Hiking is never just about getting from Point A to Point B. Mike Link and Kate Crowley know that very well. In fact, they are just going from Point A (Duluth) back to Point A (Duluth), the long way around Lake Superior.
To get from the eastern edge of Cascade River State Park to the Cascade River itself, there's an easy way, a moderate way, and a difficult way.
Easy is to follow Highway 61, the straight line cutting across the map above. Walking on Highway 61 is stressful and dangerous, with big trucks and fast cars roaring by.
Moderate is to follow the state park ski trail, the winding dotted line between Highway 61 and the lake. You can watch for birds and look for wildflowers and enjoy the occasional overlook out onto big blue Lake Superior.
Difficult is to follow the actual Lake Superior shoreline, which is what Mike and Kate do as much as they can. This is the REAL North Shore hiking experience, complete with colorful lichen, crashing waves, and big views all the time.
Cascade River State Park has many miles of Lake Superior shoreline, about two miles of which are accessible by trails. This shoreline walk is well over a mile, all on accessible ledgerock. It is the longest shore walk in the North Shore state parks. The routefinding is really fun. You work around boulders and navigate clefts in the rock, with low cliffs of 2-3 feet now and again. Start at the mouth of the Cascade River or at the park picnic area and go east.
Who needs a trail when Lake Superior combines with billion-year-old rock to provide a rugged pathway like this?