chinook Salmon
  • •  Fishing nearby inland lakes for walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass.
  • •  Ice fishing on inland lakes
  • •  Complimentary introductory Fly Fishing classes are offered to Lutsen Resort guests.

The resort is happy to assist you in arranging your fishing experiences by email or phone. - Ask for the Activities Desk) Local guides are available if arranged ahead of time. Click here for list of local guides and resources. We do not provide boats but all nearby inland lakes have convenient landing areas. The nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area provides easy access to remote canoe fishing experiences. Lake Superior is a huge, cold body of water that is very unpredictable. We recommend using a charter company for any Lake Superior boat fishing. Fishing Guide to Lakes Near Lutsen Resort.

Golf at Superior National

Lutsen Resort is a wonderful place for a Minnesota golf vacation. The well-known 27 hole Superior National Golf Course is adjacent to the resort. The course presents a spectacular design with signature holes alongside the Poplar River or a challenging shot across the river. Discount “Stay and Play” golf packages provide the best option for an affordable golf getaway.

Lutsen Resort guests enjoy the resort’s complimentary “no pressure” 9 hole, Par 3 Pitch & Putt Golf Course. Clubs and balls provided.

Gondola

Located just minutes from Lutsen Resort, Lutsen Mountain's "Mountain Tram" or gondola provides a spectacular view of Lake Superior and the Poplar River as you ride to the top of Moose Mountain which rises 1,000 feet over Lake Superior.

The only ride of its kind in the Midwest, you'll enjoy the view from the Summit Chalet at the top, which is also a great spot for lunch! The view from the deck is spectacular.

Grand Marais Day Trips

Many guests enjoy the quick drive from their lodging into Grand Marais, 18 miles from the resort. Explore this quaint village with its harbor, lighthouse, museum, galleries and shops. Many artists make their home in the area and you’ll find their pieces displayed in a variety of shops. The town has an unusual number of interesting dining options for its size….from sophisticated culinary menus to simple locally-caught fish. A walk out to Artists Point or along the break-wall to the lighthouse makes for a delightful interlude. More info

Hiking

The Lutsen area offers hikers great hiking. According to Backpacker Magazine, our Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) ranks as one of the 10 best trails in the nation. From short hikes up to vistas overlooking Lake Superior, trails along nearby rivers or day-long hikes, the variety of interesting places to explore is endless.

Nearby hikes in Cascade River State Park and Temperance River State Park follow rivers that rage through rock canyons and tumble over some of the best waterfalls in the state. If you thought Gooseberry Falls were great, wait until you see the falls at the Cascade River or Judge C.R. Magney State Park. In Judge C.R. Magney, at the Devil's Kettle, the Brule River splits into two parts, one side plunges down a waterfall and the other disappears into a hole. The DNR has tried various methods to find out where the water reappears, but it remains a mystery.

For "peak baggers", the highest point in Minnesota is a scenic 20 minute drive from the resort. From the trailhead, you'll head into the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area for a seven mile round trip. You'll need a self-issued free permit available at the trailhead. The view before the summit is the perfect place for a picnic.

Horseback Riding

Minutes from Grand Marais, enjoy a delightful horseback ride through the Superior National Forest. The destination: a pristine lake in the heart of the national forest.

Four rides are offered daily, with a lunch ride that allows riders to picnic alongside the lake. Rides are limited to 7 riders, providing you with a great opportunity to have a quiet experience in the woods.

www.sawtoothmountainstables.com for more information.

Live Music & Cultural Events

A wide variety of live music, cultural events, and activities are "happening" throughout the year in the area. Some examples include the spring Lutsen 99er bike race, the summer Dragon Boat Races, Fisherman's Picnic, fall Bluegrass Master's Weekend, the winter Arctic Festival, and live bands at the Lutsen Ski Area. Cook County and the Lutsen area have a great many local musicians who you’ll find performing year-round at many dining and lodging venues. If you love music, Cook County is a bountiful spot!

View the Area Calendar for full list of cultural, outdoor and music events throughout the year.

Massage

Lutsen Resort’s WatersMeet Massage and Wellness Center is the perfect spot for a relaxing massage. The site overlooks Lake Superior and provides a relaxing experience for individuals and couples alike. You can book an individual massage or a couples massage, or, many women’s groups enjoy booking the whole space for their “girlfriend getaway”. Following your massage, retire to the relaxation room or outdoor deck to complete the experience.

Naturalist Programs

The Lutsen area is defined by the natural world and is teeming with wildlife. A variety of naturalists and nature programs are available without cost to area guests.. The Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center offers a variety of programs throughout the year at its Lake Superior site. Throughout the summer, the Forest Service offers programs at area resorts where you can learn about wolves, bears, moose, the Voyageurs and much more. Several of these programs occur at Lutsen Resort.

Lutsen Resort guests often gather by a campfire on the resort beach to listen to a naturalist in the evening.

Rock Climbing

Looking for a new perspective? Feel like you've "done it all?" Rock climbing on the North Shore might be your next best adventure.

For families and people new to the sport, we recommend Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply and Outdoor (Ed)Ventures who provide guided day trips to nearby Carlton Peak. This huge anorthosite dome offers excellent climbs for all abilities. Enjoy a birds-eye view of the Temperance River valley and the expansive shore of Lake Superior.

For experienced climbers, Superior North Outdoor Center is our local hot spot for climbing gear and information. If there is a route on the North Shore, they've climbed it.

Sea Kayaking

Lake Superior, an inland sea with its rugged shoreline, offers sea kayakers a paddler's paradise. The Lake Superior Water Trail passes by the Lutsen Resort beach. The MN DNR offers maps of the water trail.

For guests looking for a guided tour on Lake Superior, Lutsen Resort offers complimentary 3-hour sea kayak instruction and tours with one of our ACA assessed guides. If you want to experience a full day of kayaking on more remote locations of the lake, take a trip with Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply or North Shore Expeditions, both located in Grand Marais, or with Sawtooth Outfitters in Tofte. All three provide full day tours or kayak rentals.

We recommend using a certified local guide or certified kayak tour if you are not a skilled, experienced paddler. Before venturing out on the big lake, prepare yourself by knowing rescues and by wearing immersion gear. The water of Lake Superior is a hybrid of a lake and a sea. The lake has extremely cold water and very large waves and the weather conditions can change in a moment. Expect waves shoulder high or above head on many day.

Shopping

Not far from your lodging at Lutsen Resort, you’ll find great shopping options. The Lutsen and Grand Marais area has attracted a wide range of artists who have chosen to live and work here, as well as businesses that reflect the unique features of the area.

There are no strip malls but you'll find a unique group of shops and galleries from Tofte to Lutsen to Grand Marais. Here are a few great examples:

State Parks

Within a 10 minute drive from Lutsen Resort, you'll find two of the most stunning Minnesota State Parks: Cascade River State Park and Temperance River State Park. Both parks offer some of the best waterfalls and canyons in the state and within a short hike you'll see over 7 waterfalls on each river.

To the north, Judge C.R. Magney State Park hosts the Devil's Kettle. This is a waterfall that splits into two, one side continues down the river and the other disappears into a hole. Scientists still haven't found out where the water returns to the surface. Don't miss Grand Portage State Park on the Pigeon River. The High Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state.

MN State Parks Website

Towering Pines Canopy Tour

This adventure takes place at Gunflint Lodge and is a 2+ hour trip through the canopies of old growth white pine on the ridge behind the lodge. Sky guides lead each group from station to station, with a bit of nature and history shared at each stop. The 8 zip lines of the course vary in length up to nearly 800 feet in length. Each stop has an wonderful view out over miles of wilderness--the high cliffs, Lonely Lake, Gunflint Lake, the Canadian lands to the north, and the entire forested basin along the south shore of Gunflint Lake. This trip is suitable for people from ages 10 to 99 and does not require any special strength or skill--just a twinkle in your eye and a sense for a new adventure.

Cross-Country Skiing

This is the best Minnesota cross country skiing! There are over 150 kilometers of groomed and tracked cross-country trails nearby. Trails wind through spectacular terrain with Lake Superior overlooks, open maple forests, canopies of cedar wetlands with deer and wolf tracks, across sunny meadows and small ponds. The trails vary from short beginner loops, 6 to 10 km. intermediate loops and a challenging 25 km. loop for experienced skiers. The resort has complimentary xc skis and snowshoes available for guests. The resort provides a waxing room for cross-country skiers.

Ask our staff about the latest ski conditions. They can also direct you to cross-country ski maps and trail descriptions.

Check out our Cross-Country Ski Packages and Ski Deals

Down-Hill Skiing

Lutsen Mountains Ski Area is a five minute drive from Lutsen Resort. The ski area offers over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain, 92 runs and 986 feet of vertical. The longest run is 2 miles. You'll find all levels of skiing from wide open groomed cruisers to the 60 acres of steep tree skiing and expert only "The Plunge". On Mystery Mountain, snowboarders and adventurous skiers will find a terrain park with rail slides and jumps. Lutsen Mountains offers lessons for beginners, ski and snowboard rentals, on-hill cafes.

Check out our Lutsen Resort Ski Packages & Ski Deals

We offer free door-to-door shuttles for our guests. We'll drop you off at the ticket office and pick you up at day's end.

Grand Marais

While lodging at Lutsen Resort, many guests enjoy a day trip into Grand Marais, a short drive away. This small, charming community, located on a small harbor, is reminiscent of a fishing village on the Atlantic Coast. Visitors find a great blend of quaint shops, art galleries, restaurants and gifts shops as well as outfitting stores for those heading for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. More about shopping, dining, galleries in Grand Marais.

Guided Snowshoe Hike

The Lutsen area has a variety of snowshoe trails available nearby which take you through a variety of interesting terrain. Lutsten Resort guests have access to complimentary adult and children's snowshoes available as well as maps of snowshoe trails.

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides

Nothing beats the romantic atmosphere of an evening sleigh ride! There are two options in the area.

Cascade Lodge Sleigh Rides is the closest option and is about 8 miles from Lutsen Resort. They offer a ride through the beautiful forest near Cascade Lodge. You'll love the team of Belgian horses pulling the sleigh while you snuggle under blankets! Warm up with a bonfire & hot chocolate. Credit card security deposit required for all rides. Call 218-387-1112 for reservations.

Okontoe Sleigh Rides requires a longer drive up the Gunflint Trail, but offers a magical experience and is awarded our "Staff Pick" Take a step back in time to the homestead of the Pattens. The ride through the dark northern Minnesota night is completely lit by lanterns. Watch the the massive horses (over a ton each), being hooked up to your sleigh, listen to the stories and songs sung by owner, Mark Patten, as you snuggle under blankets. After your sleigh ride join the Patten family in their cozy log home for a cup of real (as in no instant mix here) hot chocolate.

Live Music & Cultural Events

A wide variety of live music, cultural events, and activities are "happening" throughout the year in the area. Some examples include the spring Lutsen 99er bike race, the summer Dragon Boat Races, Fisherman's Picnic, fall Bluegrass Master's Weekend, the winter Arctic Festival, and live bands at the Lutsen Ski Area. Cook County and the Lutsen area have a great many local musicians who you’ll find performing year-round at many dining and lodging venues. If you love music, Cook County is a bountiful spot!

View the Area Calendar for full list of cultural, outdoor and music events throughout the year.

Massage

Lutsen Resort’s WatersMeet Massage and Wellness Center is the perfect spot for a relaxing massage. The site overlooks Lake Superior and provides a relaxing experience for individuals and couples alike. You can book an individual massage or a couples massage, or, many women’s groups enjoy booking the whole space for their “girlfriend getaway”. Following your massage, retire to the relaxation room or outdoor deck to complete the experience.

Sled Dog Rides

Cook County is a mecca for sled dog trainers and racers. Many people choose to live and train in the area and several "mushers" share their dogs and expertise with area guests. A sled dog ride is a fun way to experience the northwoods and a way to learn a little about the sport. For details about where to find area sled dog rides, click here.

Snowmobiling

Don't leave your sleds behind! The Lutsen area has great snowmobile trails and at Lutsen Resort you have direct access out your door to the many miles of North Shore trails running through the nearby wilderness. Experience some of the best snowmobiling in Minnesota with trails that provide a short run, an all day trip or overnight snowmobile options.

Snowmobile rentals are available in several spots in the County. Both Grand Marais and Beaver Bay have rentals.

Trail Map

Trail Conditions

Area Activities

With Lake Superior at its doorstep and the Superior National Forest right in the backyard, there are activities to suit guests of every age and interest year-round. Well-known for its skiing, golfing and hiking opportunities, the area offers unlimited possibilities for enjoying the outdoors. The resort's recreation staff are available by phone (218) 663-6695 or email for additional information.

> View Lutsen Resort Activities

WatersMeet Spa & Wellness Center

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