07 Aug Hiking to Lookout Mountain in Cascade River State Park
Although there are numerous trails at Cascade River State Park, we had our eyes set on hiking two of them. We wanted to hike the 3.5 mile loop to Lookout Mountain and the 7 mile trail that follows the Cascade River. Due to lack of time, we only made it out on the hike to Lookout Mountain; I guess we have to save the other trail for our next visit!
Not far from our campsite, we found the trail’s starting point which was at the Cascade River State Park Trail Center. The beginning of the trail takes you alongside the river, next to rushing waterfalls and luscious green forests. I was seriously in awe at the beautiful landscape–I expected it to be pretty, but not quite as beautiful as it was. I could have sat by the river all day and relaxed, but alas, we had hiking to do.
The water in the Cascade River looks slightly brown and there is a sign comparing it to root beer because of the foam! It would appear that the water is polluted, but it’s actually not–the coloration comes from humic acid in the water which is actually decaying matter that has run off from the nearby swamps. Thankfully, the brownish water doesn’t detract from the beauty of the waterfalls and river. After taking ample time to photograph and soak up all the views near the river, we continued on the trail that switched from a boardwalk to dirt trails.
The first portion of the trek was relaxing and cool under the shade of the trees, but eventually, we ended up in some unshaded areas, and the sun happened to be shining in all its glory. This made for a toasty second half of the hike, but we kept trucking along hoping the views from the top would be well worth our time.
Well, I think it’s safe to say we loved the views–and they were even better because we only ran into a handful of other hikers the entire day.
One of the backpack camping sites is located at the top of Lookout Mountain. It looked like a fun spot to camp, but we definitely weren’t prepared enough to hike all our supplies up to the top.
The hike itself isn’t too challenging, but mixed with the heat, it was strenuous enough for us! The trail is marked with blue “Hiking Club” signs, and it was easy enough to follow. We were beat when we reached the top, so thankfully we had enough time to sit down and enjoy the views out ahead of us.
At 1,200 ft above sea level (600 ft elevation rise from the parking lot), Lookout Mountain provides a beautiful glimpse over the surrounding land. Our view was made up of a forest of trees and Lake Superior in the backdrop. I can only imaging what the views would look like during the fall with the changing color of leaves–nothing short of spectacular, I’m sure!
The hike down wasn’t too bad, and before we knew it, we heard the familiar sounds of the flowing river once again. It was a perfect half day hike and it made for an enjoyable morning before we rushed off to Lutsen Mountain to release our inner child on their fun summer activities.