Trails, Lakes, & Streams
Hiking & Ski Trails
Our trails are open to drop-in visitors. Please check in with our administration office when you arrive. Our campus is interwoven with 18 miles of trail with a well-signed trail system directing visitors towards a number of destinations dedicated to specific environmental education activities. In the winter, two groomed cross-country classic ski trails are maintained by our staff and enjoyed by our students.
The trail leading from the top of Wolf Ridge to the Sawmill Creek bottomlands begins on the ridge at 1,400 feet of elevation and drops nearly 300 feet. Containing more than 200 steps, (many kids know the exact number!) it is the main access to a rich diversity of habitat where many Wolf Ridge classes go to learn about fish, wildlife, and stream ecology.
Sawmill Creek meanders through more than two miles of alder and spruce wetland. It is home to beaver and brook trout and is regularly visited by moose and otter. Hundreds of feet of elevated boardwalk and a bridge have been constructed to enable a variety of aquatic and wildlife activities to be conducted along the creek.
Sawmill Creek Vista
Wolf Ridge contains a number of scenic overlooks, some natural and others with constructed decks, with views in all directions. The Sawmill Creek Vista from the north side of the ridge overlooks more than 100 square miles of uninterrupted forest lands. For many children and adults, this view, plus the horizon to horizon vista of Lake Superior seen from the south side of Wolf Ridge creates experiences that have a lasting impact. At exactly 1,405 feet, Marshall Mountain overlooks campus with a stunning view of Lake Superior.
The alpine-like feel of the 2000-acre Wolf Ridge campus is bolstered by the inclusion of some of the tallest cliffs in Minnesota. Located within the southern corner of Wolf Ridge’s property, the 110′ anorthosite cliffs of Mystical Mountain is a regional destination for hundreds of rock climbers each year, including Wolf Ridge students.
Wolf Lake is at the heart of many campus activities. It contains two canoe launch sites, our lake ecology study area, and provides a home for our ice houses each winter.
During the open water seasons brigades of hearty student “voyageurs” can be observed, paddling their 36-foot birch bark canoes toward a regularly used campsite located on the portage from Raven Lake.
Raven Lake, named for the ravens that nest on nearby cliff edges, features both rocks and, on the northern shore, a large wetland area. During the spring, summer, and fall, groups of students are regularly encountered as they conduct a variety of wetland studies or practice their newly acquired canoeing skills.
Bordering part of the Wolf Ridge campus and named by the French missionaries who regularly used the large pool located where the river enters Lake Superior for religious purposes, the Baptism River is a young and robust river that cuts its way through the million-year-old rocks that underlie Wolf Ridge.
Waterfalls and wildlife are common on the wild and undeveloped stretch of the river located on Wolf Ridge.