Duluth Day Trip

Jay Cooke State Park

This weekend we darted up to the North Shore on Saturday for a quick day trip - it had been too long since I'd seen Superior and I really wanted to spend more time exploring Jay Cooke State Park. I also recently bought a super-telephoto lens and was hoping there would be lots of wildlife to photograph, but, no such luck. Photography became sort of secondary to just hiking, climbing around on rocks in the river and frantically avoiding the dozens and dozens of slugs along the trail that were dropping down from trees on long strings of their own slime (it was like something out of a nightmare and one of the most disgusting things I've encountered in the woods). 

After hiking for a few hours we headed to Duluth and stopped by all the favorites - we grabbed lunch at Northern Waters Smokehaus and took our sandwiches to Brighton Beach to eat and enjoy the gorgeous Superior view. Then, we cruised up Hwy 61 a bit and stopped at the McQuade Small Craft Harbor - there is a lovely pier you can walk along, and a small beach that was almost empty. Jay took advantage of the semi-warm Superior water and swam around while I enjoyed lounging on the pebble beach and listening to the waves role in. 

We ended the day with a pint at the always fabulous Bent Paddle Brewery, and to fill up a growler to bring a bit of Duluth back home with us. 

Here are a few snapshots from the day (click to enlarge):

All in all it was the exact little break I needed. This was the first single day trip I've made to the North Shore (usually I spend at least a weekend), and I know this will become more routine - especially for photo outings. I did a bit of research on other things to do in Duluth and surrounding area (besides hike at nearby parks) - I'd love to spend more time in the city. Here are a few of the top things I'm looking forward to adding to the next few visits that can each be done during a day trip:

1.) There were a few dudes kayaking down the St. Louis River and I would LOVE to try it out - a bit of googling and Look! you can take a 3-4 hour intro to whitewater kayaking class! Sign me up. 

2.) This Grand Sightseeing Boat Tour seems awesome (and is a huge tourist attraction) - I'd love to be out on Superior, I've actually never been on a boat on the lake! (Kayaking on Superior is also on the short list) 

3.) Another tourist-y activity, but cruising along the North Shore by train seems ridiculously relaxing and romantic. This one I'll save for when fall colors are at their peak, and book me a first class ticket, please. 

What are your favorite Duluth/North Shore activities?



Lucy Hawthorne