12 Best Hiking Trails on Minnesota’s North Shore

12 Best Hiking Trails on Minnesota’s North Shore

12 Best Hiking Trails on Minnesota’s North Shore

By Guest Writer Madeline Marquardt

Best hikes around the north shore

Best Hiking Trails on Minnesota’s North Shore:

Minnesota’s North Shore runs along Lake Superior, from Two Harbors all the way north to the Canadian Border. The North Shore is a hiker’s paradise, with both long trails for thru-hiking, options for 2-3 day overnight trips, and an incredible selection of day hikes.

1) Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park is the perfect quick stop for an incredible North Shore waterfall, including ADA accessible viewpoints. There are several waterfalls in Gooseberry Falls State park, and it’s the perfect place to spend a whole day, or just stop and view the largest falls before you continue up the North Shore. 

2) Split Rock Lighthouse

Did you know that one of the most photogenic lighthouses in the US is right here in Minnesota? Built in 1910, Split Rock Lighthouse stands watch over the palisades at Split Rock. Split Rock Lighthouse makes for an excellent sunrise location, and there are plenty of easy hiking trails within the park, making Split Rock home to some of the best hiking trails on the North Shore for families!

3) High Falls in Tettegouche State Park

If you’re looking for one of the most impressive waterfalls in Minnesota, head out to High Falls in Tettegouche State Park. This waterfall cascades nearly 70 ft down on the Baptism River. This is an easy to moderate hike, depending on the season and group ability. I recommend hiking in the early morning to avoid the crowds, or heading out in the winter with ice spikes for a unique North Shore hike.

4) Fantasia Overlook on the SHT

Are you looking for a hard 5-7 mile hike with incredible views the whole way? How about the ultimate spot for fall color? Head out to the Fantasia Overlook on the Superior Hiking Trail. Park off the Superior Hiking Trail trailhead off Highway One and head Northeast along the trail. 

You’ll climb high up into the hills and experience sweeping views of Lake Superior and Tettegouche State Park along the way. When you reach the Fantasia Overlook Spur Trail, take the half mile spur to the overlook. Here, you’ll hike along the ridge with incredible views the entire way until you reach the Fantasia Overlook. For an added challenge, continue Northeast along the Superior Hiking Trail before turning back for a beautiful overlook of Johnshon Lake and the Wolf Ridge Environmental Center. 

Fantasia Overlook and the hiking trails around Tettegouche State Park are some of the best North Shore hiking trails for fall color!

5) Caribou Falls

Looking for a family friendly hike with a large waterfall and no crowds? Head to the Caribou Falls Wayside. This short hike will take you into the hills, then down a large set of stairs to the base of the incredible Caribou Falls. Caribou Falls is one of the best lesser known waterfalls on the North Shore, and one of the best easy hiking trails.

6) Temperance River State Park 

Ever wanted to see a slot canyon in Minnesota? Temperance River State Park is home to Hidden Falls, a waterfall that plunges out of sight within the rock of the North Shore. This state park has great hiking trails for anyone looking for a hint of Out West in the Midwest. 

Between the gushing waterfalls, unique views of Lake Superior, and options for a difficult hike up to Carlton Peak, Temperance River State Park offers some of the best day hiking and views on the North Shore of Minnesota. 

7) Oberg Mountain

Oberg Mountain is an easy-moderate three mile loop that takes hikers on an incredible ridge above Lake Superior and the picture perfect Oberg Lake. This hike can be extremely crowded in the fall as colors peak, but is a beautiful hike if you can beat the crowds. I recommend visiting in the early morning or on weekdays to make sure you can find parking.

8) Lutsen Mountains

The Superior Hiking Trail along Lutsen Mountains offers a chance to hike grueling ups and downs with beautiful overlooks. This is a great spot for hikers looking for a challenge and looking to get away from the well travelled paths of the North Shore. While Lutsen Mountains don’t have as many of incredible sweeping views of the North Shore, the views are still beautiful, and you’re less likely to run into trouble finding parking. 

Best hikes around the north shore 2

Hiker Emily in the Abode Hoodie

9) White Sky Rock

Looking for a short, steep hike to get up above a beautiful lake? Head out to White Sky Rock Trailhead in Lutsen and hike up to a beautiful overlook of Caribou Lake. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, continue along the Superior Hiking Trail out to Lake Agnes and the trail beyond. 

White Sky Rock is a classic sunrise spot, and a beautiful overlook in early autumn.

10) Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park is the best place to see seven waterfalls in less than one mile of hiking. This is a great trail for families, photographers, road trippers, or anyone looking to see beautiful sights on an easy hike. Walk the inner loop for views of the falls, or head up to Lookout Mountain for sweeping views of the valley below and Lake Superior. 

For a challenge, continue from the Cascades north on the Superior Hiking Trail and keep your eyes peeled for the “hidden falls” on the Cascade River. 

11) Pincushion Mountain 

A classic for cross country skiers, Pincushion Mountain is also home to a beautiful hiking trail. Head out along the Superior Hiking Trail through beautiful boreal forest to the Pincushion Mountain Overlook. From here, head down into the valley to the Devil Track Canyon and have lunch on the A-frame bridge over the river. 

Pincushion Mountain is just north of Grand Marais on the Gunflint Trail, and an excellent 4-6 mile out and back day trip. 

12) High Falls on the Pigeon River

Hidden on the border of Grand Portage and Canada is the large and impressive High Falls waterfall, tumbling nearly 90 feet over large cliffs. Not only is High Falls the largest waterfall in Minnesota, it’s easily one of the most photogenic.

The path to High Falls is short and mostly paved, making it one of the best easy hiking trails on the North Shore, and the perfect destination for road-trippers or photographers. 

High Falls is in Grand Portage State Park on Anishinaabee Nation Land. The Grand Portage Band manages this state park. When visiting Grand Portage, be sure to stop by Grand Portage National Monument to learn more about Anishinaabe culture and history.

Bonus: The Border Route Trail

One of the best hiking trails accessible from the North Shore is the Border Route Trail. The BRT is a 65 mile trail and potential thru hike through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This trail can be overgrown, rugged, and incredibly challenging. That being said, it offers some of the most impressive views in the state of Minnesota, if not the Midwest.

Most hikers tackle the BRT in 5-7 days, but there are definitely options for shorter routes and loops. I recommend McKenzie Maps for route planning as they tend to be most accurate.

The Border Route Trail contains some of the best overlooks in the BWCA, and probably some of the best overlooks in the BWCA, rivaled perhaps only by the Superior Hiking Trail near Tettegouche State Park and Temperance State Park.

Thanks to Maddy for guest writing this blog for Abode Outside.

Maddy is a talented photographer, writer and wilderness guide around the Great Lakes region of the Midwest.

Check out her website HERE

Follow her on Instagram HERE

Buy her guidebook HERE


Maddy Marq

Health Benefits of Meditation

Health Benefits of Meditation

Health Benefits of Meditation

“Meditation may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being”

– Mayo Clinic

The daily grind of life can be stressful on the mind and body.  Meditation can help alleviate that stress and restore a sense of calm.  It’s not just for hippies – meditation has been around for thousands of years and its benefits are well documented and science-based.    A passage from the Mayo Clinic, one of the most respected medical institutions in the world, says mediation “may result in enhanced physical and mental well-being”.

Here are a few ways meditation might help you:

Emotional Benefits:

  • Increase patience and tolerance
  • Lengthen attention span
  • Reduce negative thoughts
  • Manage stress
  • Enhance creativity

Physical Benefits:

  • Can help alleviate symptoms of Asthma, Cancer, and Irratible Bowel Syndrome
  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Help with sleep problems
  • Alleviate headaches
  • Manage blood pressure

These are just a few of the documented and studied benefits of meditation.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits or practice of mediation, check out these great links:

12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress

Our favorite Summer drink

Our favorite Summer drink

Our favorite Summer drink

best summer drink

It’s a big weekend!  Father’s day and the first day of Summer all in one! Summer officially begins on June 20th around 11pm in the Northern Hemisphere.  This marks the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year.  After June 20th, the amount of daylight slowly begins to decrease until we reach the shortest day of the year on December 21st.  So, enjoy the long days while you can!

In honor of the first day of Summer, we are sharing our favorite Summer inspired drink.  The crisp, natural flavors remind us of the outdoors, and it “hits the spot” when temperatures begin to soar.  It is a modern twist to a classic American beverage.  It is simple, yet totally overlooked.


  • 1/2 glass of fresh squeezed lemonade
  • 1/2 glass of home-brewed iced tea
  • 1 dram of Irish Whiskey or Kentucky Bourbon


For 1 Pitcher of Fresh Squeezed Lemonade:

  1. Make a simple syrup. Add sugar and 2 cups of water to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Juice about 6 lemons. 
  3. Combine syrup and lemon juice. Add more water, to taste, until you reach your desired lemonade sweetness.
  4. Chill. 

For 1 Pitcher of Home-brewed Iced Tea:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring ]2-1/4 cups water to a gentle boil. Add 6 bags of plain black tea, remove the saucepan from the heat, and cover. Steep for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bags without squeezing them (which would add bitterness) and pour the steeped tea into a 2-1/2-quart heatproof container (like a large Pyrex liquid measure). Add the 6 cups cold water and mix. Let cool at room temperature and then refrigerate until cold. 

Grab a glass.  Fill it half full with lemonade, then fill the rest with iced tea.  Lastly, top it off with a dram of Irish Whiskey or Kentucky Bourbon.

Without the whiskey, these ingredients make what is commonly referred to as an Arnold Palmer, or Arnie Palmer, named after the great American golfer who would regularly request this combination, and is credited with the creation of lemonade and iced tea.  An Arnold Palmer with vodka is referred to as a John Daly, named after another golfer known for his love of libations.  Arnold Palmers and John Dalys are well known drinks among bartenders, but for some reason, whiskey in an Arnold Palmer is not a common menu item.  We feel strongly that it should be.  Whiskey adds a smokiness that perfectly compliments the other flavors.  Unlike vodka, which is added less for its flavor and more for its intoxicating qualities.  The sweet lemonade, the earthy tea and the smoky whiskey are a delightful combination any outdoor enthusiast can appreciate. 

We call it, “The Happy Camper”.  It can also be referred to as a Whiskey Palmer, Bourbon Palmer, Happy Palmer, Dirty Palmer, or a Dirty Nerty.  Let us know if you have any other good names for it.

We hope you enjoy responsibly.

Drink of the summer

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What is Sustainable Fashion?

What is Sustainable Fashion?

What is Sustainable Fashion?

For decades, the fashion industry has followed a “fast-fashion” model of doing business. This essentially means a clothing brand’s primary focus is to identify new trends and get them to market as fast as possible.  The production of clothing is not only rapid, but it is immense. The fashion industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in the world. Clothing is on the short list of basic human needs meaning everyone, everywhere in the world is wearing clothing of some kind. It is one of the few items that people need and buy regularly. This type of rapid, immense production model means sales and profits can supersede human welfare and quality.  Consequently, fashion is considered the second most polluting industry in the world, only behind oil and gas, according to a 2019 UN News release, and it’s reasonable to assume that transitioning the fashion industry to a sustainable model would have a significant impact on the health of our planet.

“Fashion” is more than catwalks and trend boards. It is much more vast and complex than that. Fashion is a term that describes the entire supply chain used to produce clothing and accessories. It includes raw materials farmers, fabric suppliers, yarn dyers and spinners, manufacturing workers and factories, offices and warehouses, designers, marketers, packaging, shipping, sales and more.

In terms of fashion, the supply chain is typically separated into 5 tiers:

  1. Raw Materials Production (Cotton and Wool Farmers)
  2. Raw Materials Processing (Yarn Dying and Spinning)
  3. Manufacturing (Final Garment Manufacturing)
  4. Shipping & Packaging
  5. Stores & Offices (Designers, buyers, and physical storefronts)

It is important to understand the immense scale of the fashion supply chain in order to understand the issue of sustainable fashion. It is not a singular issue like plastic bags and microfibers in the ocean. It is more like a web of interconnected issues involving many businesses, entities and people around the world. The Center for Sustainable Fashion and The London College of Fashion teamed up to launch a digital course about sustainable fashion. Their course identifies the 8 key sustainability issues facing the fashion industry as:

1. Climate Change: The consequences of climate change, like rising sea levels and droughts will have a profound affect on the fashion supply chain.

2. Water Stress: Over 1 billion people currently lack access to clean water around the world and fashion consumes an embarrassing amount of water to create cheap clothing.

3. Hazardous Chemicals and Pollution: The fashion industry is one of the largest users of chemicals and in turn is responsible for high levels of air and water pollution.

4. Land Use and Biodiversity: Fashion is directly linked to habitat loss and a decline in biodiversity through land use. Maintaining a variety of plants and animals is the foundation for a healthy ecosystem.

5. Diminishing Resources: Fashion relies on many finite, natural and human resources.

6. Consumption and Waste: Clothing production has doubled worldwide since 2000, but people are keeping their clothes for half as long.

7. Modern Day Slavery: Modern Slavery exists in the fashion supply chain in the form of forced labor and child exploitation.

8. Wellbeing: The pace of fast fashion compromises the health and safety of everyone in the supply chain including workers, wearers and animals. The need for rapid production places profits over human welfare.

Recent developments in technology have shed light on the scale of these issues. It wasn’t until the 2010’s the public started seeing an abundance of articles highlighting the damage of fast-fashion. Here are some of the alarming facts that have come to light in just the last 10 years:

  • According to a 2017 article by the World Resources institute, “The number of fashion seasons has increased from two a year – spring/summer and fall/winter – to as many as 50-100 microseasons.”
  • According to the documentary released in 2015, The True Cost, the world consumes around 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year, 400% more than the consumption twenty years ago.
  • A 2017 article by the World Resource Institute highlighted how damaging cotton t-shirts are on water stress, as it requires 2,700 litres to make on cotton t-shirt. This is the same amount a single human intakes over 2 1/2 years.
  • A 2018 US Department of Labor report found evidence of forced and child labour fueled by fast-fashion in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and others. All these findings are just coming to light and gaining mainstream attention within the last 10 years.
  • An article by Vogue finds that “more than 40 garment workers have died in the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region alone” in the months of February and April in 2021.
  • A 2020 article by BBC finds around 85% of all textiles thrown away in the US – roughly 13 million tonnes in 2017 – are either dumped into landfill or burned.

If you like clean water and air, and you don’t like forced child labor, then these statistics should concern you. This is where the concept of Sustainable Fashion comes in. Sustainable Fashion is a fairly new term that spawned in response to Fast-Fashion. The growth of Sustainable Fashion mirrors the downfall of fast-fashion. As fast-fashion practices became more scrutinized throughout the 2010’s, the idea of Sustainable Fashion gained popularity. In the last ten years it has evolved from a fringe buzzword to the most influential trend in fashion today. Now you can google “Fast-Fashion Environmental Damage” and find dozens of articles detailing the disturbing impact rapid production and over-consumption habits have on our world.

Along with increased media attention, new technology like social media has also played a huge role in spreading the word of sustainable fashion, pushing the issue into the mainstream. Social media is emerging as an indispensable tool to share brand stories, create communities focused on sustainability, and sell/purchase sustainable products. As awareness grows about fast-fashion and over-consumption, people, especially younger generations, are starting to respond by changing the way they live and shop.

Consequently, the demand for Sustainable Fashion has grown steadily since 2015. An analysis done by The Business Research Company shows the market size for sustainable fashion “reached a value of nearly $6.35 billion in 2019, having increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7% since 2015. The market is expected to grow from $6.35 billion in 2019 to $8.25 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8%. The growth is mainly due to the growing awareness about using ethical fashion for sustainability.”

We are already starting to see progress as knowledge grows about Sustainable Fashion and the harms of fast-fashion. This graphic from EPA.gov shows how textile waste has already decreased significantly prior to 2015.

textile waste

This is evidence of how important it is to continue to spread the word. Knowledge is power. The more people understand the damage of fast-fashion and over-consumption, the more progress can be made. Sustainable fashion is still new. Many people are unaware of the issue, and while some major brands and new start ups are taking the cause of sustainable fashion seriously, others are unfamiliar, uninterested or unsure how to start.

At Abode Outside this is our mission. We want to be a reliable source for sustainable fashion, but more importantly we want help transform the entire fashion industry into a more sustainable one. We want to be an example of how to do Sustainable Fashion the right way, and we hope to encourage shoppers and retailers to live more sustainably. Continue to educate yourself, spread the good word of Sustainable Fashion and stay tuned for more.

what is sustainable fashion


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Welcome to Abode Outside

Welcome to Abode Outside

Eco Blog


Welcome to Abode Outside

A Note From The Founder

In 2020 I was (still am) working for a knitwear development company. This particular company offers a unique expertise in knitwear trend and development that most large brands don’t possess in-house. So our primary function is to assist large brands with the creation of their knitwear collections. When the world went into quarantine in 2020, our customers were severely impacted. We work with clothing brands that rely on heavy foot traffic to areas like malls and events like trade shows. People stopped shopping, our customers stopped making orders and our knitwear factories went quiet. Quarantine meant our business was at a standstill and, like many others, the future of our company was up in the air.

You hear this quip a lot in business: “In chaos there is opportunity.” It comes from a Sun Tzu quote and it is is strangely true. When chaos strikes, unexpected and unforeseen doors open offering a path forward. This happened when the world went into quarantine in 2020. Life changed in odd and unexpected ways. Life became digital. Cleanliness became a constant concern. People moved from the cities to the country. People were forced to socialize outdoors. Businesses that were paying close attention to these trends and reacted had a better chance of surviving and even prospering.

This became my focus. What type of unique product could a knitwear company offer during these strange times? I was already reading a dozen news publications and gathering research weekly as part of my job duties. So I focused my research in on how businesses are reacting to this new way of life under quarantine.

Facemasks became a central part of our lives, whether we liked it or not. Everyone was supposed to have one, and none of them looked fun to wear. I set out researching and designing a more comfortable, functional mask. I learned a few things:

  1. Cotton is better at filtering air particles than polyester. 
  2. Multiple layers of fabric are better than one.
  3. A mask needs to fit snugly around the nose and face to be effective.
  4. Single use masks are terrible for the environment. 
  5. Some people really don’t like facemasks, and others prefer a “neck gaiter” style over the “around-the-ear” style.

I used these findings to develop a mask using the same soft, organic yarn that we make our sweaters with. I wanted our mask to be as eco-friendly as possible because that is so crucial in fashion these days.   Our mask needs to fit properly and offer real protection. I also wanted our mask to be more functional than the average mask that hangs around your ears. These masks offer little use outside of a pandemic. I wanted a mask that would be comfortable and effective during the pandemic, but also offer valuable functionality when the pandemic is over.

I designed the original concept and presented it to the team at our knitwear development company. We discussed it internally, and with our manufacturing team. This was happening in March and April of 2020, and at the time the concept was original and seemed viable. We made several samples testing different yarns and design details until we settled on a final product. After about 5 months of research and development, we received our inventory and launched the website around August of 2020. Just in time for the Fall / Holiday season. We called it the Abode Outside Facecover. The brand being “Abode Outside”, and the product the “Abode Outside Facecover”.  The name is inspired by the idea of living closer with nature –  another nod to sustainable fashion and my personal love for the great outdoors.



We had virtually zero marketing budget when we launched. We relied heavily on word of mouth through family and friends, networking with existing acquaintances, cold calling and a carefully crafted online presence. The response was exciting. Within a month of launch, we received several large orders from local retailers and businesses. Not only that, but one retailer experienced an incredible sell through rate of our facecover compared to their other accessories. To this day, our facecover stands as one of the most sustainable, functional, non-medical masks you can find.

 The success of this product, and the interest from everyone we encountered along the way, motivated us to expand on this concept. We recently launched a hoodie that is equally as innovative and sustainable as our original product. It incorporates unisex sizing because we found an incredible amount of crossover in men and women’s styles and fit. We want our product to be available to everyone.  We have a handful of other products in development, carefully designed this way.  The next product releases are scheduled for July and October.  Stay tuned as we build our collection dedicated to soft, sustainable materials, innovative functionality, and gender neutral sizing. We believe this is the future of the fashion industry.

Take care,

Nate Baller
Abode Outside Co-founder


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