Loon Point Resort - Nearby Hiking Trails
Getting There: Take the resort road and gravel road back out to the paved highway (Co. Rd. 52) and turn left (south). Go about 4 miles until you reach a stop sign (Co. Rd. 7) and turn left (south). Drive about 7 miles until you see a big gas station/store on the left where Highway 8 comes in from the left. Go about 1/2 mile beyond this intersection and turn right on Co. Rd. 50. Go the entire length of Co. Rd. 50 (about 7 miles) until it ends at Co. Rd. 49 and turn right. Then go about 1½ miles to Co. Rd. 326 (a gravel road) and turn left. (It's just beyond a sanitary landfill. If you reach the point where Co. Rd. 49 becomes a gravel road, you've gone about 1-2 blocks too far.) Follow the gravel road about 1½ miles, down the steep hill, through Mayen's Resort, past several private homes and cabins, until the road becomes a two-rut road for about a block before you come out to a small parking lot at the end of the road, and a well marked trail head. (NOTE: As you go along this road, you'll think you're going into peoples' private yards, but you won't be. Just keep going until you reach the parking area.)
Hiking: The trail winds through the woods for about two miles. About 1/3 of the way along the trail you'll reach a well-marked area of the woods that encountered severe wind damage several years ago. About 2/3 of the way along the trail, you'll come to a cross trail. Left on this cross trail will take you about 1 block to Trout Lake. Right on this trail will bring you up a hill to a spot that overlooks a small, undeveloped lake. However, unless you want to do some extra hiking, I wouldn't recommend that, since you will come to an overlook of this same lake by continuing on the main trail. At the end of the 2-mile trail, you go down a long hill until you come to a two-rut road (used only by the Forest Service) and turn left towards the lake. Follow this road about 1/2 mile (bearing right when you get to the lake) to the Joyce Estate (a partially restored historic site where a private resort was built on a point of Trout Lake about 90 years ago).
Over 95% of the shoreline of Trout Lake is undeveloped. Be sure to walk out to the end of the point at the Joyce Estate and stand on the sandbar. It's like standing in the middle of the lake. There's a toilet just beyond the old main lodge.
I recommend taking a lunch along and eating in the Joyce Estate area. There are several nice spots to sit along the lake, or you can take the steps up the hill just beyond the main lodge to a grassy area overlooking the lake. There are also some walk-in campsites along the lake next to the road leading to the Joyce Estate. I would allow 1 hour to walk in, 1 hour to walk out, and 30-60 minutes to enjoy the area and eat lunch.
Total Hiking Distance: 5 miles round trip
Getting There: Take the resort road and gravel road back out to the paved highway (Co. Rd. 52) and turn right (north). After 3 miles, Co. Rd. 52 turns to the right, and the paved road becomes Co. Rd. 340. Stay on 340. After another ½ mile, Co. Rd. 340 becomes a gravel road. Drive on the gravel road about 6 miles until you reach Co. Rd. 7 and turn right (north). Go about 3 miles until you come to the entrance to Scenic State Park (Co. Rd. 75). Turn right into the park and go about 1/2 mile (or less) until you see a small parking area (for about 3-4 cars) on your right. That's the start of the Chase Point Trail. (NOTE: This parking area comes before you get to the park office. I don't know if you need a State Park permit to park there.)
Hiking: Take the trail up the hill to your right until it reaches the main trail and turn left. (A sign points the way to the Chase Point Trail.) The trail is about 1 mile long, and follows the top of a ridge between two lakes (Sandwick and Coon Lakes). You can see both lakes along this trail. This is an interpretive trail, with signs along the way identifying many of the trees. At several points you walk on a bed of pine needles through some beautiful towering red pines. About half way along the trail you come to a large log with a commemorative plaque regarding Zaiser Island in Sandwick Lake. At the end of the trail, you go down the ridge to the edge of Coon Lake. (They've put in some steps to help you navigate the steep slope.) When you get to the end of the point, walk around to the left and sit on the wooden bench at the edge of the beach. You'll often see little sunfish swim up to the edge of the lake at this spot.
Total Hiking Distance: 2 miles round trip
Getting There: Take the resort road and gravel road back out to the paved highway (Co. Rd. 52) and turn right (north). After 3 miles, Co. Rd. 52 turns to the right, and the paved road becomes Co. Rd. 340. Stay on 340. After another ½ mile, Co. Rd. 340 becomes a gravel road. Drive on the gravel road about 6 miles until you reach Co. Rd. 7 and turn right (north). Go about 3 miles until you come to the entrance to Scenic State Park (Co. Rd. 75). Turn right into the park and drive about 1½ miles on the main road (past the picnic grounds and campgrounds) to the boat ramp parking lot and park in a spot farthest from the lake. Then walk back up the road (about 1-2 blocks) until you reach the start of the trail on your right. (NOTE: You will pass the park office on the way in, and will need a State Park permit.)
Hiking: At the start of this trail you walk by some giant red and white pine trees before descending into a forest lowland area with lots of wildflowers. After about 0.6 miles you come to a fork in the trail. Take the trail to the right. (A sign points toward the fire tower.) Another 0.6 miles brings you to the fire tower. The trail from the fork to the tower is generally uphill, with the last block or so decidedly uphill. (NOTE: The fire tower is fenced off, and you are not allowed to climb it.)
At the fire tower the trail comes to a T. I would recommend hiking the trail to the left for about ¼ mile until you reach a two-rut road. Then go directly across this road to a trail marked with a campsite sign. Follow this trail about 1 block to the campsite, which overlooks a beautiful, undeveloped lake (Pine Lake).
Total Hiking Distance: 3 miles round trip
(NOTE: The Suomi Hills Recreation Area is a large area with over 20 miles of interconnected trails that are mowed in the summer. The Lawrence Lake Trail is a relatively short, circular trail that features the dense forests, rolling hills, and pristine lakes that are typical of this area.)
Getting There: Take the resort road and gravel road back out to the paved highway (Co. Rd. 52) and turn left (south). Go about 4 miles until you reach a stop sign (Co. Rd. 7) and turn left (south). Drive about 11 miles to Co. Rd. 59 and turn right. Go about 7 miles on Co. Rd. 59 until you reach Co. Rd. 60, and turn right. Go about 4 miles on Co. Rd. 60 until it ends at State Highway 38. Turn right (north) on 38 and drive about 2.2 miles to the entrance to Suomi Hills (there's a sign on the road), and turn left into the parking lot. (NOTE: There are two parking lots for Suomi Hills, several miles apart. If you approach Suomi Hills from the north, turn into the second parking lot, the one farthest to the south.)
Hiking: (NOTE: This is a very hilly trail.) The trail starts to the left of the trail sign in the southeast corner of the parking lot and runs parallel to the highway. After 1-2 blocks, you come to a fork in the trail. Stay to the left (even though an arrow points to the right). After about 1/3 mile, the trail turns away from the highway. Soon you come to the edge of an undeveloped lake (Lawrence Lake). At this point, a path comes in from the right. Continue straight ahead. After about 1 mile on the trail, you come to a cross-trail. Again, continue straight ahead. The trail reaches the top of a hill overlooking another undeveloped lake (Lucky Lake) on your left. About half way along this lake, the trail comes to a T. Turn right (downhill). About ¼ mile along this trail, you come to an intersection of several trails. Take the trail straight ahead marked for Hikers (not the trail to the Parking Lot). Eventually you reach the shore of a third undeveloped lake (Hill Lake). As you continue on the trail up the hill from Hill Lake, you reach a small parking area. Then follow the road from this parking area back to the original parking lot and your car.
Total Hiking Distance: 2½ miles
Many people hike on the road that brings you into the resort. It's exactly ½ mile from the resort out to the gravel road (Co. Rd. 310). If you turn left on the gravel road and walk out to the paved highway (Co. Rd. 52), it's another ½ mile. If you turn right on the gravel road, you can walk several miles along this road before it ends at private homes.
At the top of the concrete boat launching ramp, to the left of the area used to store boat trailers and extra boats, an arrow points to a trail into the woods. If you follow this trail about 100 feet, you come to an overlook of the North Bay of Wasson Lake. Continuing on this trail brings you through the woods to a fork in the trail. Either branch of this fork takes you back to the resort road.
For another hiking alternative, take the resort road out to the gravel road (½ mile) and turn left. About 1 block down the gravel road, turn on the first road to your right (a two-rut road). There are lots of wildflowers along this road. About ¼ mile in on this road you come to a grove of tall trees (mostly aspens). As you exit this grove, you'll see a path (probably overgrown) on your left. Follow this path about 50 feet down to a pond.
Getting There: Take the resort road and gravel road back out to the paved highway (Co. Rd. 52) and turn left (south). Go about 4 miles until you reach a stop sign (Co. Rd. 7) and turn left (south). Drive about 3½ miles until you see a road sign for a snowmobile crossing at the top of a rise in the road. Turn right at the top of the rise in the road into a small parking area. (NOTE: Although this is a snowmobile trail, they mow the parking area and parts of the trail during the summer.)
Hiking: Cross the highway and follow the trail to the east. You pass through both woods and meadows on this trail, with lots of wildflowers along the trail. After about ¾ mile, you walk down a hill onto a bridge crossing a beautiful clear stream with lots of small fish and hundreds of small clams. Hiking distance is about 1½ miles round trip back to the car.
You can also follow the trail from the parking area to the west. The trail follows an unimproved road through the thick woods.
The Mesabi Trail is a paved, biking/hiking trail that runs from Grand Rapids to Virginia and beyond (eventually to Ely), generally following US Highway 169. If you would like to try a small portion of it, I would recommend driving south on County Roads 52 and 7 to just north of US 169 (about 22 miles). A trail crossing sign marks the Mesabi Trail. There's a small parking area just south of the Trail on the left (east) side of the road.
Follow the trail west (across Co. Rd. 7) toward the town of Taconite. The trail crosses a swampy area on a floating boardwalk, and then follows a fairly steep path up the hill. At the top of the hill, the trail passes through woods and meadows to Taconite. As you enter the town, note the abandoned buildings that were once part of a thriving taconite mining industry. The trail winds through the town to an informational trailhead on the west side of town. The hike from the parking lot to the trailhead and back is about 2 miles.
You can also follow the trail east from the parking lot. After climbing the hill, the trail meanders through the woods for several miles to the town of Marble.
Another option is to drive south on County Roads 52 and 7 to US 169 and turn left (east). Drive on 169 about 5-6 miles to Calumet and turn left into the town. Drive through the town and park at the parking area for the Hill Annex Mine State Park. (A State Park permit is not needed to park here.) The trail starts beyond the white building next to the parking area.
Follow the trail to the right up and over the hill. There are lots of wildflowers along this part of the trail, with a view of an open pit mine in the distance. A hike along this trail to the next town (Marble) and back is about 2½ miles.
(NOTE: If you use a bike or inline skates on the Mesabi Trail, you must buy a two-day or annual wheel pass.)
Wabana Trails is a wooded area with about 6 miles of interlocking trails, primarily used for cross-country skiing in the winter. They are not maintained in the summer, and, as summer progresses, they become overgrown and difficult to hike. If you would like to explore these trails, they are located on Co. Rd. 59, four miles west of Co. Rd. 7 on the left side of the road. (See the instructions for the Lawrence Lake Trail on how to get to Co. Rd. 59.)
McCarthy Beach State Park is located about 30 miles (by car) northwest of Loon Point Resort. If you visit this State Park and plan to hike, I would recommend the trail around Pickerel Lake. Visit the State Park office for information on this trail and where to park. (NOTE: A State Park permit is needed for this hike.)
There are several hunter/walking trails in the area that are not maintained and often difficult to follow (inexperienced hikers could get lost on some of these trails). If you would like a list of the locations of these trails, visit the Visitor Center in Grand Rapids, or the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center located on State Highway 38, just north of Marcell on the right (east) side of the highway just before you reach Co. Rd. 45.
There are also many Forest Roads in the area ranging from two-lane, maintained gravel roads to two-rut, nearly impassable roads. These roads are a great source of trails for hiking. To obtain a map of the locations of these roads, visit the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center on State Highway 38, just north of Marcell.