Sunday, March 20, 2016

Superior Hiking Trail: Beaver Bay to Silver Bay

Trail Review

Superior Hiking Trail (SHT)

Beaver Bay to Silver Bay

4.7 Miles

Section Description: Lake Co. Rd. 4 to Lake Co. Rd. 5

Access and Parking: At Hwy. 61 milepost 51.1 turn left on Lake Co. Rd. 4 and go 0.8 miles to trailhead parking lot on right. Overnight Parking okay.

Facilities on Trailhead: none

Designated Campsites on this Section: two


We hiked this section in late August of 2014. Weather was great on this day with clear skies and warm weather around 65° - 73°. We crossed paths with a few hikers on this section but mainly had the trail to ourselves. Bugs weren't a problem on this section and there were plenty of water sources.

Mile-by-Mile Description

For true and full descriptions of the trails, maps and all information relating to the Superior Hiking Trail please purchase the trail guide at the SHT store here. This is our experience on the trial. 

0.0 (4.7 miles to go) Trail Head Parking Lot

If hiking from the previous section you will pop out on a road and you'll need to cross into the parking lot to pick the trail up. The trail leaves the parking lot on the left headed down a gravel ATV road. After a long 0.5 miles you will cross a metal bridge over Beaver River. Right after the bridge turn right to pick the trail up. We totally missed this since it wasn't labeled and was hard to see in the brush. Continue on the trail to come to the first campsite.

Perfect depth for a good clothing wash or shower

Beautifully set right next to the river
Super flat tent pads made for a great nights sleep

We camped at North Beaver River Campsite and have to say it was our favorite spots on the trail! With the rushing river only feet from the campsite, perfectly flat tent pads, and an ample supply of fire wood; it was perfection. We heard from some other hikers that the close train tracks were loud if a train went through in the middle of the night. We didn't have any issues with this.

The next campsite, South Beaver River, was only a few hundred yards up the trail. This site was set much higher above the river with views of falls but whose tent pads were a little more rough. It still would be a beautiful place to camp.

1.1 (3.6 miles to go) Railroad tracks crossing

The trail follows Betzler Rd. before crossing railroad tracks. The trail will then lead into a thicket on the right. Watch carefully for signs of the trail - it is easy to miss. You will climb up into the ridges again with many great views. Once up in the cliffs, water is in short supply. We would suggest filling up from Beaver River before crossing the tracks.

Watch for signs on this section!

Some weaving through the rocky terrain

2.2 (2.5 miles to go) Golf Course Rd. crossing

This section crosses a few different roads. There is limited signage and labeling whether to go left or right. You may need your map and compass for this section to ensure you are moving the correct directions. You will cross another ATV trail and follow that until you cross the Silver Bay Golf Course Road then will follow an ATV road again for a few hundred feet. Soon you'll start to climb another ridge with open views inland as shown below.

Overlook showing diverse ridgelines
Exposed ridge with no water for a few miles
Watch for blazes on rocks on this section. With limited trees, most blazes are painted on rocks
Be careful on this very steep decent down this ridge

3.2 (1.5 miles to go) View of Silver Bay

Trail will follow along a long ridgeline skirting Lake Superior with many views into the city of Silver Bay. This ridge is called 'Blueberry Ridge" by locals which you can find many blueberry bushes in the warmer months. From this vantage point, you can see the original parking lot where you started. You will descend the ridge into a lower wet area (finally, some water sources!) and will cross first an unnamed trail, then a snowmobile trail before crossing Penn Blvd. After crossing street, main SHT continues straight into woods but the spur trail turns left into Penn Blvd. parking lot to end this 4.7 mile section.

Beautiful views down into Silver Bay

We would rate this section 7 out of 10

Although the section is short, the lack of water and hard climbs proved to be a tough day.  We continued after this section for another 7 miles in high heat. The section was fun in the sense we saw some different topography and had some great views of Lake Superior. We would not recomend this section for any kids under 10. There are a lot of exposed ridgelines with steep drop offs and limited water sources. This would be a great section if you are testing out your ability to do a longer hike or are timing you daily mileage. With it being around 5 miles you would get a true sense of the trail offerings and how your skills match up!

See you on the trail!

Go breathe the wild air!


Monday, September 14, 2015

10 Tips for Hiking the Superior Hiking Trail

Hiking in the North Woods

Hiking is the best way to spend a day. With so many nation wide trails, parks, and beautiful scenery built by mother nature there are many ways to get into the woods. With movies like Wild and A Walk in the Woods there are many newly inspired hikers on the trails. Creeks to Peaks is always excited to see a new face on the trail but want to prepare all the new found backwoods trekkers for what the trail can offer... and take.

Backpacking far from roads and help is no joke, we want to make sure you're ready for a hike and have fun while doing it. Being safe and equipped is always in style.

Minnesota can be ever changing between weather and terrain so read below for 10 tips to help you navigate the great state of the North.

1. Prepare for all weather conditions

It's Minnesota. Weather conditions can change in an instant and it's easy to assume that the weather predictions will be accurate, however, you will soon find they're seldom correct. You'll encounter a wide range of temperatures throughout the day. Even in the hottest parts of the summer you'll still have cool evenings that bring a refreshing end to a wonderful day in the woods!

April - May: Be ready for snow at any point. There may still be tons of it left on the trail and it can be dangerous when hiking on cliff sides. The snow is known to "rot" (melt underneath with the appearance of being a few feet thick) this can trap your leg easily or create a semi avalanche depending on how the snow pack is. The mornings are chilly with temps in the 20s-40s and usually offer frost covered grounds. The afternoons heat up and you can expect a lovely day with temps in the 50s -70s with brilliant sun or a passing shower (that could mean snow shower). The evenings drop off in temperatures quickly as does the sun. Be ready to hunker down and embrace the temps that can range below freezing. Although weather is ever changing it's still a wonderful time to experience the trail!

June - July: In early June you'll still see some of the above temps but not as extreme. Through both these months you'll see beautiful days with highs in the 70's and evenings in the 40s-50s. This is prime hiking weather but you will encounter more than a few rain showers. Read the tips below to prepare for rain and you'll be just fine.

August - October: These months jump all over the place on temperature. One day you'll have a high of 80 and the next it will be a cool 62 degrees with a passing shower. Just pack clothing accordingly and make sure you're ready in October for snow to fly.

In all months on the trail you'll want to make sure you have a solid warming layer, rain gear, and pants that can be multi-use for cold nights or buggy days.

2. Own Decent Rain Gear

A monsoon is known to pop up every few days along the shore. The lake effect downpours can last for hours or even days. There's plenty of coverage along the trail in deep forests but if you choose to hike through the rain be prepared for a wet trip. 

You need to have a solid rain shell, pack cover, and serious waterproof shoes. You won't be just dealing with water leaking into your boots but add in mud and trail waterfalls on the uphills and you'll be in some serious trouble (see Know the Shuttle Times for my experience). Think of the hardest downpour you've ever seen. They usually last for 5-10 minutes before letting up, right? On the North Shore that can last for hours at a time. With Lake Superior giving off a volume of water it's similar to what you can see happen in ocean towns.

It's easy to overlook packing a bulky jacket or not wanting to lug an extra pair of socks on the trail but your feet and your sanity will be happy you did if you get caught in a downpour. 

Don't ever let rain be a deterrent from hiking on the beautiful Superior Hiking Trail. One day of rain won't ruin a once in a lifetime experience. 

Notice wet trails - if you have good gear you'll be fine

3. Waterproof All Your Gear

Said above monsoon can easily soak through your pack. You'll want to make sure the important things are secured in individual plastic bags. Using gallon size zip-lock bags is the easiest way to secure that your phone won't be floating in a pool inside your pack. Pack covers are great but most are water resistant at best (and expensive). Honestly, a garbage bag covering your pack might work better than a costly pack cover. 

Another wonderful thing about using air tight bags is you can get your clothes in them and squeeze the air out. You'll notice the size of your clothing goes down and it's easier to find everything in your pack. 

Despite grumblings from Blake, Maurina insisted on bringing with a small tarp that packed down to nothing. This was their saving grace after their rain fly ripped and it provided shelter when packing up gear. Yes, an extra bulk that most hikers would not endure but it saved our butts more than once. It's an easy safety net of a waterproof system.
Tarp that saved our butts after our rain fly ripped

4. Know the Shuttle Times

There are a few shuttles that run up and down the length of the SHT. These are useful for getting you up and down the North Shore coast and offering a cost effective way to not have to drive the entire thing. 

The shuttle literally saved our lives one time when we had to get off the trail in an emergency. It only came from knowing when the shuttle would make an appearance at what trail head. Cell reception is notoriously spotty along the trail especially the farther north you go. Bring a schedule with and the phone number of the service. This is advised if not necessary.

We had encountered multiple days of sheer downpour on one of our first long distance hikes. Our gear was less than top of line and our knowledge of waterproofing was slim. This caused Maurina to have her boots soak through to the core and she hiked 10+ miles completely saturated. We paused at a trail head parking lot trying to dry out under the tarp we had packed with. Once we stopped moving Maurina went into hypothermia. Being a Lifeguard and having 10 years of water safety, being a swim instructor, and running an entire aquatics facility, she knew what what happening and the only way to stop it. We had to get out of the rain and into dry clothes. 

Lucky for us we knew the shuttle would be making a stop at that exact parking lot within a few hours. We got one brief choppy call out to the shuttle service letting them know we were stranded and sat and waited. We cooked a hot meal and did our best to stay huddled under the tarp. 

We were not alone in getting off the trail that day as the shuttle made many unexpected stops to rescue stranded hikers who were also struggling with the cold rain. It's important to know your options in an emergency and to have the proper gear!

5. Bring Your Own Tinder for Fire Starting

With all this talk of rain let's talk about campfires. Each campsite set by the SHT has a wonderful fire ring, benches, and set tent pads. As a word of caution make sure to stay in your campsite and don't go packing down areas around the campsite that are meant to stay wild. These resources are invaluable to the survival of the SHT and the wilderness that surrounds it.

There are more than a few felled trees in the woods that offer up great firewood. Make sure to only use trees and branches that are already dead and that you are not taking anything away from the forest. You can walk up and down the trail and find piles of good wood to use without removing anything that should stay put.

With so much rain up on the North Shore it can sometimes be hard to find wood that's not soaked through and especially dry tinder to light wet logs. A simple, light, and cost effective way to guarantee a roaring fire is to pack in your own tinder (fire starters not the app!).

We use cotton balls dipped in Vaseline for our tinder. One cotton ball will ignite an entire pile of leaves and sticks in a matter of seconds. It helps get a great base of hot coals going to keep those wet logs steaming until they catch fire. 

Another cheap and solid way is to stuff an empty toilet paper roll with dryer lint. Sounds weird but that sucker will light up in no time and will provide a searing hot way to get a fire going.

It's also advised to know the different ways to light a fire. The Tepee vs Log Cabin debate seems silly but could change the outcome of a fire depending on the type of wood you can find and how wet it is. Do your research.

6. Bring a Decent Camera

This seems obvious but many people have started to rely on their phones for snapping photos. A water damaged phone is lost to the technology gods but a water damaged camera can still have the SIM card saved. Personal experience applies.

The SHT has sweeping vistas and enormous rolling valleys and cliffs that a cell phone won't do justice for. You'll want to immortalize your trip through a flawless lens and show how brilliant the lake looks from the ridgeline.

Also, be honest, how many pictures from your cell phone have you ever printed? These pictures are ones you'll want to keep!

You'd hate to miss the opportune moment because your phone died

7. Tick Season

You'll always encounter bugs in the woods no matter what part of the country you're in. Minnesota has a wide variety of seasons compared to our more southern states and with that comes seasons of bugs. Ticks are a nuisance but are easily warded off. They tend to pop up between mid May - mid June.

Simply spray a coat of permethrin on your clothes and gear to keep those buggers away. You can find this at any sporting goods store and it runs rather cheap. We have been in the woods for days on end an have never had an issue after we coated ourselves in it. Nontoxic and only offensive to ticks it will be your saving grace in the woods.

Another way to securely ward them off is wearing a thin pair of pantyhose under your hiking pants. It sounds hilarious but it actually works. Ticks can't get through the thin netting and will crawl around aimlessly or get off their free ride and find someone else. The same goes for wearing thin dress socks that go up your shins. They will hang onto these instead of your skin.

As always, check yourself often and routinely check your "hot spots" (ankles, groin, hairline). This will eliminate finding an unwanted guest after your hike.

8. Know your water sources 

Water sources change quickly along with the changing seasons. Research the route you're taking and know when you'll be crossing true water sources in the forms of creeks, rivers, and lakes. The later in the year you go, the dryer the sources will be. 

The Spring offers wonders in bountiful springs, creeks, and running water straight from an ice shelf but the mud and cold nights may deter the average hiker. The late season from mid August through October will offer a wider range of temperatures but will also show you what the guide book means by "unreliable water sources". We came across streams that were more of a spittle than a flowing creek. Be prepared to carry extra water through the dry season but you will see changing foliage and a bug free experience.

It's hard to see but this stream is melting directly out of a snow pack. It was freezing cold water and hit the spot on a warm early June day.

9. Know How Many Tent Pads Are Available

The SHT has an awesome layout and is well maintained. Most trails don't have set backwoods campsites but the SHT has campsites every 3 -10 miles on the trail. Inside the guide book (purchase here) they have a very detailed list of what campsites are available per section and inside that description it lists how many tent pads are available. 

Below is an example of how one of the campsites is written in the guide book.
           ▲ Crow Creek Valley Campsite
           Tent Pads: 5
           Water: From small stream, unreliable in dry conditions
           Setting: In maple woods on small tributary of Crow Creek
           Next campsite: 3.4 Miles

It gives you the information of how many tent spaces are there, where to get water, what type of setting the campsite is in, and how far until the next campsite. 

A word of caution: when traveling with large groups you need to be courteous to other solo or small group hikers. Since tent space is limited make sure to share. Also, if you have a large group you may find it difficult to fit into certain sites. Plan accordingly and arrive to sites early so that you don't have to hike an extra 3 -5 miles late in the day due to sites being full.

Example of a campsite - Egg Lake - includes benches, fire ring, and tent pads

10. Know Your Carry In - Carry Out Rules

There are purists who will pack out everything they bring to a site... everything. The SHT has rendered this by providing back woods latrines for the use of hikers. That being said the urge doesn't always strike when you're conveniently at a campsite. Make sure you know what to carry out with you.

We've seen an uptick in the amount of trash left not only in campsites but along the trail as well. We would hate to see the beautiful trail tainted because a couple knuckleheads left their wrappers at a campsite.


Also, if you see wrappers or trash in sites - photograph it, notify the trail office, and pack any of it out that you can. This will help the trail workers who have enough on their plate as it is.


The Superior Hiking Trail has hundreds of miles of wilderness all packed along the shore of Lake Superior. It offers a taste of true wilderness while showing off the wide variety of terrain Minnesota has. This trail is a must experience and has so much to offer in ways of views, camping options, state parks, and fauna.

A perfect place to practice for a longer thru-hike, take a weekend trip, or get your feet wet as a first time hiker. With a strong hiker community and Minnesota-nice always willing to offer a hand, you'll always find yourself welcome in the Great North Woods.

You can purchase this 8 x 10 Printable Here

See you on the Trail!

Go Breathe the Wild Air

- Creeks to Peaks

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

10 Things to Know Before You Go Backpacking

The first time we went backpacking we took on a daunting 60 mile trip over the course of 4 days. We had practiced every weekend for months and upped our mileage with full pack weight so we knew we could handle it. That still didn't prepare me for what was to come.

We practiced in Afton State Park in MN which is on the bluffs of a river. We thought that would be close enough terrain to the North Shore and the Superior Hiking Trail we would be trekking later that summer. I was so very wrong. The terrain of the North Shore was way more challenging and we found our pace slowed significantly through all the ups and downs of the ridge lines and never ending huge climbs. Gaining and dropping thousands of feet over a half mile definitely tested us.

We were as prepared as we could be and came back having learned many lessons and ways to better our bodies and packs.

After now hiking hundreds of miles, we have a good system down. And you will too!

All you have to do is get to the trail!

You Need To Practice

It's just walking right? You wish. We've seen a lot of what we're calling the "Wild" effect in the woods lately. People are inspired by the candid words of Cheryl Strayed and are flocking to the woods to try it too. We're so excited people are falling in love with the outdoors again but we caution that you need to be prepared. We have too many times come across injured hikers or over nighters who forgot vital items and have given away our own so they don't suffer later.

The best thing you can do for yourself and other fellow hikers is to train. Go some where with challenging terrain - a state park or the trail itself - and practice a few miles at a time with your equipment. You will learn quickly how fast you can go, how freaking heavy your pack is (and you'll start cutting items mentally before you get home), and how hungry/thirsty you are.

If you catalog these items you'll have a great feeling on how your first backpacking trip will go. It's not only physically preparing yourself and getting in shape but getting a feel for your equipment as well. We advise you to set up your tent in the day and nighttime, to use your water filter before hand, and test your rain gear. You'll also save yourself the blunder of being miles from the trail and having the realization you forgot toilet paper.

Do Your Research 

All trails are not created equal. You may find terrain only cities apart to be completely different topographically. You could go from flat hot prairie to deep bug infested woods to open face cliffs and vertical drops. The temperature can change in an instant as can those far off rain clouds.

Beyond the terrain it's important to know how many miles apart campsites, parks, and (if you're doing long distance) cities are apart. This could greatly change the layout of your trip. Also, knowing where roads cross the trail is very important in case of an emergency. 

Guide books are there for a reason so utilize them best you can. Copy or tear out the pages you need if you're worried about weight but hold onto the important parts that could save your life.

Know Your Limits

Even fit runners don't do marathons with 40 pound packs on; and if they do, they're Marines. You need to know how physically fit you are and how many miles you can sanely go with the weight of a second grade child strapped to you. At first saying 10 miles isn't bad, right? Sure anyone can walk 10 miles in 10 hours - that's a snail pace! That's not taking into account the elevation you'll be gaining and dropping, stopping to filter water, eat, pee, or take a picture break. Also, overall exhaustion. Carrying all that extra weight is hard on your body - your knees will hurt, your feet will ache, your shoulders will be screaming but if you know when far is far enough then you can take your pack off and enjoy the rest of the day at camp. 

Don't Buy Everything At Once

If it's your first time hiking you don't need to buy everything off checklists you read online. The upfront cost would be thousands. That type of investment is tough to make especially for a hobby like hiking - which you might hate. Borrow anything you can from friends and pick up some low cost investment items that you can't borrow.

REI has an awesome section of used items that didn't work out for someone else. Maurina's pack, sleeping bag, and Blake's jacket are from the discounted section. They all work great and were half the cost. 

There's also many programs where you can rent equipment - REI having one of the best. You can rent items for a week to test the quality or to see if you even like the sport and return when you're done. Low investment and no hassle in trying to find everything on the rack.

You Will Over Pack

Don't be hard on yourself. It doesn't matter how many trial runs you make - you will come up with a list of things you wish you didn't pack. We started to call these gremlins - things you don't want but can't throw away on the trail. Everyone will have different priorities so you will need to find out for yourself what you want to cut. 

As Blake always says, "Ounces equal pounds, pounds equal pain." 

For us, we couldn't believe we brought a book with. That light book felt like an entire library after 20+ miles. We never read when we got into camp because we were too busy setting up, cooking dinner, and falling face first into our sleeping bags.

There's plenty of other items we cut: see the list here.

Bigfoot Doesn't Care What You Look Like

Sure that tank top would make a super cute Instagram pic but when your chaffing from the cotton material 2 miles in you'll rethink your choice. The clothes you wear can make or break your trip. With a pack constantly pressed to your body you won't realize how hot you will get even if the temps are low. 

Light weight moisture wicking materials are your best choice. We always opt for clothes you can wash in a river or lake that will dry within an hour or two. Check with any local retailer for what fits you best. Wool socks will make your feet the most happy - we like Smartwool and Fits socks.

You'll want to bring items that can cross over - sleep in one thing that can be worn as a warming layer. You also want to have solid rain gear - that can make all the difference when on the trail and in a maelstrom. 

When You Gotta Go...

The outdoors is your bathroom. Some trails have wonderfully placed latrines along the trail that make it a little more "civilized" while backpacking but most trails don't offer this luxury. You need to be prepared that you'll be eating some weird stuff that your body might not be used to - freeze dried meals, buckets of trail mix, powdered coffee or drink mix, etc. Pair that with intense exercise and your body might need some relief when the moment is less than perfect. Think no trees in a prairie with your hiking partner too close for comfort. Be prepared to bury your own waste or pack it out if you're a faithful Leave No Trace follower. Also be aware of what leaving behind toilet paper will do to the environment so please pack that out as well. 

Plastic bags, a trowel, and hand sanitizer is the way to master this art. 

You'll Never Have Gone As Far As you Think You Have

You'll come over a ridge and look back thinking, "Wow. I was just standing over there." You'll then check your map and notice you haven't even gone a quarter mile. *Que eye roll and deep sigh* Don't fret! It's all apart of the experience. The miles on the map don't matter as long as your focus is on the trail. Take everything in (especially being away from your work email). The trail is meant to challenge you mentally and physically and the more you look at the nature around you the more you will feel apart of it.

Own Good Shoes

If you're going to make a hefty investment this one is it. Tennis shoes won't last 5 miles until blisters set in. You need a good pair of hiking boots or trail runners built for tough terrain. This is not a place you want to skimp on. Being deep in the woods or high up in a mountain is the last place you want the sole of your shoe to break or for you to step in mud and be soaked the rest of the trip (which also will add fire to those blisters I mentioned.)

There are tons of places that sell trail worthy shoes. You can check your local outfitter like REI or a local shop or even see what Dicks or Sport's Authority has to offer. Read reviews online before you purchase - this will be your best resource with any gear purchase.

Keep Positive - Even On The Uphills

This is fun, remember? Yes that last hill will be burned into your memory for all eternity but look at the view ahead of you! It's all about the give and take. The trail is organic and alive and you need to respect that fact. Deep breathe the smells of the wild as you take yourself back to nature.

See You on the Trail!

Go Breathe the Wild Air 

- Creeks to Peaks

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Border Route Trail: Hiking Between Countries

65 Miles on the Border of Minnesota and Canada

The Border Route Trail

We're planning on hiking from Lutsen to Canada on the Superior Hiking Trail and attended the Midwest Mountaineering Expo for more info. The Border Route Trail booth was right next door so we got as much information as we could. This trail traverses through some of the most beautiful terrain the Midwest has to offer. It goes right through the Boundary Waters while giving stunning views into Canada most of the way. It winds along the Pigeon River on the Minnesota side of the border. With abundant water sources and huge cliff climbs this trail offers a true look into what the great North Woods has to offer.

Trail Synopsis

Synopsis from the Border Route Trail:

The Border Route Trail is a 65-mile long hiking trail that crosses the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in the far northeast corner of Minnesota (Arrowhead) and follows the international border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. It connects with the Superior Hiking Trail on its eastern terminus and with the Kekekabic Trail on its western end at the Gunflint Trail (Cook Cty. Road 12). The closest towns are Grand Marais (beginning of Gunflint Trail, County Rd 12) and Hovland (beginning of Arrowhead Trail, County Road 16). In addition to the eastern and western termini, the Border Route Trail can be accessed through several spur and connecting trails, allowing for hiking trips ranging from short day-hikes to multiday backpacking expeditions. On these pages, you will find information for planning your hiking trip on the Border Route Trail: BWCA regulations, outfitters, trail heads and announcements of upcoming trail clearing events on the Border Route Trail.

The trail was planned and built in the early 1970's by the Minnesota Rovers Outing Club with the help of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service. It was the first long-distance, wilderness backpacking and hiking trail in Minnesota planned and constructed by volunteers. The Border Route Trail Association was incorporated in 2004 to coordinate the maintenance and increase public awareness of the trail. The trail continues to exist by the efforts of volunteers and our valued partner relationships.



There are 17 campsites along the trail that boast 3-5 tent pads at each site. Note: many of these sites were built for use of canoeists so they will be close to water and well maintained.

Guide Books

You can purchase the guide book at Midwest Mountaineering, Latitudes Map & Travel, Superior Hiking Trail Association Offices, Heston's Resort, Lake Superior Trading Post or order it from the border route website and mail your order in. You may also find the book in many outfitter and lodges along the trail. It is always recommended that you bring with paper maps that show the topography of the land you will be hiking. These are available that many of the outfitters listed above.


Also available on the Border Route Trail's website are GPS coordinates using Google maps. These are fantastic in mapping out your route and distance between campsites. We suggest downloading these to your phone to use while on the trail.

Regulations and Permits

Make sure to check the website and with BWCA for any rules and permits needed while on the trail. There are areas that require a permit if staying within a range of BWCA - these will cost $16 per adult but will cover you for an entire year. For more information check here.


This trail is perfect for anyone who wants to explore the North Woods with a full taste of wilderness. the trail is notoriously empty of other hikers and will give you the full idea of what early explores went through when traversing our great country for the first time. Divulge your inner adventurer and go back in time to a more wild America.

See you on the trail!

Go Breathe the Wild Air

- Creeks to Peaks

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Top 15 Adventure Movies on Netflix

Always Keep Exploring

It's dead winter here in the Midwest and we were looking for some inspiration to gear us up for our spring and summer hikes. We love adventure books, movies, or any stories of excitement beyond the beige walls of a cubicle.

This list has every type of escapade you could seek in the outdoors. We didn't want to forget any good ones so we dug deep into Netflix to find the best of the best. After hours of watching and a serious adventure high, here is our top 15 list of what you can stream online from to get your adrenaline fix.

Be prepared to sell all your possessions and be a citizen of the world.

1. Mile... Mile & a Half (2013)

Netflix synopsis: A group of artists leave their daily lives behind to hike California's John Muir Trail, the 219-mile stretch from Yosemite to Mount Whitney.

Our synopsis: A thru-hike of the John Muir Trail. This was number one because of the cinematography and hard work put into this movie. They are artists and filmed the whole movie themselves while backpacking. We can imagine the struggle of having to stop, unload your heavy pack, set up equipment, and get the perfect shot while still getting miles in for the day. They did a fantastic job and anyone wanting to see nature while understanding the perils of a thru-hiker will enjoy this one.

2. Explores: Adventures of the Century (2013-2014)

Netflix synopsis: Accomplished adventure-seekers share their personal stories of endurance and will as they embark on perilous journeys over land and sea.

Our synopsis: This is a great series showcasing some amazing places and the adventure seekers willing to go there. These are stories about kayakers, swimmers, base jumpers, and more all through their adrenaline fueled adventures. Great to watch with families.

3. Departures (2008-2009)

Netfilx synopsis: This travel series follows friends Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach around the world, chronicling their adventures and the challenges they encounter.

Our synopsis: We loved watching this series and definitely got the travel bug seeing the places they went. These fun guys took a year off their life and traveled all over the world experiencing different cultures and lifestyles. They meet people from all walks of life and dive deep to understand other society's traditions and customs. Expert camera use and moments captured. Extremely interesting and educational!

4. 180° South (2010)

Netflix synopsis: A band of bliss-seeking surfer-mountaineers sets out -- in 2007, by boat -- on a journey to Patagonia, South America, in this adventure documentary.

Our synopsis: A group sets out to relive an adventure taken 50 years ago across the ocean to Patagonia. They are stranded at Easter Island in order to fix some serious issues on their boat and learn about the culture on the most remote inhabited island in the world. They continue their trip to the mountains in Patagonia where they attempt to summit one of the most isolated mountains in the country. They learned some serious life lessons about the impact of man-kind and the use of resources as they see the impact of humans when they take over wilderness. Some soul searching and thought provoking ideas about life and what you do with it.

5. The Summit (2012)

Netflix synopsis: A filmmaker explores what went wrong when 11 people died on their way up the infamous K2, the deadliest day in modern mountaineering history.

Our synopsis: This movie is intense and filmed with an expert eye. It recreates an accident that happened on the second highest peak in the world. K2 is  is far more difficult to summit than Everest and shows it's true colors when it claims the lives of expert mountaineers on their quest to reach the top of the world.

6. Chasing Shackleton (2014)

Netflix Synopsis: Modern-day explorers re-create Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 Antarctic expedition, during which the crew became shipwrecked and stranded for 500 days.

Our synopsis: This is one of our favorite stories - the adventures of Shackleton. This is 3 episodes long and follows a group that steps into Shackleton's shoes to traverse the same sea and land his crew did 100 years ago. They replicated the adventure down to the tools and boat they sailed in to show what perils this group of men went through in a quest of exploration.

7. Halo Effect (2011)

Netflix synopsis: With eye-popping clips of kayaking, off-roading and other extreme sports, this documentary reveals what happens when something goes wrong.

Our synopsis: Friends travel to Iceland and Norway in search of huge untouched waterfalls and rapids to test their skills while kayaking. Their goal dangles before them as they go over falls that have never been run and rapids where people have lost their lives. This adventure is nail biting and worth the watch. We definitely challenged our own wherewithal after watching these guys take on some of the most treacherous water in the world.

8. Desert Runners (2013)

Netflix synopsis: Testing themselves in the most brutal conditions on Earth, a diverse collection of ultra-marathon runners undertake four 250K runs in a single year.

Our synopsis: You'll want to drink a gallon of water while you watch these powerful runners take on the elements of the desert. Running marathons is hard enough but when you add in the passion of these runners and the great film making, you've got a thrilling story. Doesn't make us want to run a marathon but it does make us feel guilty for watching this while on the couch! 

9. Everest (1998)

Netflix synopsis: Noted climber David Breashears leads an IMAX crew to the top of the Mount Everest, providing the first 360-degree view from Earth's highest peak.

Our synopsis: The best view you could have is from an IMAX team and they take you all the way to the summit with these jaw-dropping vistas. Intense realization of what it really takes to climb Everest. Not for the faint of heart.

10. Chasing Ice (2012)

Netflix synopsis: Environmental photographer James Balog deploys time-lapse cameras to capture a multiyear record of the world's changing glaciers.

Our synopsis: A documentary about the way our planets glaciers are changing. They show time passing and the effects that has on our worlds largest fresh water source. Sweeping views and crazy camera views into the depths of ice give you the feeling of being on the glacier with the team.

11. The Way (2010)

Netflix synopsis: When his son dies while hiking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in the Pyrenees, a grieving father decides to complete the 500-mile trek to Spain.

Our synopsis: An emotional journey of a father who decides to pick up the pieces his son left behind after his untimely death. This documentary follows him as he traverses his sons footsteps and makes some amazing spiritual discoveries about himself and the life he leads. Great for a soul booster.

12. Into the Cold: A Journey to the Soul (2010)

Netflix synopsis: An environmental activist embarks on a grueling two-month trek on foot to the North Pole to commemorate Adm. Robert Peary's 1909 expedition.

Our synopsis: In the most desolate land on the planet this activist decides to follow Peary's path to the North Pole. An unimaginable exploration of the worlds toughest terrain gives light to what the early explores went through in the name of adventure. Thrilling and freezing this film definitely makes our list.

13. Where the Trail Ends (2012)

Netflix synopsis: In this eye-popping sports documentary, high-speed cameras follow a team of top mountain bikers as they go in search of the Earth's toughest terrain.

Our synopsis: You'll feel as if you're strapped to the back of this bike as you barrel down mountain sides in a high speed chase for thrills. Mountain bikers always seem to keep the adrenaline pumping and this film did not disappoint. Great movie with plenty of views and excitement.

14. Into the Mind (2013)

Netflix synopsis: With stunning cinematography, this dazzling feature invites viewers into the mind of a common skier as he attempts to scale the ultimate mountain.

Our synopsis: A recent add for Netflix this movie captures what it means to be a skier. With threats from mother nature at every turn it's a wonder how these skiers keep going back to the mountains.

15. Encounters at the End of the World

Netflix synopsis: Take a wild and woolly journey to the South Pole, from the National Science Foundation's headquarters to some of Antarctica's most dangerous terrain.

Our synopsis: With so many stories about explores and extreme sports it's easy to forget that a harsh barren world exists beyond the borders of our lives. This story brings you deep into the ice and snow of South Pole where beauty meets danger in this epic expiration of this severe terrain.

Other Notable Adventure Movies NOT Streaming on Netflix

1. Wild
2. Into the Wild
3.127 Hours
4. All is Lost
5. Southbounders
6. Between home, Odyssey of an Unusual Sea Bandit
7. Touching the Void
8. Mt. St. Elias 
9.K2 the Ultimate High
10. Vertical Limit  

Now get off the couch and go explore! 

See you on the trail!

Go breathe the wild air