As nightfall came to our secluded camp nestled on the shores of Lake Agnes, a bone-chilling howl carried across the calm water.
“Wolf?” a member of our camping party considered.
Without confirmation of the animal and regardless of the fact it could be a coyote or a wolf, I knew we’d come to the right camp spot along the Lake Superior Trail. This was Mother Nature at her finest.
With the peak of the tourist season coming to an end, now is the perfect time to explore Minnesota’s diverse and expansive trails, rivers, lakes and parks. Among the grandest of them all is the Lake Superior Trail. The well-established trail covers 275 miles and runs parallel to the shore of Lake Superior. It begins just south of Duluth in Jay Cooke State Park and ends near the Canadian border.
Among the trail’s many highlights are 81 primitive campsites (meaning no electricity or treated water). The campsites range from lakeshores to scenic overlooks of rivers and creeks. The sites are all free to use and feature fire pits and tent pads. A majority of the sites also have makeshift benches provided by the good people who tend to the Lake Superior Trail.
During our most recent outing, some friends and I drove 4 hours north from Minneapolis to a trailhead leading to beautiful Lake Agnes, a sanction of the Lake Superior Trail. The trailhead is found along the shores of Caribou Lake, a few miles northwest of the tiny town Lutsen.
It is just shy of a mile from the parking lot at Caribou Lake to the shores of Lake Agnes. The trail requires moderate hiking ability and despite its short distance will get the heart pumping for all the right reasons. Craggily roots and rocks decorate the trail, providing both scenery and a challenge in certain sections.
Once at the lake, there are two sites that both feature prime-camping opportunities. The closest to the junction, and in my opinion, better of the two sites is found on a peninsula just to the right of the well-marked junction. The other is found by traveling .3 miles west of the junction.
At the peninsula site there are several flat areas (pads) ideal for propping a tent. The lakeshore is open and provides excellent fishing opportunities. Wildlife is aplenty and the night skies can be viewed in full glory from the tip of the peninsula. And when the animals begin calling, nothing jolts the senses quite like figuring out if it’s a wolf or a coyote roaming near the shores of Lake Agnes!
Photos by Maggie Nielsen