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The Lutsen Destination encompasses lakes, cities, national forests, state parks, and part of Lake Superior. Located in Minnesota, the region wraps around a few different cities in a generally triangular shape. The city of Lutsen is the town that the destination is named after, and it is known for the Lutsen Mountains Ski Area and the Superior National Golf Course.[9] The Lutsen Mountains have multiple skiing opportunities during the winter and hiking trails during the summer.[2] The Superior National Forest is one of the more popular features of the district. Mountain biking, Camping, and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are available for visitors to the forest.[3] The Cloquet Valley State Forest is another preserve in the Lutsen Destination. It covers 327,098 acres of land and offers fishing, canoeing, and camping activities. These are a few of the many things to do in the Lutsen Destination.[4] 

What Lutsen is known for

The city of Lutsen, the namesake of the destination, is located near various attractions, some of which can be found within the city. Nearby attractions include Cascade River State Park, the Lutsen Mountains, the Cascade River, the Superior National Golf Course, and the Oberg Mountain Loop. In the city itself, there are multiple restaurants, wineries, and hotels.[1] Lutsen Mountains are the main attraction that the city is known for.[9] The mountains act as a ski area in the north-central United States. It is home to 95 runs across four different mountains. Snow falls on the mountains almost every year, creating an environment that can be suitable for skiing. During the summer, the mountains are used as a place to go hiking.[2] Lutsen receives visitors throughout the year, specifically in April, June, and August.[5] The city has a small population of 213 people, but it also receives a decent amount of visitors because of the nearby features.[8]

There are multiple national and state forests within the region. Superior National Forest is one of the most popular national forests in the area. It was established in 1909 as a three-million-acre national forest. It is located east of the Mississippi River at the "southernmost edge of the boreal forest ecosystem," and it is characterized by lakes, rocky landscapes, colorful fall foliage, megafauna, and cultural history. Camping, wilderness exploring, mountain biking, and canoeing are everyday things to do within the national forest.[3] Superior National Forest has received around 150,000 visitors every year since 2016. In 2020, about 15,000 more people came to the area, causing a 10 percent increase in tourists.[10] 

The Cloquet Valley State Forest encompasses 327,098 acres of land. It is located in southeast Saint Louis County, about 25 miles southeast of Virginia. Superior National Forest is located north of the Cloquet Valley State Forest. The Cloquet Valley State Forest offers activities like the Indian Lake campground, fishing, and a canoe route on the Cloquet River. The area is known for its activities, along with the animals that inhabit the surrounding landscape. Some of these faunas include otters, beavers, wolves, pine martens, foxes, moose, white-tailed deer, and lynxes, as well as various species of birds and fish.[4]


The Lutsen Destination, located in Minnesota, serves as a home for cities, national parks and forests, and multiple lakes and rivers. Lutsen, the central city within the region, is located on the eastern side right against Lake Superior. The district has an overall triangular shape with multiple curves located at various locations along the border. Cities that border the destination are International Falls, Crane Lake, Grand Portage, Duluth, Hermantown, Eveleth, Virginia, and Cook. Voyageurs National Park, Kabetogama State Forest, Cloquet Valley, and Superior National Forest are the larger national and state parks in the area; however, a few smaller parks are also located within the destination. The Lutsen Destination has a lot of greenery. It has an abundance of lakes with a few rivers. There are multiple mountains, specifically near the city of Lutsen. 

Lutsen is a city located within the Lutsen Destination and also serves as the namesake of the area. The city is home to multiple living creatures and animals. Trees and Shrubs that thrive in the area are balsam firs, red maples, sugar maples, speckles alders, low juneberries, paper birch, beaked hazelnut, black ash, fly honeysuckle, white spruce, and pin cherries.[6] Birds are also common in the town, mainly mallards, barred owls, Canada goose, blue jays, and various types of woodpeckers. Other species of birds include American crows, turkey vultures, American robins, and clay-colored sparrows.[7] 

The suggested time to visit Lutsen and the surrounding mountains is from early July to early September. This is because of the diverse weather, rain cycles, humidity, and wind. Lutsen does not receive extremely hot weather. Instead, it tends to be in the lower range of temperatures. The average temperature in February is around 15 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the coldest time of the year. July tends to have the warmest temperature, with an average of 63 degrees Fahrenheit. August and September are the next hottest, followed by June. December, January, and February are the coldest months of the year. The other months remain somewhere in the middle of the high and low. Overall, the temperature rises gradually from February, then descends starting around October. The highest percentage of the chance of rain is in June, followed by July and May. January has the least potential for rain, though it is still a possibility. The region is on the more humid side, particularly in June, July, August, and September. The wind has the most activity in December, while July has the least amount of wind. Snow falls on the mountains near Lutsen but does not often fall in the town.[5]


The city of Lutsen, the namesake of the Lutsen Destination, was founded in the 1880s when C.A.A. Nelson, a man from Sweden, arrived in the area and built a home. He rented rooms to the pioneers who were passing through for a time, creating a family inn-keeping tradition. Later on, the grandson of C.A.A. Nelson, who was a member of the 10th Mountain Division, returned home from World War II. He had the idea of creating a year-round resort that relied on natural resources for entertainment. The mountains, the snow it received, and Lake Superior had become the star attractions of the resort. George brought skiing to Lutsen with two runs and one lift in 1948. During the '60s, chairlifts were introduced to the area. Cindy Nelson, a National and Olympic ski champion, trained on the mountain, making it a more popular attraction.[11] 

Charlie Skinner bought the resort from the Nelson family in 1980. Charlie was the man who had previously founded Sugar Hills in 1960. He was a ski industry pioneer and an inventor of several snow guns. For a time, Charlie was also president of Sugarloaf, USA, which was one of the largest Eastern ski areas. It was because of these things that Charlie saw the potential of Lutsen as the largest ski mountain in Mid-America.[11] 

Charles, Charlie's son, and Tom Rider, Charlie's son-in-law, came to the Lutsen Mountains and purchased the ski area from Charlie in the 1990s. Charles and Tom Rider both decided to forgo careers having to do with East Coast law and started operating the family-run Midwest ski area instead. The two men began working to modernize the ski resort and also planned to expand it. They got new runs and ski lifts, expanded the snowmaking and grooming capabilities, and updated Papa Charlie's, the Summit Chalet, and Eagle Ridge. Papa Charlie's was a music and dining venue, Eagle Ridge was a 74 ski-in/ski-out studio, and the Summit Chalet was a skier services facility. Since then, millions of dollars have been invested in things like engineering, a streetscape project with sidewalks, courtyards, and lighting to improve public safety and the guest experience.[11] 

Lutsen Mountains installed a German-made gondola in 1989 for the purpose of providing access between the base area and Moose Mountain. Lutsen Mountains hosts two resorts, which are Eagle Ridge Resorts and Caribou Highlands. Both resorts have a variety of condos, rooms, and townhomes, many of which feature ski-in/ski-out access to the mountains.[2] 

Since Charles and Tom bought the property, improvements have been made. A snowmaking system through snow machines was added in 2011, while a high-speed chairlift was introduced to Mose Mountain in 2012. In December of 2014, it was announced that the existing gondola would be replaced with a new $6 million dollar gondola. The new gondola was built and now has 8-passenger cabins, along with heated seats. Today, the ski resort continues to invest money in improving various things such as safety, comfort, and efficiency.[11]

5.0 (157 Reviews)

Loon Lake Lodge is located in Grand Marais, Minnesota, on the edge of Loon Lake. The property contains eight cabins that are available for rent for half of the year and one cabin, called The Shack, that can be booked year-round. The grounds are on the lake's edge, many of the cabins having personal docks on the water. This offers the opportunity for guests to spend some time in the lake or on the beachside with their family or other visitors. There is gear available for patrons to use on the lake, such as kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and hydro bikes. The owner, Derek, and his wife Andrea hope that their guests are able to enjoy nature while they stay with them. They both love the property that they own and strive to keep it up to date while keeping the history of the cabins intact.

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