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Travel to the North Shore!
Adventure Awaits!

A visit to the North Shore is nothing short of extraordinary, and is the experience of a lifetime. The way of life in the North Shore is unparalleled with its breath-taking scenery, local brews and eats, and plethora of outdoor  adventures no matter the season! Create memorable experiences as you explore Duluth, Lake County, Cook County, and everywhere in between!

Cook County, located in the extreme northeastern part of Minnesota, is Minnesota’s 2nd-largest county by area. It is also the place where John Beargrease’s people, the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, called home.

From the shores of Lake Superior, to the Sawtooth Mountains, to majestic waterfalls, to a state park on the Canadian border, there are many opportunities for outdoor adventure in every season! If you prefer shopping, events, concerts, festivals, and dining, there are plenty of those options as well. You will not, however, find any big box stores here!

Gondola rides in Lutsen

The Summit Express Gondola ride at Lutsen Mountains glides from summit to summit, offering views of some of Cook County’s most dramatic scenery – from the Poplar River Valley and the rugged north shore of Lake Superior to the surrounding peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains. There’s a reason why this gondola ride is one of the North Shore’s most popular attractions.

More about Lutsen Gondola rides >

Snowshoeing on the lake superior hiking trail

Strap on a pair of snowshoes and go for a quick kid-friendly jaunt or a full-day adventure. Follow a snowshoe trail along the Lake Superior shore, trek to a waterfall or dramatic overlook, or even blaze your own path in the wilderness. Maybe you’ve hiked the Superior Hiking Trail (named #2 in the nation by Backpacker Magazine) in the summer or fall. Now try it in the winter! Most segments of the Superior Hiking Trail are suitable snowshoe trails, too.

More about snowshoeing in MN >

fat tire biking in cook county

Biking isn’t just a warm weather pursuit anymore, and one of the fastest growing winter sports, fat tire biking, now has a prime presence in Cook County.  Fat biking has been an emerging winter sport in the Midwest for several years and is expected to continue to grow in popularity.

More about fat tire biking >

cross country skiing

Cook County is home to the largest cross country skiing MN offers. In fact, our cross country ski trail network is the largest in North America, totaling over 400 km. Whether you’re an expert looking to stretch your legs and skills, a family hungry for some outdoor winter togetherness or a couple looking for a romantic ski through the trees, the perfect path of well-groomed corduroy awaits you.

More about cross country skiing >

VCC

Come experience beautiful Cook County. We know you’ll love it!

Cook County Dining

Restaurants, bars, breweries, and the Beargrease finish line…the Cook County area offers excellent options for eating out or sampling local libations. You will especially want to visit Grand Portage Lodge & Casino and Skyport Lodge for one-of-a-kind experiences. If you are looking for a local brewery, Voyageur Brewing is the place to go! Trail Center Lodge is also especially known for being a Beargrease checkpoint along Poplar Lake. 

voyageur brewing cook county minnesota
Voyageur Brewing

Voyageur Brewing Company is a craft beer brewery located in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Craft beer is brewed & bottled on site in a brewery with a tap room that has a spectacular view of the Grand Marais Harbor. With Lake Superior water and an excellent brewing crew the craft beer created is simply the best. The appetizers and view from the brewery taproom and rooftop deck are amazing.

More about Voyageur Brewing

skyport lodge cook county minnesota
Skyport Lodge

Skyport Lodge is a great Checkpoint to see the Beargrease up close.  It is located on the original site of an Indian encampment used each summer for trapping and fishing.We are a family-friendly resort with a lakeside playground, lakeside fire ring, watercraft rentals, a community room filled with games, and a kids menu at Raven Rock Grill.

More about Skyport Lodge

trail center lodge cook county minnesota
Trail Center Lodge

This Beargrease Checkpoint Located on the beautiful shores of Poplar Lake, Trail Center has been a landmark on the Gunflint Trail since 1938. Originally built as a logging camp, it is now a full service restaurant, gas station, gift store, grocery shop, information center with cabins and a small motel.

More about Trail Center Lodge

Grand Portage Front
Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

Home of the Beargrease Marathon Finish Our casino is where North Shore gaming action takes place. The 95-room lodge is the perfect place to warm up. Feast at the Island View Dining Room, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring delicious regional specialties, fresh local fish and hearty steaks. Relax and enjoy your favorite beverage in Antlers Lounge.

More about Grand Portage Lodge & Casino

Cook County Accommodations

HOSPITALITY IN COOK COUNTY

Pick a great nights stay at any of the local lodges in Cook County. Visit Aspen Lodge nestled away in Grand Marais, or hit the slots at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. 

If you’re looking for a more scenic stay, make sure to check out Best Western Plus Superior Inn along Lake Superior, or East Bay Suites at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains.

 

aspen lodge
Hospitality at Aspen Lodge 

Aspen Lodge, located on the east edge of Grand Marais, is an in-town lodge and your ideal, four-season, vacation getaway.  Nestled in a park-like setting, with views of Artists’ Point, East Bay and the Coast Guard Station, Aspen Lodge is an easy walk to shops, restaurants and entertainment.

More about Aspen Lodge 

Grand Portage Front
grand portage lodge & casino

Home of the Beargrease Marathon Finish. Our casino is where North Shore gaming action takes place. Warm up in a luxury suite or room in our 95-room lodge. Enjoy delicious comfort food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in Island View Dining Room. Relax with your favorite beverage in Antlers Lounge or our fireplace lobby.

More about Grand Portage Lodge & casino

best western
Best WEstern plus superior inn

Welcome to the Best Western Plus Superior Inn located in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Guests staying at this Grand Marais hotel will be on Lake Superior with private cobblestone beach and near Cook County North Shore Hospital, the Cook County Airport and the Gunflint Trail.

More about Best western plus

east bay suites
East bay suites

East Bay Suites is a Grand Marais, Minnesota hotel resort sitting in the heart of it all: on the edge of Lake Superior, at the base of the Sawtooth Mountains, a short drive from the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area and world-class Superior Hiking Trail, and just steps from your favorite local shops and restaurants in the center of the quaint harbor village of Grand Marais. 

More about East Bay suites

AmericInn Tofte
AmericInn Lodge in Tofte, MN

AmericInn Lodge and Suites in Tofte, MN proudly supports the Veterinarian Team of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Make your reservation today and learn more.

More about AmericInn Lodge

shoreline inn
shoreline inn

On the beach near Artist Points’ and the harbor, guests can easily walk to shops, restaurants, the lighthouse, marina, harbor and the Grand Marais Recreation Center and pool. We meet a variety of family vacation needs with king, queen, 2-bed, family or connecting rooms, all with in-room refrigerators.

More about Shoreline Inn 

hhh-campfire
hungry hippie farm & hostel

The Hungry Hippie Farm & Hostel has been a wonderful experience for us, sharing our homestead with amazing guests from all over the world! Our homestead is uniquely located in the hillside overlooking Lake Superior. Your stay at our hostel will give you a glimpse into our humble, yet fulfilling life on the edge of the wilderness. Cell phone reception is spotty at best. The wildlife has no boundaries, nor does our farm dog, Charlie. We offer peaceful, rugged & beautiful accommodations!

More about Hungry Hippie Farm & Hostel

temperance river state park
grand marais

Cook County State Parks

  • Cascade River State Park offers 18 miles of hiking along the magnificent Cascade River, waterfall viewing, fishing, and birdwatching; enjoy 16 miles of cross-country skiing in the winter. There are hiking and cross-country trails for all abilities so you’ll be able to find a trail that meets your needs!
  • Grand Portage State Park is the only state park within an Indian Reservation on land owned by the Tribe. Interpretive displays in the Welcome Center give an introduction to the culture and traditions of the Grand Portage Ojibwe people. The park offers hiking, picnicking, scenic views, spring and summer wildflowers, and a short, paved trail to Minnesota’s tallest waterfall. Handicapped-accessible boardwalks lead to viewing decks near the Welcome Center.
  • Judge C.R. Magney State Park offers hiking, camping, trout fishing, visiting scenic waterfalls, and viewing wildlife in warmer weather; there are no services in the winter. Be sure to hike along the Brule River to see Devil’s Kettle waterfall!
  • Temperance River State Park offers opportunities to hike along the Temperance River Gorge, view waterfalls, camp, and picnic. In the winter, you can snowmobile and cross-country ski at this beautiful state park!

Fun Cook County Communities

  • Grand Portage is home to the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and is one of the earliest Ojibwe settlements in Minnesota. Here you will find ongoing tradition and Places to visit: Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, Grand Portage RV Park & Campground, Grand Portage State Park, Grand Portage National Monument Heritage Center
  • Grand Marais is a small, picturesque harbor village on the shore of Lake Superior. It is an interesting, artsy town surrounded by natural beauty.
  • The communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, located on the southern edge of Cook County, have the perfect blend of outdoor opportunities and indoor luxuries. Visitors find these towns to be great destination locations.

Historical Sites in Cook County

The “goodest” dogs
Need your help

What a sled dog looks forward to most after a long day of racing is a nice bed of straw! But guess what happened at last year’s race? Someone stole all our straw right before the race start! Thankfully, great fans like you helped us out during the final hour to provide this vital supply for our amazing dogs.

These dogs simply are the best – and we want to be able to continue treating them that way! Donations from fans like you make that possible. Would you find it in your heart to help us out? No amount is too small in sled dog world!

What to expect when you come see the Beargrease Marathon

Watching the Beargrease is not for the faint of heart. Neither is it for dress shoes, fancy clothes, makeup, or showers (we’re only half joking). Watching the race or volunteering involves spending hours outside in the harshest weather that Northern Minnesota can offer.

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Important events for the Beargrease

Beargrease events timeline

Support the Beargrease

Thankfully You Don’t Have to Wait For a Dogsled to Get Your Mail These Days

Stay up-to-date with the latest Beargrease news; winter isn’t the only time we have fun!
Find out how to be involved in the Beargrease year-around.