Before the Brule River flows into Lake Superior, it thrashes through a mass of volcanic rock in a fit of white water fury within Judge Magney State Park (4051 Hwy. 61 E., 218/387-3039).
At Devil’s Kettle Falls a pinnacle splits the river, sending the eastern half on a 50-foot plunge while the western section cuts its way through a seemingly bottomless pothole. It is an awesome and intriguing sight and arguably the best hike on the North Shore . The 2.5-mile round-trip to the falls is steep with a long set of steps near the end.
In total, nine miles of hiking trail, including a stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail, follow the Brule River and Gauthier Creek through the 4,674 acres of forest. Twenty-seven well-spaced campsites ($18) are available during the summer in the shady campground.
The one-of-a-kind Naniboujou Lodge (20 Naniboujou Trl., 218/387-2688, www.naniboujou.com , May–Oct., some weekends in winter, $74–109) is inside the park, on the lake side of the river. It is as much a work of art as a hotel.
It was built in 1928 as an exclusive private club for such luminaries as Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, but thanks to the stock market crash the following year it didn’t last long. The building languished for decades, but has been lovingly restored with modern amenities added—though the lack of phones and TVs in the rooms ensures your stay is truly relaxing.
Even if you aren’t staying here, do yourself a favor and have a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even high tea in the Great Hall dining room (8 a.m.–8:30 p.m. daily, $8–23), which is painted in a kaleidoscope of Cree Indian designs and centered on a massive stone fireplace. Dinner options include cranberry pork tenderloin and seafood pasta; the lunch menu has sandwiches and salads, and take-away box lunches are available.