The Caribou Rock Hiking trail starts just outside of the campground where we were staying. It was so close in fact that Hungry Jack Lodge & Campground put a little trail from the campground to the trailhead! I figured I wouldn’t make the full almost 3.5 miles to where the trail connects to the Border Route Trail, but I figured I would get closer than I did! I also had a time limit that ended my run earlier than I would have liked. On the off chance I made it to the Border Route trail I was hoping to do the short extension to see Rose Falls, which we would later come back to via canoe. Leaving the trailhead the trail is pretty easy to follow as it climbs to an overlook of West Bearskin Lake.
There is a nice overlook to see West Bearskin Lake, it would be a nice hike. The trail continues following between some lakes and pops out with this nice view of Moss Lake before turning inland. The trail has some steep drops and at one point I was running downhill through a bunch of brush and couldn’t really see the tread of the trail. Some parts were rocky, not quite Superior Hiking Trail rocky, but pretty close. And a few times you needed to hold on to climb down and back up! I crossed a stream on rocks and eventually ran through the portage between West Bearskin Lake and Duncan Lake.
I didn’t see any wildlife on the trail unfortunately. Shortly after crossing the portage and after climbing up a hill I got to an intersection without any signs. I was already past my turn around point time so I knew I shouldn’t really do any more. I went a short bit towards the left (which would have been towards the falls) and realized that I wasn’t actually going to make it. So I turned around – this was just over 2 miles in but definitely over 45 minutes.
The run back felt faster, I didn’t stop as much for pictures which helped. But I think knowing the landmarks helped too. Running 20 minute pace isn’t ideal, but it was a fun run!
4 miles in 1:17:58 with 1,200 feet elevation gain!
Here are a few pictures of the trail!
After breakfast we got ready to go for our canoe ride. We were planning to go to Rose Falls and to see Canada! The 5 of us loaded up into the canoe and made our way out on Hungry Jack Lake. It was super easy to find the first portage and it was relatively short so we didn’t have any problems getting into West Bearskin Lake.
I should have taken a picture of the map as we had trouble finding the portage into Duncan Lake. We were actually really close at one point, but I thought we had missed it. We paddled along the shore and found a campsite and then ran into some people who were staying at Hungry Jack that we had met and they helped us get to the portage and gave us some pointers for the rest of our trip. The portage into Duncan Lake actually brought us officially into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This was a little longer portage. Once we got into Duncan Lake it was easy to find the spot for Stairway Portage/Rose Falls.
I thought it might be fun to portage the canoe and paddle into Canada, but I’m glad we didn’t. It would have been a long portage with a ton of steps! It was a good little hike though and we had lunch next to the falls. After lunch we climbed the stairs down to Rose Lake and played along the edge and gazed at the far shore which was Canada. Rose Falls was pretty too. After playing around for awhile we climbed back up and over and headed home. The kids wanted to help paddle and they did all the way back.
We didn’t have any trouble finding the portages on the way back and had a nice calm paddle. It was a fun day on the water! I estimated we paddled about 8 miles for the day.