Cook County is a mecca for serious snowmobilers who enjoy a long ride with delicious food and beverages along the way. With 450 miles of snowmobile trails and an array of dining and lodging available at every turn, Cook County is the perfect destination for a snowmobile adventure.
Tucked between Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains, the area is the primary access point to the world-famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and creates the most memorable backdrops. Check out the live area webcams for a preview of what’s available on the trails.
Before hitting the trails that grace the western shore of Lake Superior along Tofte/Schroeder/Lutsen, adventurers can ride up to Moguls Grille & Tap Room at Caribou Highlands Lodge for a hot meal and a cold beer. Their famed walleye cakes will start your ride off on a high note. End your journey in the cozy lodging offerings of Cascade Lodge and Restaurant, located between Lutsen and Grand Marais, and indulge in some comfort food like the poutine burger and coconut-crusted walleye fingers for an authentic taste of the Northwoods. Riders can also enjoy talented featured musicians from around the area in the pub.
Continue north to Grand Marais, which offers variety of lodging, ranging from the boutique-style Mayhew Inn to the quintessential northern Minnesota experience at Skyport Lodge on the Gunflint Trail, which touts itself as a premier snowmobile destination and offers a full service restaurant and bar. With plenty of dining opportunities, including the highly-praised fry bread tacos at Hungry Hippie Tacos and famously delicious beer battered cheese curds and locally crafted beer at Voyageur Brewing Company, this charming small town offers the perfect chance to rest up and fuel up before hitting the trails.
Snowmobiling the Gunflint Trail
The Gunflint Snowmobile Trail begins just outside of Grand Marais, offering a scenic, wildlife-sighting-filled adventure of hills and turns. Follow the trail north and stop at the Poplar Haus, which offers a stellar food experience and Instagrammable cocktails like the Spruce Margarita, as featured by The Growler. Finish the day at Hungry Jack Lodge for a comfortable night’s rest, and where you can talk over the next day’s possibilities with their experienced wilderness staff. Equipment rentals and gas are available at this lakeside resort for those who want to enjoy a snowmobile adventure without towing their rigs. It is hard to imagine but at this point you’ve only reached the midway point of the Gunflint Trail. Take a minute to enjoy the sights and don’t miss the high bluff overlooking Gunflint Lake. Stop into Gunflint Lodge to warm up. There are still many miles of trails ahead to discover. On your way back down the trail, no trip would be complete without a stop at the iconic Trail Center Lodge for a quick burger and an adult sundae.
Connecting with the Gunflint Snowmobile Trail, the Grand Portage Trail follows the footsteps of the French fur traders and indigenous people, who navigated the rugged trail during the 1800s. Finish the journey at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, and enjoy scenic views of Lake Superior coupled with casino excitement. Head to Grand Portage on February 7 for the 17th Annual Snowarama, a fundraiser for Easter Seals Kids. Event includes a bonfire on the trail, a fabulous dinner and live music.
Put these 2020 snowmobile events on your calendar
The Cook County Ridge Riders offer a series of events hosted at key spots on the Gunflint Trail, including the Skyport Lodge Drag Races on Devil Track Lake on Jan. 25, the Hungry Jack Drag Races on Feb. 15 and Poplar Haus Drag Races on Feb. 29. These events are a must for anyone seeking a true snowmobiling adventure. Go by car, snowmobile or however you can to the sponsored stops for the 11th Annual Fun Run on Feb. 1. The event ends at the Ridge Riders Clubhouse with food, music and cash prizes.
Take a trip back in time and check out the annual Blast From The Past: Annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride on February 22nd at Cascade Lodge hosted by the Lutsen Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club. Find all of these snowmobiling events and more on our events calendar.
The local snowmobiling clubs also offer a trail map and serve as the trail maintenance and grooming resource throughout the season.