A trail with a view off the GunflintA trek to the Rose Lake cliffs offers a tough test of a hiker’s endurance, but for those who persevere, the payoff is the chance to survey the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from overlooks hundreds of feet high.
By: Andrew Krueger, Duluth News Tribune
A trek to the Rose Lake cliffs offers a tough test of a hiker’s endurance, but for those who persevere, the payoff is the chance to survey the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from overlooks hundreds of feet high.
I started at the Caribou Rock trailhead, off the Gunflint Trail near Hungry Jack Lake. The 3½-mile Caribou Rock Trail climbs and drops 200 feet at a time over rocky terrain, so it feels much longer than the actual distance.
At the end, though, are the mossy rocks and cascades along Stairway Portage, leading down to the shores of Rose Lake where you can sit and enjoy the view across the water to Canada. And just east of the portage, the Border Route Trail offers great views from the rock outcroppings high above the lake.
From there, I hiked west along the Border Route Trail a couple of miles to reach even more spectacular high cliffs, rising close to 500 feet above nearby Rose, Rat and South lakes and offering awesome views. I saw few markers along the Border Route, but I found the trail relatively easy to follow through the underbrush by paying close attention. One tip: Look for saw-cut downed timber along the trail, a sure sign of a trail crew having worked there in recent years. A topographic map is a necessity for route-finding.
After close to five miles, I met the South Lake Trail at a signed junction and turned south. The four-mile trail leads back to the Gunflint Trail (Cook County Highway 12).
Once back out at the Gunflint Trail, you’ll have to walk the road — or make arrangements for a ride several miles back to your car.