October 18, 2002
A porcupine crossing the road and climbing a tree was the first thing we saw as we drove into the park grounds. A Visitor Center displayed exhibits on the geology, flora and wildlife we could expect to see. We grabbed some trail maps and set out to explore the park.
We crossed a swinging bridge over St. Louis River and saw unusual rootbeer colored frothy water cascading over rocks, which we learned resulted from tanic acid.
After crossing the bridge, there are a confusing variety of trails to choose from. A map is very helpful as many of the trails interweave with each other. We followed the river on a trail that allowed us to see the odd, tilted rocks that dominated the river.
The rocks are slate and graywacke. Underground forces caused them to fold and become exposed at an angle, so they appear tilted. In the grayish blue still water, these rocks looked like fragmented icebergs–jagged pieces of white rocks tipped in gray jutting out of the water. Very strange. Other parts of the river showcased the dark shale gorge or rootbeer cascades. Definitely a place geology buffs would dig.
Trails led us away from the river and into a thick forest of pine with rock outcroppings. The trails were clear cut, well-maintained and scenic, especially those near the river. It was an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.
Other than hiking, kayaking and mountain biking are big sports here. Kayaking competitions are held here in the park every spring. It's a fast exciting river, and the race draws many spectators. There are 12 miles of moderate trails for mountain bikers on singletrack through the forest. The dirt is well packed and the rocky layer underneath allows for a dry track. I wish I'd had my bike.
From journal Highlights of Duluth