Cook County – the cure for cabin fever

Sure, the holidays are over…but winter has a long way to go. This year, instead of hiding in the house for the next four months, why not embrace the beauty and excitement of our fantastic Minnesota winter? See what’s cooking in Cook County. You will find that it is the coolest county in the state…and we are no we’re talking about the weather.

Natural beauty abounds here

Just a four-hour drive northeast of the Twin Cities, Cook County is a world apart from the metro area. Elegant pines and an abundance of lakes and streams decorate the landscape. The area boasts Minnesota’s highest natural point—Eagle Mountain—at 2,301 feet and nestles next to Lake Superior at its southern border. In winter, a blanket of snow blankets the stunning Superior National Forest, sparkling in the bright winter sunlight. You might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of some of the county’s “natives”—moose, foxes, bobcats, beavers, and otters, to name a few. And of course, no visit would be complete without the sound of screech owls or the memorable cry of Minnesota loons.

If you’re just looking for a beautiful place to relax, Cook County is the place to be. But if you’re looking for more, Cook County is the place to look.

What brings you to this end of the forest?

Cook County boasts four distinct communities ready to welcome you, whether it’s a multi-night winter getaway or just a day trip. Each area offers its own charm and beauty. Choose one that fits your itinerary, or check them all out.

Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder

Dotted along the Lake Superior shoreline, the communities of Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder are the southern gateway to Cook County. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or the comfort of the great indoors, you’ll find it here.

Can’t wait to hit the slopes? Schuss to the Lutsen Mountains, the largest ski resort in the Midwest with 95 runs, 4 mountains and 1088 feet of vertical. With an average of 120 inches of snow per year, why would you go anywhere else?

There are plenty of other ways to embrace winter while you’re here. Put on some snowshoes and discover the epic beauty of the superb hiking trail; gliding across the largest network of cross-country ski trails in North America; enjoy a wild ride on 450 miles of snowmobile trails; or experience the magic of the Northern Lights on a crisp, clear winter evening.

Ideal accommodation creates a perfect North Shore adventure. Here you’ll find everything from cozy cabins to hotels to full-service resorts. There are even winter campsites if you’re feeling adventurous.

Grand Marais

Known for its art community and inspiring environment, Grand Marais has been named “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel Magazine. Minnesota’s oldest art colony is located in this harbor town, where you’re sure to find something to appreciate in one of its many amazing shops and galleries.

Of course, there are opportunities here to pursue all the winter adventures you love, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. For something different? Why not go on a winter hike through the Superior National Forest or try fat tire winter biking?

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you’ll find a feast of local eateries and restaurants here, from small cafes to casual grills to classic supper clubs.

Great wear

Visit Grand Portage and you’ll venture to the very top of Minnesota’s Arrowhead region. The area is home to the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewas, who established one of the earliest Ojibwe settlements in the state. It is a magical place filled with culture, history and natural beauty.

You’ll want to make sure to visit Grand Portage National Monument while you’re here. Learn about the partnership between the Grand Portage Anishinaabe and the North West Company that occurred during the North American fur trade. Enjoy the semi-desert environment featuring 710 preserved acres that include a historic Lake Superior Depot and the site of Fort Charlotte with the Grand Portage connecting the two.

Another thing you can’t miss? Grand Portage State Park, which boasts High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. It’s just stunning to see no matter what the season.

Gunflint Trail

The Gunflint Trail, a 57-kilometre paved National Scenic Byway, is breathtakingly beautiful as it winds through the Superior National Forest on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCAW) wilderness and Canada’s Quetico National Park. If your final destination is BWCAW, the Gunflint Trail is the best way to get there.

For a truly tranquil wilderness escape, nothing beats the Gunflint Trail. As you meander through this whimsical wonderland, you’ll encounter cozy lodges, restaurants serving hearty meals, and millions of hidden gems where you can meditate and be amazed by nature’s bounty and beauty.

You won’t want to miss this

North Shore residents and visitors aren’t letting a little cold put an end to the party. If you’re heading out this winter, be sure to plan to take part in one (or more) of the following fun events:

  • Hygge Festival. February 4 – February 14, 2023 Cook County

Perfect the art of Hygee (pronounced “hoo-gah”), a Danish term from the 1800s that emphasizes taking time out of the everyday to spend time in life’s simple pleasures. This 10-day festival is the highlight of winter in Cook County, offering amazing events like the Grand Marais Pond Hockey Tournament, a guided frozen waterfall hike, the 8th annual vintage snowmobile ride plus art activities, trivia, live music and much, much more.

  • Cook County Fireplace Tour. February 1 – February 28, 2023, various locations

What could be cozier (or more romantic) than snuggling up in front of a roaring fire with the ones you love? The Cook County Fireplace Tour promotes the practice of Hygee with multiple stops at spectacular, blazing fireplaces located throughout the county.

  • Group sleigh rides. January to March 2023 Gunflint Lodge & Outfitters

What could be more quintessentially Scandinavian than a sleigh ride through the Highland National Forest pulled by a bell-clad team of horses? Sled seats 10.

  • Wilderness Hok Ski Tour. Every Thursday until March. Caribou Highlands Lodge

Enjoy the scenic beauty of snow-covered lakes and rivers along the North Shore on the Wilderness Hok Ski Tour. Hok skis are a cross between snowshoes and cross-country skis, with shorter, thicker skis and leather underneath. They are easy to use by everyone from beginners to experts.

What are you waiting?

With so much to do, see and experience in Cook County this winter, what are you waiting for? Come enjoy the quiet of this peaceful winter getaway. For more information on things to do, places to stay and events to experience, come visit us at Visit Cook County. We can’t wait to see you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *