At a leisurely pace, this 3 mile trail can be easily hiked in 3 hours. The last portion of the trail parallels the Vermilion River Gorge - a rugged landscape of sheer granite cliffs and rock outcrops.
From Crane Lake to Vermilion River the trail is graveled. Boardwalks cross wet areas. Near the crest of the first hill, the Voyageur's Snowmobile trail branches to the left. Keep right on the gravel trail.
At the river, the trail takes a sharp turn upstream. Here the trail narows and the surface changes from gravel to native material. This is the steepest part of the trail and as you climb, notice the change in vegetation. The aspen/birch forest with its dense understory gives way to an open, parklike grove of red pine.
From atop the red pine knoll you can see the Vermilion River entering Crane Lake, completing its 38 mile journey from Lake Vermilion. As you descend from the red pine knob, you will approach the river and the mouth of the gorge. The trail surface changes to wood chips here.
WARNING: THIS SECTION OF THE TRAIL HAS STEEP CLIFFS NEARBY. HIKERS WITH SMALL CHILDREN SHOULD KEEP THEM IN HAND.
The Vermilion Gorge trailhead is located in the community of Crane Lake 27 miles northeast of Orr, MN. In Crane Lake, keep left and watch for the Voyageurs National Park office.
Trail parking is in the parking lot past the Park office on the left. The trail begins in the back of the parking lot towards the north side. Look for the trailhead sign.