North Shore, Minnesota: Hiking Carlton Peak

Most of what we’ve done since returning to the United States falls under the category of “adulting.” We’ve been to the DMV twice, countless doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping (my favorite), and, of course, we’ve spent hours catching up with family and friends.

Not a whole lot to blog about : )

But, my husband and I did convince my parents and sister to go on a 7-mile hike up to Carlton Peak.

Starting in Duluth, we woke up at a pretty leisurely pace (it’s summer break after all!). We drove the hour and a half north to Temperance River State Park, taking in the stunning views of the North Shore along the way.

After a bit of confusion, we parked out on MN HWY 61 just before the entrance to the state park and took the gorge trail. This meant a significantly longer hike than had we simply parked at the Britton Peak Trailhead, however, it also meant that we got to start our hike with gorgeous views of the Temperance River.



We followed the river for a mile or so before veering off into the woods. If I let my family guest blog, they would say I took an annoying number of photos during this first stretch of our hike. But can you blame me? The next two miles or so, I kept my camera to myself as we made our way through narrower paths and more vertical climbs.

It took us two-and-a-half hours to make it to the top of Carlton Peak. I can’t speak for everyone in our group, but I certainly thought the views were worth it. Lake Superior to one side and an endless sea of trees to the other.



The hike back down was significantly quicker. We knew where we were going this time (though we only made one short detour on the way up!). The trails are well-marked, even if they aren’t well-traveled. We only encountered four people after we left the more popular trails down by the river.

An hour and a half later and we were back where we started. I can’t say it would take you the full four hours it took us. These couple photos probably added to the total hiking time : )



But so many of our travels take place solo, meaning it’s hard to get any photos together other than a hurried selfie. So, clearly, we decided to maximize having family around! We also had a picnic of Lärabars and apples at the peak to extend our viewing time.

Meaning, a dedicated hiker could probably get this done in three hours or so. But we enjoyed our four hours out in nature, breathing in the fresh air and remembering what it is that keeps bringing us back to Minnesota.

  1. I agree with you, Ashley. The views at the top off the peak were well worth it! However, the sights on the way up and down the trail were also spectacular! I had fun taking time to look around and occasionally taking pictures.


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