Hiking Club Trail #4
Date: October 4, 2017
Location: Carlton, MN
Length: 3.5 Miles (Hiking Club Trail), a few miles near the Thompson Reservoir & Thompson Cemetery
Difficulty: Moderate: Mostly large mowed paths with some hills and bare rocks
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 10.1 of 197
Jay Cooke has been and probably will always remain one of my favorite State Parks - this park was my go to in college and I still stop up there every chance I can get.
This park is large and changes drastically through every season so it almost always seems new and that is what I think I love about it the most! Plus there are 50 miles of hiking trails (there is still plenty of this park I haven't seen!)
We started the day near the UMD Kayak Center near the Thompson Reservoir - (there are some hiking trails I used to frequent right off the Willard Munger State Trail), before starting our HCT hike.
The hiking club trail starts in the Visitor Center Parking lot - you cross the newly reconstructed swinging bridge to the Silver Creek Trail - the beginning portion of your hike will be shared with the Superior Hiking Trail. It takes you through Birch and Basswood tree forests and follows the St. Louis River before looping deeper into the forest and back to the bridge.
We went after it had been raining for a few days so the trail was really muddy which made it more difficult in the hilly sections. The river was really raging and the fall colors were really starting to pop. It was a great day to be outside.
A highlight for me was rounding a corner and finding Christmas ornaments on a few random pine trees - in the middle of October!
After hiking approx 9.5 total miles we took the short trip up to Duluth to enjoy another one of my favorites, a Malt from the Portland Malt Shoppe - trust me on this you will love it and it is worth the drive if you are this close!
NOTE: This was a Wednesday and this park was still pretty busy until you got away from the visitor center and off onto the trail a bit - so be prepared for that!