Laurentian Divide Recreation Area – Lookout Mountain
The Laurentian Divide runs along the crest of low, rocky hills and divides the Red River and Rainy River basins from the Minnesota River and Lake Superior basins. Streams on the north slope of the divide flow through Canada to Hudson Bay. On the south side of the divide, streams flow south to Lake Superior or on to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Laurentian Divide Recreation Area serves as a trail head for Lookout Mountain hiking and ski trails, including a half mile fitness trail with seven exercise stations. The recreation area offers picnic tables, grills and restrooms. Sixteen kilometers of scenic groomed cross-country trails wind through and around the Divide. The Laurentian Snowmobile Trail has nearby access (one quarter mile north) and provides entry onto the Taconite Trail System and access to more than 2,000 miles of trails. Eight kilometers of back country hiking trails lead you to the top of Lookout Mountain for an unbelievable vista, especially in the fall. For more information, contact the Laurentian Ranger District, 218-229-8800.
- Picnic tables and grills
- Information kiosk
- Crest of the Laurentian Divide
- 16 kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails
- Half-mile fitness trail with exercise stations
- Scenic overlooks
- Adirondack shelter
- Great fall color viewing and hiking
- 8 kilometers of great hiking trails
Location: The Laurentian Divide Recreation Area and Trailhead is four miles north of Virginia, MN along the northbound lane of Highway 53/169.
Wildlife & Birding: View eagles, migrating hawks, owls, deer, fox and snowshoe hare.
Geology: The Laurentian Divide runs along the crest of low, rocky hills and divides the Red River and Rainy River basins from the Minnesota River and Lake Superior basins. Streams on the north slope of the divide flow through Canada to Hudson Bay and on to the Arctic Ocean. On the opposite side of the divide, streams flow south to Lake Superior and the Atlantic Ocean or the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.
Picnicking: The picnic area and information kiosk were built by the U.S. Forest Service and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The area is accessible to all persons. There are four picnic sites, grills, interpretive signs and restrooms.
Trails: This area serves as the trailhead for the Lookout Mountain Hiking and Ski Trails including a half-mile Fitness Trail with seven exercise stations. The ski trail is groomed by volunteers and is funded for maintenance as a Grant-in-Aid trail requiring a ski pass. This is also a popular hiking trail (check the maps for wet areas to avoid). A snowmobile parking lot is located 1/4 mile north of this trailhead. If that lot is full, snowmobilers are welcome to park at the Divide but must access the Laurentian Snowmobile Trail by driving north alongside Highway 53.
Click here to receive a free Laurentian Divide Brochure.
Click here for a free cross-country skiing brochure.
Laurentian Divide Recreation Area
Laurentian Ranger District
318 Forestry Road
Aurora, MN 55705