Pictures and Text by John Silliman
Head Naturalist of Gunflint Lodge
Today, we did our first Boat Trip and Hike to Bridal Falls of the year. It was very nice for our 6.5 mile pontoon trip to the trailhead, and our .6 mile hike to the falls. I recommend wearing shoes (not sandals) that can get a little wet and muddy on this trip, since it is hard to keep your feet totally dry. However, the wetter trail means the waterfall will be much more spectacular.
The trail we take roughly follows the river to the falls. Along the way, we saw spectacular flowers like jack-in-the-pulpit, wild strawberries, pin cherries, bunchberries, and lots of interesting ferns.
River next to Bridal Falls
Jack In the Pulpit
These bunchberry flowers are actually a cluster of tiny flower surrounded by white sepals. Each tiny flower puts out a berry.
Shorter Side of Bridal Falls
Tall Side of Bridal Falls
Bridal Falls got its name due to the tallest falls looking like a bridal veil when there is high water conditions. The water cascades onto a bed of broken slate, and appears to be the result of the slate beds being uplifted by magma during the rifting event 1,100,000,000 years ago that also formed the Lake Superior Basin, Sawtooth Mountains, St. Louis River Valley, and St. Croix River Valley.
A few years ago, we had a problem with vandals carving their names on the rocks. Always remember to treat wild areas with respect, and leave them in pristine condition for others to enjoy!
We walked back after viewing the falls, and drove the pontoon back to Gunflint Lodge. There were a few minor whitecaps on the way back, and some sprinkles, but it was still a wonderful day to be outside. I highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting or living in the area. If you are staying at Gunflint Lodge and Outfitters, you can come on this activity or any others we offer over the course of the year.
Pontoon Beach Landing
Bridal Falls Hiking Trail