Cook County Blog

The joy of skating on a frozen lake - Gunflint Lake

Posted by Visit Cook County MN on 12/17/18 4:17 PM

In Northern Minnesota, it is most common that soon after the lakes freeze a significant snow storm arrives.  This winter, on many of our lakes that was the case. They froze and the snow came. However, this year on iconic Gunflint Lake conditions were different.


Hello Canada! Sitting on the ice looking at our friendly neighbors border.

Due to its significant depth and orientation, it is often one of the last lakes to freeze each season. And this year, after our first big snows in November the temperatures warmed up. While snow we still had a few snowstorms, wind and warmer weather delayed the freezing of this large lake. 

Frozen Gunflint Lake - looks just like the sky

It wasn't until early December when the cooler air returned that the ice began to form. After about a week of cold, calm weather, a firm layer of ice covered the lake. 

Perfect black ice for skating on Gunflint Lake

This has provided the perfect opportunity for epic skating adventures on one of Minnesota's most iconic lakes. The best ice can currently be found outside of Heston's Lodge and Gunflint Pines. Skating will continue to be spectacular until we get our next snowstorm, and the temperature is forecasted to continue to be cold enough to build upon the current ice base. However, remember that conditions can change rapidly and wind, moisture and temperatures can alter the surface greatly.  

Ice Skating on Gunflint Lake - December 16, 2018

While we encourage you to explore this wonderful phenomena, remember that ice is constantly changing and it is important to pay attention to conditions. Always be prepared with the appropriate safety gear. Ice picks, rope and a change of clothes in a waterproof bag are some of the important gear you should bring. Adventure lots but respect the wilderness. 


While these spectacular conditions won't last long, we are fortunate to have several other locations that will be maintaining skating rinks this winter. Find the perfect skating rink while you're in Cook County MN this winter. 

1. Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior in Lutsen

2. Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior in Tofte.

3. Birch Grove Community Center in Tofte.

4. Community Center in Grand Marais

5. Skyport Lodge on Devils Track Lake in Grand Marais

6. Gunflint Lodge on Gunflint Lake in Grand Marais.

 Time to start planning that Winter Vacation! 


And, one last post about skating on Gunflint Lake. 


Topics: Gunflint Trail, Winter, Kids & Family, phenomena, BWCAW