My family was able to stay at Creekside Cabin at Elbow Lake Lodge last week. We took several day trips from there including one to the Vermilion Gorge out of Crane Lake. Here’s our adventure. If you are staying in the area, give me (Chris) a call at 651-492-7092 and I can help you find a great place to stay.
After a winding and turbulent 30 mile path, the Vermilion Gorge is the grand finale of the Vermilion River. The site is easily accessed by boat or by foot. We did a short video showing you a little bit of what it’s like getting there by foot.
If you are on a boat, go to the Northwest corner of Crane Lake, just north of Scotts Seaplane Base and Voyagaire Lodge and Houseboats. You will drive to a dock anchored onto the shoreline.
From there, take a short walk to the gorge. If you are going by foot, park at Voyagaire Lodge and Houseboats. The trailhead is in the back of their parking lot. It is a little difficult to find as most of the parking lots and businesses in Crane Lake kind of blend together. So, as you are driving in, drive to Voyagaire and turn left into their back parking lot. The trailhead is on the north side of that lot. The walk will begin through some wooded forest and will transition into a canopied pine forest before getting to the gorge. The walk is a fairly easy 1.5 miles. My youngest boy was 5 and he walked the whole thing no problem.
After a walk through some brushy woods, the path will bring you to the corner of Crane Lake near where the Vermilion River flows.
enter a stand of canopied red pine. This is a very pretty place.
Along the entire path, we saw some pretty things. Here’s a lot and a mushroom we stopped to enjoy a bit.
When you get to the gorge, be very careful. Even when the river is low there is a lot of current and churning water. There are minimal safety precautions so hold on to any children that like to run. The cliffs are tall and some are at least 30 feet tall. If you fall in, you are going to have to ride out the whole gorge.
The gorge is very pretty and it is highly unusual to find such a dramatic rapids and cliffs like this in Northern Minnesota.
If you need something easier to access, I recommend going to the Vermilion Falls. These falls are a little smaller, but you can drive right up to them and they have a very simple deck you can walk on while you are there.