MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If you’re looking for a great workout, some adventure or to connect with nature, kayaking is a way to do all of the above.
We went searching for the best kayaking in Minnesota, and your votes sent Natalie Nyhus to the North Shore. Your winner is the Lake Superior Water Trail in Duluth.
Thousands of tourists travel the North Shore each year to see its beauty. But few get to see the grand shoreline from the kayaker’s perspective.
“This is the North Shore,” said kayaking guide Blake Cazier. “Of course, we appreciate the highway and it helps us get up the North Shore, but when you can get on the lake and see it from the perspective of a kayak, that’s pretty special. That’s really seeing the North Shore
Kayaking is a sport that gives you opportunities few others do: a chance to be independently right on the water.
“It’s always an awesome experience to be in a small boat on a big lake,” Cazier said.
And your favorite place to paddle in Minnesota is on the biggest lake: Superior.
“The water trail is about 150 miles long,” said Cazier. “It starts in Duluth and goes along the Minnesota shoreline toward the Canadian border and the grand portage area. There are areas of shoreline the DNR and water trail association have worked to created maps and resources for people to build campsites.”
Our guide, Blake Cazier, of Positive Energy Outdoors, has been slicing through the Superior waters for more than 30 years.
“I love paddling on Lake Superior,” he said. “I’ve paddled on the Atlantic and Pacific from Alaska to Panama. Every time I get on Superior it’s an awesome feeling. It’s incredible to be on a lake like Superior in a small boat or kayak.”
On a lake this size, you have to be prepared with the right weather, people and equipment.
“If the waves come up here today, we will be comfortable because we are wearing our kayak, we’re not just sitting in it,” Cazier said.
We set out to explore Agate Bay in Two Harbors, an area juxtaposed with the serenity of nature and the wonders of man’s achievement.
“If we go up close to the ore dock, we can probably pick up some taconite, so we can see what’s being loaded into the ship,” Cazier said.
It was a David and Goliath match-up between an 18-foot kayak and a 1,000-foot iron ore ship.
“They typically don’t put down the big anchor in the back,” said Cazier. “That’s a big anchor.”
Kayaking can take you to places you can’t normally go.
“On a kayak people can paddle through shallow areas you can’t get with any other kind of boat,” Cazier said. “You can go around the rocks, next to the shoreline. It allows you to poke into places you can’t on any other kind of craft.”
With its picturesque shoreline, deep blue waters and miles of possibilities, this inland sea is more than a state treasure.
“There’s a lifetime of adventures to be had on the Lake Superior Water Trail,” Cazier said.
If you’re interested in kayaking Lake Superior, it’s best to start with a guide because of its size and temperature.
Your other favorite kayaking spots are Beaver Islands in St. Cloud and Wild River State Park in Center City.