The Lake Superior water trail runs from Duluth, Minnesota to Grand Portage, Minnesota along the open coast of Lake Superior. It features backcountry campsite, friendly small towns and many state parks. On our Lake Superior Water Trail Kayak Camping Trips, we break the trip into two sections and cover the distance over two weeks. The southern section runs 75 miles from Duluth to the Temperance River. The northern sections runs 67 miles for Temperance River to Grand Portage.
If you can’t make the dates for this trip or would like to sample a smaller portion of the trail, ask us about custom trips.
Description – South Section
The best way to experience the Lake Superior shoreline is to live on it for a week. During this seven-day, seven-night sea kayak camping trip, you’ll do just that. We’ll start the trip Duluth and over seven days kayak 75 miles to the Temperance River. Combine the south section with the north to paddle the entire Minnesota shoreline in two weeks.
Places We’ll Visit – South Section
We start kayaking in Duluth and paddle north along the north shore until Temperance River State Park. Along the way we’ll pass Gooseberry State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse, Palisade Head, Tettegouche State Park and the Manitou River. Depending on our pace, we may camp in some of the parks or in the primitive Lake Superior Water Trail campsites. In the evening, when we camp in or near a state park, you’ll have plenty of time to explore or time to kick back, read a book and relax around the fire.
The shoreline varies from cobblestone and sand beaches to 200-foot-tall cliffs. There are several caves and many sea arches along the way. The beaches are perfect for finding agates and fairy stones, a rock with a natural hole. A boreal forest comes right down to the lake, and in it we could see eagles, owls, deer, fox and other animals. Although our campsites vary, one of our longest days happens on day two when we need to paddle from our campsite almost 16 miles to Two Harbors.
Description – North Section
The best way to experience the Lake Superior shoreline is to live on it for a week. During this seven-day, seven-night sea kayak camping trip, you’ll do just that. We’ll start the trip at Temperance River State Park and over seven days kayak 67 miles to Grand Portage. Paddle the entire Lake Superior shore in Minnesota over two weeks by joining our Lake Superior Water Trail Kayak Camping Trip – South.
Places We’ll Visit – North Section
Along the way, we’ll paddle past Tofte, Lutsen, Grand Marais and Hovland. Kayaking past a town makes for an unique and charming way to see these small north shore towns and experience the wilderness of the parks between. Depending on the weather and pace we may even camp in one of the towns, which gives you a night on the town on your own. Along the way, we’ll also have a chance visit the waterfalls on the Onion River, Cascade River State Park, Fall River and the Kadunce. In the evening, when we camp in or near a state park, you’ll have plenty of time to explore or time to kick back, read a book and relax around the fire.
The shoreline from Temperance River State Park varies from cobblestone and sand beaches to 50-foot basalt cliffs. There are several small caves and a sea arch along the way. The beaches that we’ll camp on are perfect for finding agates and fairy stones, a rock with a natural hole. A boreal forest comes right down to the lake, and in it we could see eagles, owls, deer, fox and other animals. We’ll use Lake Superior Water Trail campsites for camping, and depending on our pace, we may camp in Grand Marais.
The Kayak Camping Trip Experience
On a guided Lake Superior Water Trail kayaking trip, you can expect to paddle 11 to 16 miles per day with a full-day off for bad weather, rest and exploring the area. Minnesota’s Lake Superior shoreline offers a unique sea kayak camping experience, because small towns and many state parks dot the shoreline. It’s a wildernessy, urban experience. These tours feel a little bit like bike tours in that we can reach towns fairly easily, but we’ll camp at primitive campsite on the Lake Superior Water Trail.
Our days on a sea kayaking trip follow a pattern. In morning, we break camp and your guide makes breakfast. After eating, we launch our kayaks and paddle up the shore exploring, photographing and enjoying the day. June is generally calm, but on rough water days, we’ll stay on shore. Mid-day, we’ll stop for lunch and a break. In the afternoon, we’ll finish paddling to our next campsite where we’ll set up camp. The guide will cook a dinner over a stove or a fire. Then we’ll settle in for the night. Sunset happens about 9pm, so there’s plenty of time in the evening to spend relaxing or exploring before the sun goes down.
Logistics – South Section
Because this is a one-way trip, we need to shuttle from one end to the other. On Saturday morning, you’ll drop your car off at Temperance River State park and take a shuttle that we arrange to Duluth, about an hour and a half drive. After you arrive at our campsite, we’ll get ready for the trip. In the afternoon, we’ll get into the kayaks and practice safety and rescue drills. The next morning, we’ll launch our sea kayaks into the largest lake in the world and paddle northeast up the shore. Seven days later, we’ll reach the Temperance River and your car.
Logistics – North Section
Because this is a one-way trip, we need to shuttle from one end to the other. On Saturday morning, you’ll drop your car off at the Grand Portage marina and take a shuttle that we arrange to the Temperance River, about an hour drive. After you arrive at our campsite, we’ll get ready for the trip. In the afternoon, we’ll get into the kayaks and practice safety and rescue drills in the protected mouth of the Temperance River. On Sunday, we’ll launch our sea kayaks into the largest lake in the world and paddle northeast up the shore. Seven days later, we’ll reach Grand Portage and your car.
1 person: $1749
2 people: $1400 per person
3 people: $1150 per person
4 or 5 people: $1050 per person
A 50% non-refundable deposit is required when you reserve.
Our guides accept gratuity.
Age limit: 18 and up.
Skill level: Intermediate paddling skills and camping experience.
Distance: 67 to 75 miles.
Pace: 12 to 16 miles per day depending on the weather. We paddle between 3 and 4 mph.
Where to meet: See logistics above.
Reservations: Advanced reservation and payment required.
Maps: Download Lake Superior Water Trail maps.
2013 South Section: Saturday, June 15 to Friday, June 21
2013 North Section: Saturday, June 22 to Friday, June 28
2014 South Section: Saturday, June 14 to Friday, June 20
2014 North Section: Saturday, June 21 to Friday, June 27
We provide a sea kayak, wetsuit, paddling gear, camping fees, guide, all meals, cooking gear and shuttle. We’ll also take pictures and give you a disk of images for personal use. For kayak camping trips with four or five people we bring along one tandem kayak. Tandems are optional when there’s one to three people.
You bring a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, dry bags, clothing and personal gear. We’ll send you a list of required and suggested gear after you register. You should bring extra money for personal treats if we make a stop near a town or resort. We may have tents and sleeping pads available for rental. Contact us for availability.