Jay Cooke State Park

Carlton, Minnesota 55718

Jay Cooke State Park

Jay Cooke State Park Professional Review and Guide

"A 126-foot swinging suspension footbridge crosses the St. Louis River, high above the gorge with its red clay banks--clay deposited long ago by Glacial Lake Duluth, the ancient glacial lake that later became Lake Superior. This bridge, rebuilt in 1953, was the only way across the river from the Thomson Hydroelectric Station powerhouse in the early 1900s. Since that time, the bridge has been modified, destroyed by weather, and rebuilt.

Jay Cooke State Park’s 50 miles of hiking trails follow this turbulent portion of river for a distance, take you across the footbridge past several scenic overlooks, and connect with the paved Willard Munger State Trail. Silver Creek, which drains into the St. Louis, is spring fed and stocked with trout. Beaver find its running water inviting. The evidence is in the fresh cuttings lying near their dams along the creek. Silver Creek Trail is part of the Minnesota Hiking Trail system."

Jay Cooke State Park Reviews

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Anything further out than a mile isn't maintained very well. If you stick close to the swinging bridge and only hike along the river, you will be fine. We backpacked to a remote site, and about half of the 2.7-mile hike in (one-way) was waist-high grass. We were covered in dozens of wood ticks. The park itself is beautiful, especially along the river. Once you get further back into the park, there isn't as much to see. Early summer is nice (before the drought hits), but later summer will have fewer ticks.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
1.5 hours
940 feet
Trailhead Elevation
970 feet
Top Elevation
Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton, MN; (218) 384-4610; www.dnr.state.mn.us; Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, MN; (651) 296-6157 or (888) 646-6367; www.dnr.state.mn.us
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Jul 2018