Mount Josephine, Minnesota

Last week on one of our days off, Tom and I hiked a trail that is close to home.  We walked down the road, cut up past the beaver pond, and headed up the one mile trail to Mount Josephine.

mt josephine 015
View from the top of Mount Josephine with hiking buddies Val and Johnny. Susie Islands in the distance.

Mount Josephine is the highest mountain on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.  That’s the long way to say that the view from the top is spectacular!  We spend most of our time along the lakeshore, so getting a bird’s eye view of it was really interesting.  We could see Hat Point – the peninsula we live on, Grand Portage National Monument, and Mount Rose behind it (waaaay down there!).  From the summit we could also see the Susie Islands, Pete’s Island, and Isle Royale.

mt josephine 013The climb up to the summit is challenging.  You gain 700 feet of elevation in a little over 1/2 mile so it can be a little steep.  But the stones provide natural steps and it didn’t feel steep compared to some trails we have hiked.  I took plenty of “catch my breath” moments at strategic points to admire the views.  I was also thankful I had a trekking pole for the hike back down to give my knees some support.

We spent about three hours hiking Mount Josephine.  We could have done it in less, but we spent close to an hour on the summit just admiring the views.  We watched gulls fly and saw something large swimming in the bay.  We explored the massive base of the old fire tower at the summit.  And the entire time we were on the trail and at the summit, we were the only people on the mountain.

mt josephine 001Most people who come here don’t know about the Mount Josephine Trail.  The trailheads aren’t marked and there aren’t any signs.  You have to know where to find it and the only sign you are on the right trail is an unobtrusive sign about half a mile in that says “Summit 1 Mile.”  Over 4th of July weekend we had people stop at the Heritage Center and ask how to find it.  We have a map we can give them, but they have to take our word for it that they are on the right trail.

We very much enjoyed our hike to Mount Josephine.  The views from the top were worth every huff and puff getting there.

10756243 (1)If you are planning a visit to the north shore and want to know more about the hiking trails, there is an excellent little book you can buy:  “Hiking the North Shore” by Andrew Slade.  I definitely recommend it.  It has an excellent description of the Mount Josephine Trail and how to find it.