Nowadays, it’s hard to find a place where you can be surrounded by enormous towering pines and still be able to navigate your way through a trail. However, the George Washington Pines Memorial Trail outside of Grand Marais lets you experience just that on a 2.25-mile trail.
The George Washington Memorial Pine Plantation was established when 13 boys from the Grand Marais Boy Scout Troop #67 planted 32 acres of land with 14,570 Norway Pine and 7,500, White Pine, in 1932 after a 1927 fire.
A short spur from the parking lot off the Gunflint Trail will lead you to a hiking loop. This travels through a forest of towering pines intermingled with birch. As you continue, keep watch for surrounding wildlife that is sure to be out and about. This quiet trail will eventually lead you to the shores of the Elbow River. This is a perfect place to have lunch or just take in the beauty of the rushing water.
The relatively flat walk is highlighted in the last mile of the hike by the large, fragrant cedar trees. Binoculars are a great thing to keep handy as wildlife tend to make their home high up in the trees. Also, be sure to pack the proper gear as the trail tends to be a little wet!
From highway 61 in Grand Marais, go north on the Gunflint Trail about eight miles to the parking area on your left that is marked with a George Washington Pines sign.