Tag Archives: Lodge

Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN

Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN

Itasca State Park is probably the best park in Minnesota outside of the north shore area.  It was established in 1979, which was a great year for beginnings.  It is the location of the headwaters of the Mississippi river.  You can actually walk across the beginning of that river via the rock formation that was created or a wooden plank, or both.  There is a plaque that reads, “Here 1475 ft above the ocean the mighty Mississippi begins to flow on its winding way 2552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Crossing the great Mississippi River

Bicycling is a big thing in this park.  You can rent a bike right in the park.  The entire park is a loop, and a good portion of it is one way, which I think makes bicycling safer for those spinning their way around this park.

Chester Charles II Tour Boat

Another thing that you will want to do is take a boat ride on the Chester Charles II Tour Boat.  It is possible to go fishing on the lake.  We took a boat tour.  It was very informative.  We learned all about the wild rice growing on the lake and the history of the Indian tribes fighting over the land, until the white man came along and won the argument.

Loon, MN state bird

We saw several loons which are the state bird of Minnesota.  Their call sounds more like a wolf’s howl than a bird’s song.  You should never disturb a loon while it is nesting, not even by making its call, because it will abandon the nest, and it will only try twice in a season.  We also saw some bald eagles which were amazing.

Bald Eagle in trees

If you travel around the park there are several places to stop and see some impressive trees.  There is a white pine tree that stands 250 feet tall.

Fire tower at Itasca State Park

There is also a fire tower, Aiton Heights Fire Tower, that you will want to ascend it.  The view at the top is great.  You can see everything from up there.  It is all enclosed so you do not need to worry about falling.  None-the-less the climb can be a bit scary.  It is rather high.  I am afraid of heights so my muscles ached when I get back to the bottom.

View from the top of Aiton Heights Fire Tower

Another stop while visiting Itasca State Park should be Douglas Lodge.  There is a great little restaurant inside.  Try the wild rice soup.  There will probably be a wait, but it is something that you will want to do.  The prices aren’t bad and the food is good.

You can see the entire park in a couple of days despite the fact that there really is a lot to see.  Eat at the Douglas Lodge, take the Chester Charles II boat tour, climb the Aiton Heights Fire Tower, hike some of the trails (apply bug spray), find the cabin made of massive logs, stand on the headwaters of the Mississippi, and if you want, bike around the entire park.  It is a great park and I highly recommend it.  It really is one of the best in Minnesota.

Superior Ridge Resort Motel, Schroeder, MN

Superior Ridge Resort Motel, 8041 MN-61, Schroeder, MN 55613

Schroeder is this tiny little town next to some of the greatest hiking trails or at least superior hiking trails.  It is a very short distance to from Temperance River and there is a nice little pizza and breakfast place you can eat at.

The Superior Ridge Resort Motel is tucked just off the main road.  It is easy to get to, but not noisy.  You rent a room with a bathroom attached.  Our room had a couple of beds, a table to eat at, a microwave, and a dresser.  It literally was a brand new room and it was perfect for us.

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The view out our window was pretty amazing.  Is that Lake Superior?  Yes it it.  There was also a sitting area with a good view just a few steps away as well.

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The internet works well, which is nice for planning your trips around the area.  You can watch DVD’s in your room, they have a selection at the front desk you can borrow.  You can play basketball or badminton.

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Of course you can take in a little hiking with a trail to somewhere in the backyard.  We didn’t go too far on that trail because we didn’t know where it went and there are amazing trails just down the road like Temperance State Park and the Superior Hiking Trial along the Temperance River.

This lodge is close to everything and nothing at the same time.  It is hard to find a restaurant in the area.  There is a great place for breakfast in town and they make a decent pizza.  Grand Marais is reasonably close if you want to take a drive to get a meal or there are a few places nearby.

The resort is setup for both the summer and for your winter activities.  The owners were nice and friendly.

Overall it was a great find and I would definitely stay there again.

Mountain View Lodge, Hill City, SD

Mountain View Lodge, 12654 US-16, Hill City, SD 57745

The best part about Mountain View Lodge is the view.  If you take a moment and look closely you will see what I mean.  OK, I will tell you, it is the Dairy Twist across the street.  Best food in the area.  OK, everything else that you can see is pretty sweet as well.

The lodge offers WiFi which helps when you are trying to plan your trip.  Our room came with two beds and a chair.  We slept well.  I liked the fact that the bed away from the window had shelves on either side for your glasses and phone and such.

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The bathroom was nice.  the sink was outside which makes two people getting ready in the morning so much easier.  The A/C unit was a bit loud, but if that is the worst thing you can find in a place I call it a pretty good place.

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Outside there were chairs so that you could sit and take in the view.  There were also grills available.

The free breakfast in the morning left a lot to be desired.  The had juice and cereal and oatmeal, but I am still not sure how you were supposed to actual make the oatmeal.  We ended up going into Hill City and having a really good breakfast at Hill City Cafe.

We stayed here so that we could drive to Custer State Park and walk to lost cabin, but we got lost and ended up closer to Harney Peak than we intended.

Mountain View Lodge really is a pretty great location.  You can hit a lot of tourist places from this starting point.  The place itself is well maintained.

If you are looking for a place to stay in the black hills area I would highly suggest Mountain View Lodge and Cabins.  Particularly if it is close to anything you plan on specifically doing while in the black hills.  It is close to Mount Rushmore.  You could go check out Jewel Cave.  There are just so many great things to do in the area.  They are all a little drive, but not too far.

Book a room.  You will not be disappointed unless you expect a good breakfast.

Sylvan Lake Lodge

Sylvan Lake Lodge – 13389 US Hwy 16A, Custer, SD 57730

Stay in the Lodge or in one of their cabins just around the corner and you have a great place to start your trip around Sylvan Lake Sylvan Lake and up Harney Peak Harney Peak.  You can also take your chances through driving through Needles Highway, slow down and drive a smaller vehicle.

The front of Sylvan Lake Lodge

Here is their website.

Sylvan Lake Lodge Cabin, picnic table, and fire pit.

We stayed in one of the cabins.  Some cabins are bigger than others.  Ours had 2 beds and a bathroom.  The campfire outside was nice and the fireplace inside was fun to have in the room.  We found some flying insects in the room, but this is a park and bound to happen.

Sylvan Lake Lodge bed, fireplace, and appliances.

The cabins are a very short walk to the lodge and the restaurant.  We ate breakfast and one dinner at the lodge.  The lounge area is really nice.  We took our dinner on the outdoor patio.  There is an opening along the wall of the patio that you can take right off a ledge or down to the front of the building, I love South Dakota.  It is very tread at your own risk.

seating at Sylvan Lake Lodge

Breakfast the lodge can be a little slow, but the food is amazing:  pancakes, try the pancakes.  The bacon was pretty good too.  The restaurant is very high end for South Dakota.  Check out their menu.

This cost is high for South Dakota, but not super expensive.  Really the overall cost was rather reasonable.  Plus you are right there to start your trek up to Harney Peak or around Sylvan Lake.