Monday, May 15, 2017

Superior National Forest: Echo Lake Campground Trail

After our exploration of the Vermilion Falls area, we were hungry for more. We had noticed a sign for the Echo Lake Campground on the way to the falls and decided to head over there to check it out before going home. We pulled into the campground and quickly discovered that there is a short trail there; the Echo Lake Campground Trail (not to be confused with the Echo Lake Hunter Trails).

We parked the car at a campsite and made our way up the trail.
start of trail
The first section of trail was not very exciting, just a walk in the woods,
curved trail
but as we made our way further along the trail it started to climb up a rock ridge and got much more interesting.
Sierra follows cairns
Like many of the trails in this area, the Echo Lake Campground Trail is marked with piles of rocks called cairns. However, the cairns on this trail are much larger
walking past cairn
and more frequently placed
2 cairns
than the cairns typical on area trails. I guess this trail gets lots of use compared to those others, and the large cairns are a good way to make sure nobody gets lost. We followed cairns past blooming shrubs
and noticed that the blueberry bushes have flowers!
blueberry flowers
There were also violets
and anemone in bloom.

Soon the trail made its way to an exposed rock face with views over the surrounding forest.
nice overlook
We followed the rock face
hikers and view
to the most interesting part of the trail; a large glacial erratic perched on the rock.
glacial erratic
Sierra and I had Noelle take our picture with the large rock and then we moved on. By this point Sierra had found a rock that interested her, with crystals visible on its face. Noelle convinced Sierra to leave the rock in the forest and Sierra obliged by adding it to one of the cairns.
stacking rock on cairn

Besides the wildflowers and large glacial erratic, we saw some wildlife. We saw a squirrel
squirrel in tree
and a snake. 
Our first snake sighting in quite a while. There had been no views of Echo Lake from the hiking trail, so when we arrived back at the car we decided to head over to the lake to check it out. We walked a path down to a swim beach (and surprisingly a playground) and Sierra and I dipped our piggies in the water.
Sierra with piggies in water
We saw some aquatic life in the as well, including a few dragonfly nymphs.
dragonfly larva
After about 20 minutes of playing in the water and sand, it was time to head back to the car for the drive back to International Falls. The day had been a wonderful family adventure!

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