George Crosby Manitou State Park is designated as a state park with limited development and is located near Lake Superior’s North Shore north of Highway 61. Because of its location, this state park is one of the least visited on the North Shore. With less traffic, visitors are more likely to spot wildlife like deer, bear, moose, hare, red squirrels, beaver and wolves than they are at many other state parks. Highlights of the park include peaceful Benson Lake, the Manitou River Cascades, and excellent hiking trails.
Top Five Things to do at George Crosby Manitou State Park
Hiking: There are 23 miles of trails within the Crosby-Manitou State Park, including five miles of the Superior Hiking Trail. These trails are touted as the best back-country trails in the Minnesota state park system. The rugged trails wrap through old-growth forests, up and down rugged terrain and along the Manitou River. Though the hikes are challenging, the well-thought-out resting areas and overlooks make the effort worth it.
Picnic on Benson Lake: Pack a small cooler and hike about a quarter of a mile to the northeast side of Benson Lake where you’ll find a walk-in picnic area next to the lake.
View the Manitou River Cascades: Watch the Manitou River cascade down a gorge of volcanic rock. The river is framed by stands of fir, spruce, and cedar.
Fishing: Grab your pole and try your luck at a trout (brown, rainbow or brook) on Benson Lake. No motors are allowed on the lake so you’ll also be rewarded with a peaceful experience (or, a peaceful paddle if you choose to bring a boat).
Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is allowed throughout the park. Check out the Benson Lake Trail or the Manitou River Cascades during the winter months for a different perspective of the park.
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.
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 4 miles and turn left onto Benson Lake Road.