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Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton

Categories: State Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.8/5 based on 120 reviews on the web
Jay Cooke State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, protecting the lower reaches of the St. Louis River. The park is located about 10mi southwest of Duluth and is one of the ten most visited state parks in Minnesota. The western half of the park contains part of a rocky, 13mi gorge. This was a major barrier to Native Americans and early Europeans traveling by canoe, which they bypassed with the challenging Grand Portage of the St. Louis River. The river was a vital link connecting the Mississippi waterways to the west with the Great Lakes to the east.Today Minnesota State Highway 210 runs through Jay Cooke State Park. The 9mi of the route between Carlton and Highway 23—which include the park—are designated the Rushing Rapids Parkway, a state scenic byway.The park is named for Pennsylvania financier Jay Cooke, who had developed a nearby power plant, which is still in use. The Grand Portage trail and three districts of 1930s park structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.HistoryThe first 2350acre of land on which the park is situated were donated to the state by the Saint Louis Power Company in 1915. The park remained generally undeveloped until 1933, when a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established on the site. The CCC camp built a rustic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River just slightly downstream from some torrential rapids and waterfalls. This camp also built a picnic shelter. The camp was disbanded in 1935, but a second camp was set up in 1939. This camp rebuilt the swinging bridge and built the River Inn, which now houses the visitor center. This camp was disbanded in 1942, shortly before the federal government ended the CCC entirely. In 1945 the state began to add more land to the park, eventually giving it its current size of 8818acre.
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  • Took a drive south of Duluth and found this state park. $5 daily pass fee. Gorgeous trails for walking, biking, cross country skiing and running. Fall colors were beautiful as we walked over the swing...  read more »
  • The St. Louis River was up this year due to plentiful rainfall and it was absolutely stunning. The famous swinging bridge is a thrill, but the best view of the river can be had by hiking the trail alo...  read more »
  • This park was our destination for a quick trip into the wilderness. I always saw the sign as I whizzed on by eager to get to Duluth and beyond. This time I was going to check it out! I had limited tim...  read more »
  • Beautiful river side park with accessible trails to gorgeous St. Louis River. Paved bike trails and 50 miles of hiking trails offer a wide variety of routes through the boreal forest with plenty of nooks and crannies for privacy and quiet in an otherwise busy park. Highly recommended.
  • What a great park. Plenty of campsites, even sone cabins. Easy to camp or come for the day. White water rafting, biking, hiking. Great views. Must go
  • I love this place! This year, bring your hiking shoes. 210 further North is closed Due to all the rain. A few trials and roads are washed out so it makes for more walking, but It is so worth it. This year the river is High and very active! The Rangers are always nice! Never a question they cant answer. Worth the travel every time! Camping is available, basic amenities. Make a day of it, if not a few. If you love nature, this place is for you!
  • This is my local state park and go there often to run and hike. So many trail options. Such a beautiful park!
  • Wow is this place beautiful. Curnow trail marathon runs through here, absolutely epic scenes. My friends also got married here overlooking the valley. Absolutely breath taking place to get hitched.
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