In the last week’s post, i had shared the panorama photo of Caribou Lake and about the White Sky Rock trail in Lutsen. In today’s post, i will detail out yet another trail in Cook County – Oberg Mountain loop, which is part of Sawtooth Mountains in North Shore, Minnesota.
Oberg Mountain trail is a 2.2 mile loop trail with 9 scenic overlooks of spectacular views. Once at the top of the mountain, the trail provides beautiful views of Lake Superior, Oberg lake and Moose Mountain. Especially during fall colors, this is must-visit in Cook County to see the red maple. Initial trail has few moderate switchbacks but once at the top of the mountain, trail is relatively easy and in circular loop. This is a spur trail off the Superior Hiking Trail. The above pic is of the Oberg Lake taken from one of the overlooks of the Oberg Mountain, and captures the transformation of leaves and scenery during the fall season, when the leaves turn colorful.
One interesting recommendation i read in many sites and blog is that you should keep to your right at the fork on the top of mountain and walk the trail in anti-clockwise direction. Except during busy time when there can be more people on the narrow trail, i find no particular reason why we should be hiking in anti-clockwise direction. If your sole purpose is to photograph the Oberg Lake, by all means i would suggest you to go left at the fork in clockwise direction, as the distance is shorter this way. But if your idea is to capture the rising sun or the Lake Superior, you must traverse in anti-clockwise direction. Moreover, it also depends on the time of the day and the situation of the light on that particular day, which is to be considered for photography. Having said this, i did not know all this and hence, walked anti-clockwise direction. Given a chance to reverse the day’s decision, i would have walked clockwise direction that day, for simple reason that i wanted to capture this view first as it was little cloudy that day and light was playing its magic. So, by no means, i wanted to miss this opportunity. Despite this, i was lucky enough to capture this beautiful scenery. So, choose your loop direction – clockwise or anti-clockwise – wisely.
There is a vault toilet at the parking lot and details about both trails – Oberg and Leveaux mountain trails. There are no facilities at the top of mountain. Except one overlook, none of the other overlooks have guard-rails and there are steep cliffs of the mountain. So, use extreme caution.
How to reach: Drive approximately 4.7 miles north of Tofte on Highway 61, North Shore. Turn left at Onion River Road (Forest Road 336), which is marked by a small sign and easy to be missed. Hence, look for the ‘Superior Hiking Trail’ sign on Highway 61 to signal your turn. Drive 2.1 miles on this unpaved road to find the parking lot on the left. Once here, you will find that there are two trails that originate from the parking lot. So, don’t get confused. LeVeaux Mountain Trail, 3.4 miles leading up to the LeVeaux Mountains, starts from the end of the parking lot, farthest from the Onion Road. Whereas Oberg Mountain Trail starts from the opposite side of Onion River Road from the parking lot. Visit here for the map and more information.
When to Visit: Fall is the best season. But views from the overlook will change every season and hence, you can visit it any time of the year. Make sure that if you are visiting it during the crowded fall season, you go early as the parking lot can be pretty full by 9 am. After hiking, when i returned to the parking lot around 10:30 am, cars were parked on both sides of the Onion River Road for about quarter mile, as parking lot was full.
Length of Trail: Loop of 2.2 miles
Have you hiked Oberg Mountain? What was your experience like?