Need ideas for outdoor fun? Here are 10

Let's assume the rains will eventually cease. Let's assume the sun will shine, the water will clear, the days will warm -- and we'll all want to get out and play again.

Let's assume the rains will eventually cease. Let's assume the sun will shine, the water will clear, the days will warm -- and we'll all want to get out and play again.

Here, then, are some destinations to consider with plenty of summer left. The North Shore. Bayfield. Ely. Lake Superior. The Brule River. Canada.

Grab the gang. Strap in the kids. Hit the road.

Hike the Old Pines Trail.

East of Ely, off the Fernberg Road, this trail takes you to a large stand of virgin white pines, many of which are more than 300 years old. You'll start on the Snowbank Trail, then veer off north of Becoosin Lake. Total distance, 11.5 miles. It's in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, so you'll need to write yourself a day-use permit at the trailhead. Go to the Superior National Forest website at .


Paddle Wisconsin's Brule River at dusk

Rent canoes from one of the purveyors in Brule and get a shuttle to Stone's Bridge. Paddle to the Winneboujou Landing, about a four-hour trip if you don't lollygag. Time your outing so you're on the river at sunset or just beyond, when the whippoorwills call and maybe the coyotes, too.

See the pictographs of Lake Superior Provincial Park. This sprawling park on the Canadian shore of Lake Superior north of Sault Ste. Marie is spectacular. Take the quarter-mile trail to the Agawa Rock Indian pictographs if you dare. The trail is docile, but the ledge-rock walk out to the pictographs will get your attention. Go to .

Hike to the Top of the Giant, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

If you haven't done this yet, it's a must. It affords probably the most amazing views over Lake Superior that you can get to on two legs. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park ( ) is about an hour northeast of Thunder Bay on Canada Highway 11/17 and south on Highway 587. You can car-camp at the park and day-hike to the Giant. It's a 14-mile round-trip hike, or an 8-mile round trip if you mountain bike the first part of the trail.

Try stand-up paddleboarding

Try this growing surfing-hybrid sport for a good workout and a new way to explore lakes and rivers. The Recreational Sports Outdoor Program at the University of Minnesota offers several classes this summer. Go to or call (218) 726-7128.

Hike the Porkies


In the rugged hills along the Michigan shoreline of Lake Superior lies 60,000-acre Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park ( ). You think we have trees in Minnesota? Wait until you see these ancient maples and towering hemlocks. Trails of all lengths take you to secluded lakes and rippling rivers.

Kayak to the Apostle Islands sea caves

These sandstone caves, carved by eons of wave action on Lake Superior, allow intimate access from a sea kayak. Nooks, niches, caverns, small amphitheaters, pillared alcoves -- all chewed from sedimentary bands of sandstone that are part of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Take your own kayak (put in at Meyers Beach east of Cornucopia) or arrange a tour (about $99 per person) through an outfitter in Bayfield. Go to .

Paddle and fish the Kabetogama Peninsula.

It's a little-known option in Voyageurs National Park, but you can get a boat ride across Kabetogama Lake (from a resort) and hike to inland lakes on the Kabetogama Peninsula. At eight of those lakes, you can reserve a canoe to use ($10 per canoe per day) once you get there and paddle it to a campsite on the lake. Talk about getting away from it all. And some of those lakes offer excellent fishing. Go to or call (218) 283-6600.

Paddle to the Hegman Lake pictographs.

This adventure is an excellent day trip if you're in the Ely area. Take the Echo Trail (County 116) north to the Hegman Lake portage. The 1/3-mile trail takes you South Hegman Lake, and a short paddle takes you to the lift-over portage to North Hegman. From there, it's about a 15-minute paddle to the pictographs on the north arm of the lake, west shoreline. These pictographs are among the clearest and most interesting in the canoe country.

Hike a stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail.


Every bit of the Superior Hiking Trail is inviting, but you'll like the 6.4-mile segment from the Lutsen ski hill to the Caribou Trail (Cook County Road 4). It takes you around Lake Agnes and offers several open vistas of the Poplar River snaking through its valley. The trail guide says it's a "mushroom hunter's heaven" in late summer. Go to the Superior Hiking Trail Association website ( ) for more information.

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