Spring/Summer Naturalist Programs

Kid’s Only Adventures

Bug Safari

Join a naturalist for an hour of bug collecting and identification.  Ages 5+

Fishing Fun

Join our Kid’s and Crafts Naturalist for three hours of fishing fun.  Due to boat size, this activity is limited to three participants.  Ages 5+

Hobo Hike

Imagine that you are a hobo, traveling throughout the country with your only possessions in a bandana at the end of a stick.  You decide to take a lunch break after a fun hike, and pull out of your bandana a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some pretzels, and some cool, clear water to drink.  Ages 5+

Nature Discovery Hike

Explore a mud pit that is almost 2 billion years old.  Find out why a piece of sandstone from many miles away is sitting right next to our trail.  Learn how to find the tastiest fruit you have ever had, and much more on this fascinating hike.  Ages 5 +

Pizza and a Movie

A variety of movies will be available which the group will choose from upon arrival.  Pizza will be served soon after, along with lemonade or water.  Ages 5+

Scavenger Hunt

Prizes will be awarded to the first person to point out various items of the naturalists list.  You must be able to read for this activity.  Ages 6+

Story Time

Mystery, comedy, ghosts, and nature.  The exact stories will be determined by the ages and interests of the group members.  Ages 5+

Supper with a Story

When arriving, the kids will get to pick a story, and one item from the kid’s menu.  After that, only enjoyment follows.  Ages 5 +

Interactive Experiences

Animal Search

Search the Gunflint Trail and her side roads for moose, bear, deer, and much more.  This activity will be a van ride with short hikes in between.

Make a Boat and Race it Down the River

This interactive activity was previously for kids only, but we had so much family fun with it last year that we decided to make it for all ages.  The boats that you will construct are made from your imaginations and the materials in the area.  There is a creek behind the Nature Center in which the races will be held.  This is a great experience for all ages.


Learn how to read a map and compass, two of the most important skills in wilderness travel, in this informative, hands-on activity.  Ages 7+

Hiking Day Trips

Caribou Rock Trail

This seven-mile hike follows a ridge which looks out high over Bearskin, Moss, Duncan, and Rose Lakes.  At the far end, you connect to a beautiful part of the Border Route Trail and the famous Stairway Portage, complete with a scenic waterfall.  We will have our sack lunches overlooking Rose Lake.  Due to the length and terrain, this activity is challenging, but worth it.  Limit of 8 participants due to BWCAW regulations.

Kekekabic Trail

The Kekekabic Trail is a nearly forty mile long path which extends from the Gunflint Trail all the way to Ely, Minnesota.  This half has a lot of beautiful new growth due to the blowdown of 1999, the prescribed burn of 2003, the Cavity Lake Fire of 2006, and the Ham Lake Fire of 2007.  Learn about these events as well as the Paulsen Mine of 1893 on this fascinating new day hike.

South Rim Trail

The South Rim Ridge was formed 1.1 billion years ago deep underground.  After multiple ice ages and other erosive events, this ridge became the highest hill around, with some of the most spectacular views in the region.  We will have our included sack lunches at an overlook of Ontario’s La Verendre River Provincial Park, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.  Due to the length and terrain, this activity is challenging, but well worth the effort.

Daylight Hikes

Animal Tracking

To be an animal tracker is to be a nature detective.  Not only do we look at what kind of animal made the track, we also look at what the animal was doing at the time.  On this hike, we will search for the answers to questions such as; “Why is the bark missing from a part of this tree,” “What was that animal eating who dropped this scat,” and “Why are these snowshoe hare tracks thirteen feet apart?”  Learn the answers to these questions as well as many more in this enlightening activity.

Berry Picking

Raspberries, blueberries, thimbleberries, bunchberries, dewberries, Saskatoon berries, and strawberries.  Once you mouth stops watering, come and sign up for this fun and delicious hike.

Blueberries of the Lost Cliffs Overlook

Wild blueberries are smaller, yet better tasting than any blueberries you would buy in the store.  The view from the Lost Cliffs Overlook is better than almost any you would see in the United States.  Put the two of them together, and you have a challenging, and very worthwhile hike.

Boreal Birding

“Oh sweet Canada, Canada, Canada.”  “Who cooks for you?  Who cooks for you all?”  “Chickadee dee dee dee dee.”  These songs come from the white-throated sparrow, the barred owl, and the black-capped chickadee.  Come on the Boreal Birding hike to learn about these birds and many more.

Lady’s Slipper Hike

Did you know that a pink lady’s slipper takes five years to go from seed to flower, and the showy lady’s slipper (our state flower) takes up to fifteen to do the same thing.  Come on this fascinating hike to learn about these incredible flowers.

Medicinal Plants of the Mid-Cliffs Trail

Did you know that a lichen know as Usnea (old man’s beard) can be used to stop bleeding in an emergency situation?  Learn about Usnea, as well as many other medicinal plants on this informative hike.

Photography of Lookout Point

There is nothing like a basic camera course with a great view.  During this hike we will focus on how to set up the picture to make it interesting, then, we will take some great photos from Lookout Point of things near and far.

Spectacular Views of the Highlands Trail

This trail has the best overall views of Gunflint Lake as well as the neighboring Cross River valley.  There is also the added bonus of a lot of wild strawberries along this moderately difficult trail.

Wetland Ecology of Lonely Lake

When you enter a wetland, you enter a whole new world.  In that world, the land floats on water, a conifer known as the Tamarack sheds all its needles in a shower of gold, and several of the plants with leaves never lose them.  Come on this easy hike, and learn about this fascinating ecosystem.

Wildfire Ecology of the Magnetic Rock Trail

Parts of the Magnetic Rock Trail have burned three times in the last twenty years.  Twice the fire was uncontrolled, and in 2002 it was a prescribed burn.  This incredible hike will bring us through three stages of wildfire succession, and you will be amazed at what you will see.

Wildflower Hike

Learn the names, uses, and folklore behind these beautiful plants on this spectacular hike.

Night Time Wilderness Excursions

Aurora Borealis Hike

Let the dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis guide you as we learn the facts and legends behind the Northern Lights.  Our destinations of this excursion are Lookout Point and Lonely Lake.  Due to the lower light conditions, this activity carries a moderate difficult rating.

Celestial Legends Night Hike

Have you ever heard the song “Follow the Drinking Gourd?”  Did you know that the song acted as a map for escaping slaves who were trying to gain their freedom, or that the drinking gourd is actually the Big Dipper?  Learn about this, along with other fascinating celestial facts and legends as we take a trek under the stars.  Due to the lower light conditions, this activity is moderate in difficulty.

Full Moon Hike

You will never forget the sight of the full moon illuminating the trees and landscape of the Northwoods.  The light is so bright, that your shadow will be cast on the rocks of Lookout Point.  Due to the slightly dimmer light however, this activity is rated as moderate.

Starlight Paddle

No theater in the world could ever come close to the incredible stars that you will see at night out in the middle of Gunflint Lake.  Due to the paddling, and lower light conditions, this activity is rated as moderate.

Sunset at Honeymoon Bluff

Can you think of a better way to begin the night than to view a beautiful sunset from an incredible overlook?  How about seeing a moose on the way there?  The sky is the limit when it comes to this incredible activity.

Wolf Howling Hike

Join a naturalist on a night time trek through the wilderness as we communicate with one of the most spectacular of all northern animals, the gray wolf. Along the way, we will learn about the wolf, and why it likes to howl. This activity carries a moderate difficulty rating due to the lower light conditions.

Paddling Day Trips

Brandt Lake Day Canoe Paddle

Learn about wildfire ecology, Precambrian geology, and much more on this rewarding day trip.  We will start our journey on Round Lake, then portage and paddle our way through West Round, and Edith Lakes on the way to Brant.  Once on Brant, we will stop at a rocky campsite and have our delicious sack lunches.  On the return trip, we will study the opposite sides of the trees, and have the possibility of seeing everything from a slime mold to moose.  Due to the portaging, this excursion is challenging.  Limit of 8 participants due to BWCAW regulations.

Granite River Day Canoe Paddle

This beautiful route has changed little since the time of the voyageurs, more than a century ago.  As we make this journey through time, we will go past rapids, waterfalls, scenic rocky outcroppings, and water so clear that it is as though you are traveling through currents of air.  This journey is challenging, but worthwhile.  Limit of 8 participants due to BWCAW regulations.

Ham Lake Day Canoe Paddle

Paddle up to scenic rapids, portage over ancient trails, journey past a rock that seems to change shape before your eyes, and eat lunch on a beautiful campsite all on the Ham Lake Day Canoe Trip.  This trip is moderate in difficulty.

Seagull Lake Day Kayak Trip

Seagull Lake has the oldest trees in the state, towering palisades, scenic islands, four stages of wildfire succession, and much more.  This journey contains no portages, so it is moderate in difficulty.  Limit of 4 due to kayak capacities.

Stairway Portage Day Canoe Trip

Take a journey through two of the lakes which have been immortalized in the song “The Far Northland,” on your way to the famous Stairway Portage, her scenic waterfall, and incredible overlooks of Rose Lake.  This activity is challenging due to the portaging, and the moderately sized lakes.  Limit of 8 due to BWCAW regulations.

Canoeing Fun

Beaver Paddle

A beaver can remain underwater for as long as fifteen minutes.  Learn more about the largest of all North American rodents on a paddle to a hidden pond at the west end of Gunflint Lake.

Cross River Adventure

Duck under an old bridge, and take a trip back in time as you pass from Gunflint Lake into the Cross River.  This river is shallow, with an abundance of wildlife and many small rapids which are enjoyable to paddle.

Sunset Paddle

Sunset is a great time to see beaver, otter, deer, moose, a beautiful sky, and much more.  Come on this moderate paddle, and view some things that you will never forget.

Kayaking Fun

Fire and Ice Geology Paddle

There are several fascinating Precambrian geological formations within easy paddling distance of the lodge.  Join one of our naturalists to gain a new appreciation of extremely ancient history.

Iron Lake Paddle

The most fascinating part of this journey will be in the section between Little Iron and Iron Lakes.  This area has the feel of a river in the middle of a wilderness, and some great wildlife too.  You may see otters, moose, bear, and much more along this scenic waterway.

Loon Paddle

There are several pairs of loons who nest on Gunflint and Magnetic Lakes.  Learn many interesting facts about our state bird while paddling among them.


Dessert Cruise

End you day by enjoying a variety of desserts on board our pontoon boat.

Early Morning Cruise

Enjoy the peaceful Northwoods morning aboard our comfortable pontoon boat.

Fall Colors Cruise

The fall colors of the Arrowhead Region are more spectacular than anything else you will see in Minnesota and the surrounding states.  Come on this comfortable cruise and enjoy this spectacular sight.

History Cruise

Did you know that there used to be two towns, and two railroads on the shores of Gunflint Lake?  How about the fact that there used to be a railroad trestle over the Gunflint Narrows?  Enjoy a relaxing cruise aboard our comfortable pontoon boat, and learn about the incredible history of the beautiful place.

Snack Cruise

Savor an appetizer of cheese, crackers, and fruit as we take a pontoon boat trip on Gunflint and Magnetic Lakes.

Wildfire Ecology Cruise

Last spring, a wildfire bigger than any ever seen on the Gunflint Trail burned over much of the Gunflint Corridor, and well into Ontario, Canada.  Fire is the natural way a forest regenerates itself.  While being an ending for some plants, it signals the birth of many others.  Come on this fascinating cruise, and learn about both wildfire ecology as well as local fire history.

Pontoon & Hike

Boat Trip and Hike to Bridal Falls

Take a relaxing excursion aboard our pontoon boat on the six mile journey to Bridal Falls.  The short .6 mile hike in to the falls is full of unique plants such as jack-in –the –pulpit, coral fungus, and nodding trillium.  The falls themselves come down on to massive amounts of shattered shale, and head towards the lake in a roaring creek.  This hike is of moderate difficulty, and you may get your feet wet when there is high water.  Dress in multiple layers of clothing as the pontoon ride many be cool, even if it feels warm on the dock.

Boat Trip and Hike to Little Rock Falls

Many people refer to this area as the land of sky blue waters.  It is a name which became famous back in the 1970’s when a Hamm’s Beer Commercial was filmed at Little Rock Falls.  This beautiful waterfall has changed little since the filming of the commercial, or since the Voyageurs paddled these waters many years before.  Due to the boulder filled trail, this hike is of moderate difficulty.  Please be sure to dress in layers, as the pontoon trip over may be a bit chilly.