George Crosby State Park hiking trail on North Shore Minnesota

Designed for backpackers in Minnesota, George Crosby Manitou State Park on the North Shore offers a true wilderness experience. This park offers rugged hiking trails, scenic views, a cascading waterfall, secluded backcountry campsites, kayaking, and more. It’s a rugged hike so come prepared for beauty and possible moose and bear sightings. While George Crosby Manitou State Park lies adjacent to the North Shore’s Highway 61 near Finland, MN, the entrance is off the beaten path a bit. But definitely worth the remote hiking and secluded camping experience at this pack-in, pack-out Minnesota state park.

See my related Minnesota state park series.


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Top things to do at George Crosby Manitou State Park in Finland, MN

Hiking trail at George Crosby State Park on North Shore Minnesota summer

Here are the top 10 things to do at George Crosby Manitou State Park in Finland, Minnesota.

  1. Hike more than 24 miles through a rugged and scenic landscape.
  2. Take the Humpback Trail to the secluded waterfall cascades on Manitou River.
  3. For an easier hike, walk on the mostly flat dirt trail and boardwalk around Benson Lake.
  4. Experience five miles of the Superior Hiking Trail that runs through George Crosby Manitou State Park.
  5. Extend your hike and trek a challenging 8 miles to Caribou Falls State Wayside waterfall.
  6. Kayak, canoe, or paddle on Benson Lake in George Crosby Manitou State Park.
  7. Go backcountry camping at one of the 21 sites – many along the river or lake.
  8. Fish for trout on the Manitou River or Benson Lake.
  9. Watch for wildlife including moose, bears, deer, wolves, and grouse.
  10. Hike or snowshoe in the winter at George Crosby Manitou State Park.

Frequently asked questions about George Crosby Manitou State Park in Finland, Minnesota

Hiking trail at George Crosby State Park on North Shore Minnesota summer boardwalk

Where is George Crosby Manitou State Park located? What is the address for George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Road to George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota on the North Shore

The address for George Crosby Manitou State Park is 7616 County Highway 7, Finland, MN 55603.

George Crosby Manitou State Park is located on the North Shore near Silver Bay and Finland, Minnesota. Take note that looks are deceiving on the map. While George Crosby Manitou State Park looks like it’s right off Highway 61, it does take some time to reach the entrance on the gravel road. Expect at least 30 minutes depending on the weather and road conditions.

Cell phone coverage and GPS are limited so advise downloading directions if you’re directionally challenged like me. Although it is a very scenic route in this wilderness country. Fortunately, I came across an angler who pointed me in the right direction after I left George Crosby Manitou State Park.

When is George Crosby Manitou State Park open?

George Crosby Manitou State Park is open year-round, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Please note that trails are not well maintained at this park in any season. In the winter, you’ll need to park near the park entrance kiosk as the road closer to the trailheads is closed.

Is George Crosby Manitou State Park free? How much is the admission fee at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Admission to George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota only costs $7 per vehicle per day ($5 per motorcycle). That includes unlimited visits to all Minnesota state parks on the same day. I highly recommend an annual pass, which gives you entrance to all Minnesota state parks. See the Minnesota DNR website for more information. And it’s highly recommended to pay online ahead of time. Minnesota state parks are no longer accepting cash self-payment envelopes on site.

Admission to every Minnesota state park is free for all Minnesota state tribal members.

You can also visit George Crosby Manitou State Park on any of the four free state park days in Minnesota. See my related post for this year’s free state park days.

Does George Crosby Manitou State Park have a lake, river, or waterfall?

George Crosby Manitou State Park waterfall cascade on north shore in Minnesota

Yes. George Crosby Manitou State Park features several waterfall cascades on the Manitou River (low, middle, upper falls). Additionally, you can hike, fish, or paddle on Benson Lake.

Frozen waterfall on a frozen and snowy river surrounded by evergreen trees George Crosby Manitou State Park on North Shore Minnesota

Find the best frozen waterfalls in Minnesota!

Can you fish at George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota?

River and trout fishing at George Crosby Manitou State Park on North Shore Minnesota

Yes. Anglers may fish for brown, rainbow, and brook trout as well as splake (hybrid of brook and lake trout) at Manitou River or Benson Lake. Trout stamp and license are required.

Does George Crosby Manitou State Park have a swimming beach?

No. George Crosby Manitou State Park does not have a swimming beach.

Can you boat at George Crosby Manitou State Park? Does George Crosby Manitou State Park offer a boat ramp?

Yes. You can carry in a non-motorized boat and canoe, kayak, and paddle on Lake Benson.

Does George Crosby Manitou State Park have a campground? Can you camp at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Yes. George Crosby Manitou State Park offers secluded carry-in campsites in remote locations. Several sites are located along the Manitou River and Benson Lake. Note that this is a pack-in, pack-out, leave-no-trace wilderness park. Campsite locations range from one-half to 4.5 miles from the parking lot. You will not find a traditional campground nor electric or RV campsites at George Crosby Manitou State Park.

Temperance River State Park offers beautiful and more traditional campsites right next to Lake Superior. Check out my SUV camping experience. I camped at Temperance River State Park my first night. This campground is only 16 miles from George Crosby Manitou State Park.

Where to stay near George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Skylight with a blue sky and evergreen tree tops

If you’re not a camper, then I recommend staying at one of the best resorts located near George Crosby Manitou State Park. The dog-friendly Caribou Highlands Lodge in nearby Lutsen, MN features ski-in, ski-out townhomes. While our stay at Caribou Highlands Lodge was hosted, opinions are always my own.

How big is George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota?

George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota covers 3,320 acres.  

Is George Crosby Manitou State Park buggy? Mosquitos? Ticks?

I wouldn’t rank George Crosby Manitou State Park as one of the buggiest state park. However, I hiked here during the winter and then again in early summer where temps dipped down to 40 degrees. Yes, it can get chilly up on the North Shore even in the summer so wear layers. Also apply your picaridin and Aunt Fanny’s DEET-free mosquito wipes.

How long and how difficult are the hiking trails at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Winter hiking trail at George Crosby State Park North Shore Minnesota

Most of George Crosby Manitou State Park is not for beginner hikers as many of the trails are quite challenging. One of the most challenging hikes we’ve ever taken was our winter trek to the cascade waterfall at George Crosby Manitou State Park. While only 1.6 miles one-way, it took us a few hours to complete this out-and-back trail during the winter. We were exhausted! As a wilderness park by design, trails are not well maintained in any season.

Expect narrow trails in all seasons. Stay on the trail. We found ourselves up to our knees in snow in a couple of places when we slipped off the trail. And there are lots of ravines and drop-offs. You’ll also want to wear crampons or metal spikes in the winter and bring your hiking poles. Much of the steep terrain can get icy in the winter and is pretty rough in the summer.

Rugged hiking trail at George Crosby State Park on North Shore Minnesota

Hiking trails within George Crosby State Park range from 1-mile loops to several miles.You’ll find a variety of trails covering 24 miles at George Crosby Manitou State Park.

Caribou Falls State Wayside waterfall on North Shore Minnesota

This includes 5 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail and an 8-mile trail that leads to the stunning Caribou Falls State Wayside waterfall (pictured).

Are hiking poles needed on the trails at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Hiking trails at George Crosby state park on North Shore Minnesota

I definitely recommend crampons and hiking poles when winter hiking at George Crosby Manitou State Park. And hiking poles come in handy for many of the challenging and rough terrain in other seasons.

Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing trails at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Hiking trail at George Crosby State Park on North Shore Minnesota winter

You can snowshoe on the Benson Lake Trail or Middle Trail in George Crosby Manitou State Park in the winter. Additionally, winter hiking along ungroomed trails is challenging, magical, and rewarding.

Can you snowmobile at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

No. Geoge Crosby Manitou State Park is too rugged and not suitable for snowmobiles.

What are the best views at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Scenic waterfall cascade at George Crosby Manitou State Park on North Shore Minnesota

One of the best views at George Crosby Manitou State Park is the scenic waterfall cascades on Manitou River. And the trail to get there is pretty magical. The steep one-mile Misquah Trail provides stunning views of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains.

Are there bike trails at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

No. George Crosby Manitou State Park does not feature bike trails.

Does George Crosby Manitou State Park feature equestrian trails?

No. George Crosby Manitou State Park does not have horseback trails.

Does George Crosby Manitou State Park have a visitor center? Modern restrooms?

No. George Crosby Manitou State Park does not have a park office nor a visitor center. This wilderness park offers a vault toilet at the trailhead and primitive latrines near the campsites.  

Is George Crosby Manitou State Park dog-friendly?

Yes. Leashed dogs and pets are welcome on George Crosby Manitou State Park hiking trails. All Minnesota state parks welcome dogs except inside buildings. Leashes must be six feet or less.

Are there bears and moose at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Yes. A wilderness area, George Crosby Manitou State Park is home to moose and bears. Also watch for deer, wolves, and grouse.

Is firewood available at George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Shelter at George Crosby State Park North Shore Minnesota

No. Firewood is not for sale at George Crosby Manitou State Park. Although there are fire pits available, it’s recommended to use camp stoves when camping especially during the summer. Pictured: Hiking shelter on North Shore, Minnesota.

You can purchase certified safe-to-move firewood from a nearby gas station or other vendors. But you’ll have to carry it in to the campsites, which are a half-mile to 4.5 miles to the campsite.

Why can’t you bring in your own firewood or collect firewood in the park? To protect Minnesota trees, you can only burn certified wood on MN DNR land. Collection is not allowed in state parks and you may not bring firewood from home. This helps prevent spreading harmful insects and diseases.

How far is George Crosby Manitou State Park from the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP) airport?

George Crosby Manitou State Park is located 231 miles from the Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP) International Airport.

What’s near George Crosby Manitou State Park? Top things to do near George Crosby Manitou State Park?

Lake in the wilderness near George Crosby Manitou State Park

George Crosby Manitou State Park is located near Silver Bay and Finland, Minnesota. Here are the top things to do near George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota.

  • Caribou Falls State Wayside featuring a beautiful waterfall is located 20 miles away. Or you can hike a challenging 8-mile trail from George Crosby Manitou State Park.
  • Lutsen Ski and Summer Resort – the Midwest’s largest ski resort – is located 27 miles north of George Crosby Manitou State Park. See my full review to my hosted visit: Top things to do at Lutsen Ski and Summer Resort including a fun alpine slide and gondola ride. Opinions are always my own.
  • Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is located 13 miles away from George Crosby State Park. This outdoor classroom in Finland, MN caters to students and teachers especially. It’s a popular field trip/overnight experience for K-12 students. They also offer summer camps and an environmental teacher graduate training program.
  • Plan to hike all 66 Minnesota state parks? Then I recommend Tettegouche State Park. One of my favorite places to hike, Tettegouche State Park is only 15 miles south of George Crosby Manitou State Park. Tettegouche offers scenic hiking trails, several waterfalls, and access to Lake Superior shoreline, Shovel Point, and the breathtaking Palisade Head. Drive north 16 miles on the scenic North Shore / Highway 61 and you’ll find Temperance River State Park, which offers stunning views and hiking trails.  
  • If backcountry camping is not your thing, stay at one of the best resorts located near George Crosby Manitou State Park. Caribou Highlands Lodge in nearby Lutsen, MN features ski-in, ski-out townhomes and units. And it’s dog-friendly. While our stay was hosted, opinions are always my own.

When was George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota established?

George Crosby Manitou State Park was established in 1955.

How did George Crosby Manitou State Park get its name?

George Crosby State Park North Shore Minnesota Hiking Trail summer

George Crosby Manitou State Park is named after a mining magnate who donated the land and the Manitou River that runs through it.

Does George Crosby Manitou State Park host deer hunts? Is George Crosby Manitou State Park closed during deer season?

No. George Crosby Manitou State Park does not typically host deer hunts during deer hunting season. However, it’s always a good idea to check. For a complete list of which Minnesota state parks are closed or limited to the public during deer season, see my post: Hiker safety: MN state parks that host deer hunts.

Hiking safety tip during deer season: Wear bright orange when hiking during deer season. I typically avoid hiking at all even if the state park is partially open to non-hunters.

A list of the best Minnesota state parks

Hiking trail at George Crosby Manitou State Park North Shore Minnesota

All Minnesota state parks are the best in my opinion. You can read reviews of each one to create your own list of top-ranked Minnesota state parks: Take the Minnesota state park challenge


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Guide to George Crosby Manitou State Park on North Shore Minnesota

Guide to George Crosby Manitou State Park on North Shore Minnesota
Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

36 comments

  1. If we are looking for a true wilderness experience, George Crosby Manitou State Park on the North Shore in Minnesota looks perfect. Our kids would love this for sure for the backcountry camping. But hiking and seeing waterfalls would be great for us.

  2. Beautiful photos and park. Thanks for sharing! State parks and national parks are my favorite places to visit when traveling.

  3. It’s interesting that there aren’t many beginner friendly hiking trails in George Crosby Manitou State Park! I normally find the easy trails are built first, with the more challenging trails being made once the easy ones are done!

    Anyway- this looks like another gorgeous State Park to add to your collection Karen. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I think it’s because this park was created with the intention of little development. There is an easy boardwalk around the lake at George Crosby Manitou State Park. But you have to hike there to reach it.

    1. Hiking at George Crosby Manitou State Park is challenging and rewarding. One of the best and most beautiful state parks in Minnesota.

  4. Lots of areas to spend in the great outdoors in this state park – I can see myself fishing and camping by a river! You make the place come alive with your photos.

  5. Such a great post with tons of helpful info. I love this state park – hiked the Superior Hiking Trail section that goes through it this year. It’s rugged and quieter than other state parks along the north shore.

  6. I’ve never heard of this state park before reading this article! It looks like an underrated place to visit and I’d love to explore one day! Thanks for sharing all your helpful tips for visiting George Crosby Manitou State Park in Minnesota.

  7. Wow, this looks awesome and I love your photos! I grew up in Michigan so it reminds me of that as well as this summer exploring and hiking in Bansko, Bulgaria which actually looks very similar.

  8. This place looks beautiful and even more so when the ground is covered in snow! What a lovely picture – almost looks like a Christmas card!

  9. I love snowshoeing. It’s a great way to get out in the winter. Nice that George Crosby Manitou State Park has snowshoeing trails.

    1. Snowshoeing is a great workout in the winter. And an awesome way to embrace winter. George Crosby State Park in Minnesota is a great place to explore.

  10. I will gladly hike the rugged trails for views like that! It looks like George Crosby Manitou State Park is beautiful!

  11. Great information on George Crosby Manitou State Park! There is so much to do. I would love to visit and have a nice hike through this area. Thanks for the great guide!

    1. George Crosby Manitou State Park is perfect to get away from it all. A perfect Minnesota destination for camping and hiking in the wilderness.

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