Caribou Highlands Blog

Top 3 Reasons to Ski & Stay at Caribou Highlands this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to really enjoy being with your family and reflect on all that there is to be thankful for. What better place to do that than in the outdoors in beautiful Northern Minnesota? This year, we have everything you need to have a stress free, carefree holiday with your family. So, put down the oven mitt and come stay with us!

1. Caribou Highlands LodgeThanksgiving Feast and Family Weekend Special Offer

 Stay with us and your weekend package will include:

  • 50% off lodging
  • Access to all weekend activities
  • Thanksgiving Buffet
  • Only a two-night minimum

 Moguls Grille & Tap Room – Thanksgiving Buffet

 Gather at Caribou Highlands Lodge’s signature restaurant, Moguls Grille & Tap Room, right on the edge of Moose Mountain in Lutsen, Minnesota for a slope-side dining experience this Thanksgiving. Ski into the restaurant in between runs for a classic meal. Seasonal savory menu highlights include a dockside smoked lake trout spread with French bread, turkey pecan apple pasta, homemade cranberry sauce, Applewood-smoked, chef-carved turkey, honey baked ham, black angus prime rib and more followed by delectable desserts such as the fall cobbler. The buffet will be available from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, please refer to Moguls’ website here or give us call at (218) 663-3020.



skiing at Lutsen Mountains

And to top it off, snow has arrived in the Lusten Moutains, 12 inches in fact! Lutsen Mountains is projecting up to 4 lifts and 15 runs to be open for Thanksgiving weekend and to make that even better …

 2.Lutsen Mountains – Free Ski Friday:

 In accordance with REI’s #OptOutside campaign on Black Friday, Lusten Mountains will be offering Free skiing on November 24, 2017.

 “In 2015 REI stores across the country eschewed the craziness of Black Friday shopping, closed their stores and encouraged employees and customers to #OptOutside. It became a movement and in the past two years, nearly 8 million people spent the day enjoying the outdoors. Now in its third-year #OptOutside is gaining momentum with user-generated content featuring all the great ways and places to spend the day outside. Lutsen Mountains is a proud supporter of the movement and will be offering a Free Ski Day on Friday, November 24th as one of those great ways to spend the day outdoors.”

Lift tickets at Lutsen Mountains will be free on Friday, November 24th for all who register in advance. Non-skiers can register for a free gondola ride to the Summit Chalet and scenic overlooks on Moose Mountain. To participate in the #OptOutside movement, go to, take the pledge, share with the social community and join us for a Free Ski Friday, November 24th. For more information on how to obtain your ticket, please visit their website here.

If skiing isn’t your thing, Caribou Highlands will be offering a number of additional activities:

 3.Thanksgiving Weekend Activities:


  • 4-6pm Cider & Cookies in the Lobby
  • 7pm  Turkey Bingo
  • 8pm Bonfire & S’mores


  • 11-4pm Thanksgiving Buffet
  • at Moguls (included in your package)
  • 8pm Bonfire & S’mores


  • 9am Wreath Making – Learn How & take yours home!
  • 11am Kid’s Holiday Crafts
  • 2-5pm Kid’s Camp (4-12 Years Old) – scavenger hunt, big screen movie, crafts and games!
  • 2-5pm Progressive Sip & Shop Shuttle – we’ll leave the resort at 2pm, and bring you around to the area gift shops, where there will be a holiday cocktail or sipper at each location! Yes, we have kids camp scheduled at this time so you mom’s are free!
  • 8pm Bonfire & S’mores


  • 9am Guided Snowshoe Hike
  • 11am Holiday Crafting for all ages
  • 2-6pm Light Up Lutsen Join us in our little village of downtown Lutsen for food, drinks, Santa and sales. Then, we will light up the whole town at once!
  • 7-8pm Turkey Bingo– fun and prizes for the whole family!
  • 8pm Bonfire & S’mores

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Hiking the Colorful Hills

Before they’re covered with snow, the hills of Lutsen are covered with colorful leaves, and migrating birds pass by overhead. If you are staying at Caribou Highlands, you can see plenty of colorful leaves right around the resort. But, if you would like to be even more immersed in the fall scenery, we have a few hikes we can recommend.

The best hikes are along the Superior Hiking Trail. This trail follows a ridgeline which is mostly in the “northern hardwood-conifer" vegetation zone according to regional experts Chel Anderson and Adelheid Fischer. This ridge is rugged country, with a heavy concentration of maples and other colorful trees.

Within Walking Distance

Hiking east or west from the Poplar River Trailhead is a great way to see the trees and doesn’t even require getting in your car. You just start walking up the hill from Caribou Highlands until the road ends and the trail begins.

Just decide how far you want to hike, head about half that distance either east or west, and then turn around. Both ways have a great concentration of trees, with somewhat different topography.

The eastern direction involves less climbing than the western path and more views of the Poplar River. The path goes close to the river and at times goes above it. It is more of an inland experience, where you often might forget you are so close to Lake Superior.

The western path involves more climbing, but has more spectacular views of Lake Superior. This would be a good place to take a picture of the orange, yellow, and red hills sloping down to the lake, with the blue lake in the background.

If you hike left you can also go about 3.5 miles and take the tram back to the lodge, after enjoying a great view from the top of Moose Mountain. You could also do this course in reverse.

A Short Drive Away

There are many other trailheads you can go to from the lodge, but we will mention a few close ones here. One of the closer ones is the Oberg Mountain Loop.

The trailhead to this loop is about a 10-minute drive from the lodge. The hike up to the peak is a workout, but is well worth it. At the top, you’ll find a spectacular view of the big lake, an inland lake, and several prominent peaks.

The Britton Peak Trailhead is a 20-minute drive from Caribou Highlands. Although a natural feature called “Britton Peak” does not seem to exist on any map we have found, the Britton Peak Trailhead gives you easy access to two peaks high in this zone of fiery trees. The first one, presumably Britton Peak, is right by the parking lot. From the top, you can see a spectacular view of the landscape and the larger and more famous Carlton Peak, which is a 1.5 mile hike from the trailhead.

George H. Crosby Manitou State Park is one of the hidden area gems when it comes to state parks and also fall color hikes. If you park at the Superior Hiking Trail trailhead by Benson Lake you are right in the heart of the land of the maples. From here you can hike east along the ridge that the Superior Hiking Trail is known for and also along the valley of the Manitou River. Here you can enjoy looking down at the rapids surrounded by all these bright colors.




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Hiking from Caribou Highlands: Nearby Superior Hiking Trail Trailheads

Since most people don't hike the entire 200+ mile trail at one time, the “Appalachian Trail of the Midwest” has many trailheads. Often the trail will come down from the inland ridgelines, follow a river valley, and then come back up. Along these rivers are usually waterfalls, and most of the bigger ones have state parks built around them. This is where many trailheads are located.

These various entry and exit points help you to get a taste for the trails meandering through rugged hills, before you go back to the lodge for the night. There are many rivers, lakes, and vantage points, from which you can see America’s largest lake.

Poplar River Trailhead

1 mile from Caribou Highlands

If you walk or drive up to the end of Ski Hill Road, the road turns to gravel and dead ends in the woods. Here in the woods there isa small parking area—the Poplar River Trailhead. From here you can hike east or west.

Whatever direction you choose, you owe it to yourself to stay a few minutes at the bridge to the left. Here you can see the water cascading down a valley between the ski hills and chalets. Then you can choose your direction.

The terrain toward the right is gentler, though still a workout. Here the trail runs parallel to the river, sometimes close and sometimes far. The trail con

tinues about 2.4 miles before it finally turns away from the river.

If you hike left instead, you will face more rugged terrain, with high points and more views of the lake. From the trailhead, you can hike 3.6 miles to Moose Mountain through a maple forest. When you reach Moose Mountain, you can always turn around ortake the easy way back to the lodge on the tram.

Oberg Mountain Loop Trailhead

10 minute drive from Caribou Highlands

From here, you can hike through maple hillsides and then go through the loop, which has at least seven amazing overlooks of Lake Superior, the Sawtooth Mountains, Teal Lake, and Leveaux Mountain.

Britton Peak Trailhead

20 minute drive from Caribou Highlands

This topography near this trailhead reminds us there is more to a mountain than just its height above sea level. The really good mountains have a quality called "freestanding." The best mountains appear to rise straight out of surrounding flat land. Our first mountain ranks well on the freestanding scale and is right by the trailhead.

From the trailhead you basically start walking straight up. After a short but strenuous hike, you reach the top of a bulge in the landscape, a bulge with rocky outcroppings.

If you look toward the lake, the land seems to slope toward the water, except for some other bulges in the land. The biggest bulge will be toward your right—Carlton Peak. It sticks up prominently and is sort of shaped like the mesas of the southwest.

You can reach this peak by walking about 1.5 miles from the same parking lot. The trail then crisscrosses the mountain till you reach the top. From here you can look down on the town of Tofte and look back at where the rivers cut paths through narrow valleys.


Cascade River Highway 61 Wayside

20 minutes from Caribou Highlands

The next three trailheads are similar. They all are at sections of trail where you hike up a river from the lake and often run across waterfalls on the way. The fact that you know the way back will be all downhill may inspire you to hike further before turning around.

There is a parking lot right where the Cascade River flows into Lake Superior. Here you can hike up along the river on a spur of the Superior Hiking Trail. You will see many cascades of flowing white water, and big waterfalls.

While the most popular section is about the first mile, you can actually hike 4.3 miles along the river.

Temperance River Highway 61 Wayside

20 Minute Drive From Caribou Highlands

From here you can also walk from the mouth of the river toward the hills from whence it comes. Along here, the rocky land has quite grudgingly yielded to the water, giving it the smallest of cracks between walls of stone to flow through.

There are spectacular gorges under the Highway 61 bridge. They extend toward the water and look great from the footbridge.

Here you can hike up the river, and see the gorges where it flows through mazes of rock. Most of the best action can be seen within about the first half a mile up the river. Some spectacular views are also on the path toward the lake, including a great vantage point from a footbridge.

Judge Magney State Park Parking Lot

45 minute drive from Caribou Highlands

Starting at this trailhead feels like beginning a quest across a vast land.

When you start out, the Brule River is wide and flowing toward the lake. You can stand on a bridge and see all this flow. As you travel upstream, the river is still wide but you gradually rise high above it as it flows beneath the cliffs.

Eventually, the river becomes rougher and you reach the Upper and Lower Falls. This is where you’ll find Devil's Kettle, a spot where a good bit of the Brule River disappears into some sort of natural drain pipe. Exactly where the water goes baffled scientists for many years. See if you can guess!

The trip to the falls is about 2.5 miles in each direction, with the return hike being much easier.





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