The Rugged And Remote Hiking Trail In Minnesota That Is Well-Worth The Effort
By Trent Jonas|Published July 19, 2023
Trent Jonas came to Minnesota to attend college - and never left. He's a Twin Cities-based writer with a BA in English and a MFA in creative writing, a Minnesota Master Naturalist, and the proud father of two adult children. With more than a decade of freelance writing experience under his belt, Trent is often out exploring his favorite topics: Minnesota's woods, lakes, and trails. Rhubarb pie is his weakness, so discovering new diners is also a passion.
Of the Northstar State’s long and long-ish footpaths, the 40-mile (or so) Kekekabic Trail – or “the Kek,” as it’s sometimes called – is probably the most rugged and remote trail in Minnesota. But those who make the trek are rewarded handsomely for their efforts.
You will need to obtain a permit – or self-issue a permit between October and April – before hiking the Kek. Visit the Superior National Forest page on the Forest Service website for more information on permits, as well as trail conditions, fire closures, etc. The Kekekabic Trail is, notably, part of the Minnesota section of the North Country National Scenic Trail, which stretches from Vermont to North Dakota. So, it’s kind of a big deal.
Although, at 40-ish miles, it’s shorter than some of the state’s better-known footpaths, like the Border Route or Superior Hiking trails, it is actually more remote. This means you won’t have cell service during much (if any) of your hike. So, you’ll need to download Kekekabic Trail maps onto your device, if you plan to use your phone for navigation. AllTrails+, for example, allows you to both download maps and use the smartphone app for offline navigation. Never rely solely on an electronic device for navigation, though – always bring paper maps with you as backup.
Have you hiked the Kekekabic Trail? Tell us about your experience in the comments!
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