When we aren’t traveling around the United States, we do our best to take advantage of the many opportunities in Minnesota to get out and enjoy nature. Minnesota has over 70 state parks, ranging from vast grasslands and prairies to huge lakes and rocky rivers. Like many Minnesotans, one of our favorite state parks is Jay Cooke State Park in northern Minnesota.
Jay Cooke is located about 30 minutes from picturesque Duluth, Minnesota. Duluth differs greatly from the Twin Cities, as it is nestled right on Lake Superior. There are a string of MN State Parks that extend along the North Shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth all the way up to Ontario. One of those is beautiful Tettegouche State Park, another of our favorite Minnesota state parks because of its spectacular views over Lake Superior and incredible hiking trails.
While Jay Cooke does not overlook Lake Superior, it does offer beautiful views over the raging St. Louis River, including a swinging bridge that leads to trails that offer spectacular view after spectacular view.
Jay Cooke offers a variety of hiking trails throughout the park, ranging from easy, wide paths to more rugged and rocky terrain.
Feeling adventurous, we tackled a portion of the Carlton Trail, so named for the town in which the park resides. The Carlton Trail offers phenomenal views of the river and its rapids.
The rocks along the river’s edge provide excellent places to sit and enjoy a snack or picnic while you watch the water rush below you.
While the park is absolutely gorgeous in the summer, on weekends it can get very crowded with other folks hoping to drink in the natural beauty of their surroundings. We visited at the end of the summer season (end of August) and it wasn’t too crowded – so I would highly recommend visiting either earlier or later in the season (May or August) to be able to fully appreciate all of the sites.
This is one of the most beautiful state parks in Minnesota to check out – what state parks do you enjoy in your state?