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Laurentian Divide Recreation Area and Lookout Mountain

Geologic Feature
Mary Somnis

This range of hills is part of the Giants Range Batholith, a large body of rock measuring many miles across. Hundreds of thousands of years ago volcanoes darkened the skies of northeastern Minnesota. The batholith is a result of melted volcanic rock that cooled underground. The rock was exposed by thousands of years of uplift and erosion. The various pink, gray and black colors are due to the different minerals that make up the rock types. Feldspar (pink and white), quartz (gray), biotite and hornblende (black) are some of the minerals you may see.

The Laurentian Divide separates the watershed of streams that flow north to the Arctic Ocean from the watershed of streams that flow south through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Streams on the north slope of the divide flow through Canada to Hudson Bay. Streams on the south slope flow into Lake Superior and the Atlantic, or into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.

Recreational Opportunities

The Laurentian Divide Recreation Area serves as a trail head for Lookout Mountain hiking and ski trails, including a half mile fitness trail with exercise stations. Hiking trails lead to the top of Lookout Mountain for a beautiful vista, especially nice for viewing fall colors.

The recreation area offers an information kiosk, picnic tables, grills and restrooms. Groomed cross-country ski trails wind through and around the area. The Laurentian Snowmobile Trail has nearby access (parking and trailhead one quarter mile north). This provides entry onto the Taconite Trail System and more than 2,000 miles of snowmobile trails.


Seasons Accessible

Accessible year-round.


No fees.

Nearby Places