Visit our trail-friendly sponsor!
The Parks and Trails Council's mission is to acquire, protect and enhance critical land for the public's use and benefit.

Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park is named after the series of waterfalls the Cascade River takes on its way into Lake Superior and it’s a favorite with hikers and cross country skiers. It’s located nine miles southwest of Grand Marais on the North Shore Scenic Byway in Minnesota’s Cook County. Read more …

Cascade River State Park is known for its series of Cascading waterfalls

The waterfalls give this state park its name


Taking a break along the hiking trails at Cascade River State Park

Taking a break along the hiking trails


Read more here:

Hiking along the 18-mile hiking trail system, you’ll pass through upland forests of spruce, fir and maples. You can get a bird’s-eye view of the myriad shades of green that sweep over the surrounding land from the overlooks. The busiest park trails straddle the Cascade River canyon, leading up to the many waterfalls that tumble toward Lake Superior.

The paths are the handiwork of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) of the 1930s. Some park trails climb into the Sawtooth Mountains, entering the Superior National Forest. By arrangement with the U.S. Forest Service, these trails lead to the top of Lookout Mountain, Moose Mountain and another bluff-top overlook. Along some of the trails, you’ll be treated to broad vistas of Lake Superior. Other paths afford views of the inland bluffs.

Read about running Cascade River’s trails: A Runner’s Guide to Minnesota’s North Shore.

Rugged hiking trails throughout the park at Cascade River State Park

Rugged hiking trails throughout the park

Lookout Mountain scenic overlook at Cascade River State Park

Lookout Mountain scenic overlook

One of the five-backpack campsites in the park and the surrounding forest is along the shore of Lake Superior on the park’s north end. The main campground has 40 semi-modern campsites. Cascade River also maintains two group camps.
Plants and Wildlife
The North Shore area has an almost endless variety of wildflower habitats like bogs, marshes, coniferous forest, deciduous woods and rocky ledges. In the park, springtime wildflowers include bird’s-eye primrose and starflowers. Others, like moccasin flowers orchids and touch-me-nots, also show off their brightly colored blossoms, a product of long days and cool nights. The park and surrounding forests are home to timber wolves and black bears, in addition to moose, but Cascade River is best known for its winter deer herd. Deer gather in the Jonvik deer yard, the largest in Minnesota, to find protection from wind and cold and to browse in the North Shore forests of aspen, birch and white cedar. A park sign describes the Cascade River as flowing “though a twisting, rocky gorge in a series of rapids that descends 225 feet in a distance of one mile.” The mist that sprays the gorge walls fosters moist colonies of mosses and lichens. Great cedar and fir trees rise like pillars from the rock formations above the river.
More photos
The Cascade River at Cascade River State Park

The Cascade River

View of Lake Superior and the highway 61 bridge at Cascade River State Park

View of Lake Superior and the Highway 61 bridge


It’s easy to keep warm during the winter around Cascade River State Park. The park’s 17 miles of cross-country ski trails are designed for all abilities and link with others in the area. Snowshoeing and hiking are the best ways to see the wintry lower Cascade River gorge. The gorge’s beauty is particularly striking when the tenacious ice stills the falls in a severe winter.
More about skiing in the Tofte/Lutsen area

Visit our trail-friendly sponsor!
The Mesabi Trail connects Minnesota's Iron Range with the Boundary Waters
The Scenic Shore 150 Bike Tour is a two-day, 150-mile, fully supported cycling event that is open to riders of all ages and abilities.
Hutchinson MN: Home of the Luce Line State Trail
Walker, MN is connected to more than 150 miles of paved trails!
Alexandria, MN is home to miles of ski, fatbike and snowmobile trails!
Visit our trail-friendly sponsor!
Cook County, MN is home to the largest cross country ski trail network in North America, totaling over 400 km.

Please join our newsletter mailing list!

It’s your source for sneak previews of the next print issue, new trails to explore, upcoming events and the latest blog posts. We promise to keep it brief, entertaining and relevant and you can unsubscribe anytime. We will not share your info with anyone.

* indicates required