George Crosby Manitou State Park

Looking for a state park that’s off the beaten path? Perhaps, on with fewer visitors per year than other North Shore state parks? If that’s what you desire, look no further than the George Crosby Manitou State Park. This unique and lesser-known state park is located near the town of Finland.

The park is located north of Highway 61, away from Lake Superior. Because of its location, it doesn’t receive as many visitors as the more popular state parks located along Lake Superior. With less human traffic, you are more likely to spot wildlife like deer, bear, moose, hare, red squirrel, beaver, and wolves. Other highlights of this park include enchanting Benson Lake, the Manitou River Cascades, and miles of hiking trails.

Here is our list of top five things to do at George Crosby Manitou State Park:
  1. Picnic at Benson Lake: The walk-in picnic area is about a quarter of a mile walk in to the northeast side of Benson Lake. The lake is a picturesque backdrop for your time there.
  2. Hiking: There are 23 miles of trails within the park, including five miles of the Superior Hiking Trail. There are rugged trails that wrap through old-growth forests, and up and down trails that run along the Manitou River. Though the hikes are challenging, the well-thought-out resting areas and overlooks make the effort worth it.
  3. Fishing: Brown, rainbow, and brook trout are plentiful in Benson Lake. No motors are allowed, so you will be able to enjoy a pleasant fishing trip with the peaceful serenity that is Benson Lake.
  4. Birdwatching: A popular pastime on the North Shore, birdwatching is a real treat here! 23 species of warblers have been recorded in the park. It’s also a good place to find black-throated blue warblers. Check out the Bird Checklist on the DNR website for more birding opportunities.
  5. Enjoy the Manitou River Cascades: Watch the Manitou River cascade down a gorge of volcanic rock, framed by strands of fir, spruce, and cedar trees. You can enjoy bird watching from the many outlooks along the river, as well.
  6. Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park. Try the Benson Lake Trail or Manitou River Cascade Trail during the winter months – they are our favorites for snowshoeing!

Note: Roads in the park are not plowed during the winter, so visitors may need to snowshoe in from County Road 7 if the snow is deep.

More Info

Want to learn even more about this unique state park? Check out the Exploring the North Shore guide that includes info on cost, camping, and accessibility.

Getting There

To get to Crosby Manitou State Park from Schroeder: Turn right (away from Lake Superior) onto Cramer Road. Follow Cramer Road for approximately 6 miles and continue on to County Road 8. When the road comes to a T, turn left onto Cramer Road. Drive approximately four miles and turn left onto Benson Lake Road.

Looking for other area state parks? Check out our North Shore State Parks Guide!