Crane Lake Trail In Missouri

Here is everything you need to know about the Crane Lake Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Missouri
  • Length: 5 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: dirt
  • Managed By: Superior National Forest
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Crane Lake Trail holds a significant place in the history of the region, serving as a vital transportation route for centuries. The trail dates back to the early 1800s when it was first used by indigenous peoples for hunting, trading, and travel. These early inhabitants recognized the strategic importance of the trail, as it connected various waterways and provided access to abundant natural resources.

With the arrival of European settlers in the mid-19th century, the Crane Lake Trail gained further prominence. It became an essential route for fur traders, loggers, and prospectors, who sought to exploit the vast resources of the surrounding wilderness. The trail facilitated the transportation of furs, timber, and minerals, contributing to the economic development of the region.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Crane Lake Trail played a crucial role in the expansion of the logging industry. Lumberjacks used the trail to transport logs from the remote forests to the sawmills, where they were processed and shipped to various markets. The trail’s strategic location near water bodies allowed for efficient log floating and facilitated the movement of timber.

Over time, as road networks and other transportation methods developed, the significance of the Crane Lake Trail diminished. However, its historical importance remains evident in the remnants of old logging camps, trading posts, and other structures that can still be found along the trail. Today, the Crane Lake Trail serves as a reminder of the region’s rich history and the vital role it played in shaping the local economy and culture.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Crane Lake Trailhead: This is the starting point of the Crane Lake Trail, located near the town of Crane Lake, Minnesota.

2. Echo Lake Trailhead: This access point is located along the Crane Lake Trail, near Echo Lake. It provides an alternative starting point for hikers.

3. Vermilion Gorge Trailhead: Situated along the Crane Lake Trail, this access point is near the Vermilion Gorge, offering scenic views and a starting point for hikers.

4. Little Vermilion Lake Trailhead: Located along the Crane Lake Trail, this access point is near Little Vermilion Lake, providing a starting point for hikers.

5. Loon Lake Trailhead: This access point is situated along the Crane Lake Trail, near Loon Lake. It offers a starting point for hikers and beautiful lake views.

6. Sand Point Lake Trailhead: Located along the Crane Lake Trail, this access point is near Sand Point Lake, providing a starting point for hikers and access to the lake.

7. Namakan Lake Trailhead: Situated along the Crane Lake Trail, this access point is near Namakan Lake, offering a starting point for hikers and access to the lake.

8. Lac La Croix Trailhead: This access point is located along the Crane Lake Trail, near Lac La Croix. It provides a starting point for hikers and access to the lake.

9. Basswood Lake Trailhead: Situated along the Crane Lake Trail, this access point is near Basswood Lake, offering a starting point for hikers and access to the lake.

10. Saganaga Lake Trailhead: Located along the Crane Lake Trail, this access point is near Saganaga Lake, providing a starting point for hikers and access to the lake.

Transportation Available

1. Crane Lake Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from Crane Lake Trail.
2. Local Taxi – Taxi service available for convenient transportation in the area.
3. Bike Rentals – Rent bicycles for exploring the Crane Lake Trail and surrounding areas.
4. Car Rental – Rent a car for flexible transportation options during your visit.
5. Public Bus – Local bus service offering transportation to various destinations, including the Crane Lake Trail.
6. Ride-Sharing Service – Use a ride-sharing app to book a ride to the Crane Lake Trail.
7. Water Taxi – Water taxi service for transportation across Crane Lake and to the trailhead.
8. ATV Rentals – Rent an ATV for off-road transportation to the Crane Lake Trail.
9. Hiking Tours – Join a guided hiking tour that includes transportation to the Crane Lake Trail.
10. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service providing transportation to and from nearby airports for visitors to the Crane Lake Trail.


The Crane Lake Trail offers the following amenities:

1. Restrooms: There are restroom facilities available at designated areas along the trail for visitors’ convenience.

2. Parking: There is ample parking space available at the trailhead or nearby parking lots for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: The trail provides designated camping sites for visitors who wish to spend the night. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to water sources.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack. These areas may have picnic tables, benches, and trash bins.

5. Scenic Overlooks: The trail offers scenic overlooks or viewpoints where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape or landmarks.

6. Interpretive Signs: Throughout the trail, there may be interpretive signs providing information about the local flora, fauna, history, or geology, enhancing the educational experience for visitors.

7. Trail Markers: The trail is typically marked with signs or markers to guide visitors and ensure they stay on the designated path.

8. Information Kiosks: At the trailhead or other strategic locations, there may be information kiosks providing maps, brochures, or other relevant information about the trail and its surroundings.

9. Benches: Along the trail, there may be benches or seating areas where visitors can rest and take in the scenery.

10. Waste Receptacles: To maintain cleanliness, there are waste receptacles placed at various points along the trail for visitors to dispose of their trash.

11. Water Sources: Depending on the trail’s location, there may be access to water sources such as lakes, rivers, or streams, allowing visitors to refill their water bottles or enjoy water-based activities.

12. Accessibility Features: The trail may have accessibility features such as wheelchair ramps, paved paths, or handrails to accommodate individuals with disabilities.

Please note that the availability of these amenities may vary depending on the specific location and management of the Crane Lake Trail. It is advisable to check with local authorities or trail management for the most up-to-date information.

Nearby Services

1. Crane Lake Resort – Lakeside lodging with cabins and RV sites.
2. Nelson’s Resort – Family-friendly resort offering cabins, a restaurant, and boat rentals.
3. Voyagaire Lodge and Houseboats – Waterfront lodge with houseboat rentals and a restaurant.
4. Handberg’s Marina – Marina with boat rentals and a small convenience store.
5. Pine Point Lodge – Rustic lodge with cabins, a restaurant, and boat rentals.
6. Scott’s Peaceful Valley Resort – Lakeside resort with cabins, a restaurant, and boat rentals.
7. Crane Lake Bar & Grill – Casual dining spot serving American fare and drinks.
8. Pine Ridge Resort – Lakeside resort with cabins, a restaurant, and boat rentals.
9. Crane Lake Trading Post – Convenience store offering groceries, snacks, and fishing supplies.
10. Crane Lake Fire Department – Local emergency services for fire-related incidents.

Crane Lake Trail Difficulty Notes

The Crane Lake Trail offers a moderate difficulty level for hikers. The trail is approximately 6 miles long and features a variety of terrain, including rocky sections, steep inclines, and uneven surfaces. Hikers should be prepared for some challenging sections that require good balance and endurance. However, the trail is well-marked and maintained, making it accessible for most hikers with a moderate level of fitness and experience. The stunning views of Crane Lake and the surrounding wilderness make the effort well worth it.

Features And Attractions

The Crane Lake Trail is a beautiful hiking trail located in Minnesota, USA. Along the trail, you can find various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable attractions along the Crane Lake Trail:

1. Crane Lake: The trail starts at Crane Lake, a stunning lake surrounded by lush forests and rocky shores. It offers breathtaking views and opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife spotting.

2. Vermilion Gorge: As you hike along the trail, you’ll come across Vermilion Gorge, a narrow and picturesque canyon carved by the Vermilion River. The gorge offers stunning views of the river and its cascading waterfalls.

3. Echo Lake: Located near the trail, Echo Lake is a serene and secluded spot with crystal-clear waters. It’s a great place to relax, swim, or have a picnic while enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

4. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: The Crane Lake Trail is located near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a vast wilderness area known for its pristine lakes, dense forests, and abundant wildlife. It’s a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking, and camping.

5. Vermilion Falls: A short detour from the trail will take you to Vermilion Falls, a beautiful waterfall cascading over a series of rocks. It’s a great spot for photography and enjoying the sound of rushing water.

6. Historic Sites: Along the trail, you may come across remnants of old logging camps, mining sites, and other historical landmarks that offer a glimpse into the region’s past.

7. Wildlife: The Crane Lake Trail is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including moose, black bears, wolves, bald eagles, and various bird species. Keep an eye out for these animals as you hike through the trail.

8. Forests and Wildflowers: The trail meanders through dense forests filled with towering pine trees, birch trees, and other native flora. During the spring and summer, you’ll also encounter vibrant wildflowers blooming along the trail.

These are just a few of the many scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks you can experience along the Crane Lake Trail. It’s a fantastic destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Crane Lake Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Camping is permitted only in designated camping areas along the trail.
3. Open fires are prohibited except in designated fire pits or grills.
4. Littering is strictly prohibited. Please carry out all trash and dispose of it properly.
5. Hunting or trapping is not allowed on the trail.
6. Motorized vehicles, including ATVs and motorcycles, are not permitted on the trail.
7. Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to hikers and give them the right of way.
8. Fishing is allowed in Crane Lake but requires a valid fishing license.
9. Swimming is permitted in designated areas only. Please follow any posted safety guidelines.
10. The trail may have seasonal restrictions or closures due to weather conditions or maintenance. Please check for any updates or closures before visiting.

Seasonal Information

The Crane Lake Trail is a popular hiking destination located in the Superior National Forest of Minnesota. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife. When planning a visit to the Crane Lake Trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to visit and any seasonal closures that may affect your trip.

The best times to visit the Crane Lake Trail are during the summer and early fall months. From June to September, the weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius). During this time, the trail is accessible and offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping. The summer months also provide an opportunity to witness the vibrant colors of wildflowers and foliage, creating a picturesque backdrop for your hike.

It is important to note that the Crane Lake Trail may have seasonal closures due to weather conditions. During the winter months, heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures can make the trail impassable and dangerous. It is advisable to check with the Superior National Forest or local authorities for any closures or restrictions before planning your visit. Additionally, springtime can bring muddy and wet conditions, making the trail challenging to navigate. Therefore, it is recommended to plan your visit during the drier months for a more enjoyable experience.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Crane Lake Trail are during the summer and early fall when the weather is pleasant and the trail is accessible. However, it is important to stay informed about any seasonal closures or restrictions that may affect your trip. Whether you are an avid hiker or a nature enthusiast, the Crane Lake Trail offers a memorable experience with its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Parking: Designated parking spaces close to the trailhead with sufficient space for wheelchair users to enter and exit their vehicles.
2. Accessible Trailhead: A level and paved area at the beginning of the trail, allowing easy access for wheelchair users.
3. Wide and Paved Path: The trail is wide enough and made of a smooth surface, such as asphalt or concrete, to accommodate wheelchair users.
4. Gradual Slopes: The trail has gentle slopes, ensuring wheelchair users can navigate without encountering steep inclines or declines.
5. Rest Areas with Benches: Regularly spaced benches along the trail provide resting spots for wheelchair users.
6. Accessible Restrooms: Restrooms equipped with accessible features, such as wider doors, grab bars, and sufficient space for wheelchair maneuverability.
7. Signage with Braille: Trail signs include Braille text, allowing visually impaired individuals to navigate the trail independently.
8. Handrails and Guardrails: Where necessary, the trail is equipped with handrails and guardrails to provide additional support and safety for wheelchair users.
9. Accessible Picnic Areas: Picnic areas along the trail are designed to accommodate wheelchair users, with accessible tables and seating options.
10. Audio Guides: Audio guides or smartphone apps provide audio descriptions of the trail’s features for visually impaired individuals.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Crane Lake Trail is a moderately difficult trail with some steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking gear and experience.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is located in a mountainous area where temperatures can drop rapidly and storms can occur.
3. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 8 miles long, so plan accordingly and ensure you have enough time and energy to complete the hike.
4. Trail Markings: The trail is well-marked with signs and blazes, but it’s always a good idea to carry a map or GPS device to avoid getting lost.
5. Wildlife Encounters: Be aware of potential encounters with wildlife such as bears, moose, and smaller animals, and take necessary precautions to avoid conflicts.
6. Water Sources: Carry enough water for the duration of the hike, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
7. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike in groups for safety reasons, especially in remote areas where assistance may be limited.
8. First Aid Kit: Carry a well-stocked first aid kit and know basic first aid procedures in case of any injuries or emergencies.
9. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing impact on the environment, and respecting wildlife and vegetation.
10. Emergency Contacts: Carry a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities and park rangers, in case of any emergencies or need for assistance.

Conservation Notes

The Crane Lake Trail is a pristine natural area located in the heart of the Crane Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. This trail is renowned for its exceptional conservation status, as it is carefully managed and protected to preserve its unique ecological features and biodiversity. The conservation efforts in place ensure the sustainability of the trail and its surrounding environment for future generations to enjoy.

The Crane Lake Trail is classified as a protected area, which means that it is legally safeguarded from any activities that may harm its natural resources. This designation ensures that the trail remains free from any significant human disturbances, such as logging or mining, which could potentially disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem. The conservation status of the Crane Lake Trail also prohibits the introduction of non-native species, preventing the invasion of plants or animals that could outcompete or harm the native flora and fauna.

Furthermore, the conservation status of the Crane Lake Trail includes measures to minimize human impact on the area. Visitors are required to follow strict guidelines, such as staying on designated trails, disposing of waste properly, and respecting the wildlife. These regulations aim to prevent habitat degradation, soil erosion, and disturbance to sensitive species. By adhering to these guidelines, visitors contribute to the overall conservation efforts and help maintain the trail’s pristine condition.

In conclusion, the conservation status of the Crane Lake Trail is of utmost importance to protect its natural beauty and ecological integrity. Through careful management and visitor education, this trail remains a haven for diverse plant and animal species, ensuring its long-term sustainability and providing a unique opportunity for people to connect with nature.

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