Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

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Hawkeyeinmich
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Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by Hawkeyeinmich »

We are considering trying to hike the length of the trail from its easternmost point. To do so getting a boat ride from Rock Harbor over to Tobin Harbor to the boat landing near Hidden Lake. So a two-part question: 1) is it a good idea to go there instead of picking up the trail further West 2) if a good idea how does one hire a boat to get there? I appreciate any thoughts you have on this question.
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by Midwest Ed »

Hello and welcome.

There are some people that have done what you are desiring to accomplish, hike the full Greenstone Trail from end to end. Under normal conditions (non-covid) your suspicions of a boat ride are correct. This year the Rock Harbor Lodge has been closed and since they operate all the boats for hire these options were also closed. Everyone is assuming things will be back to normal (or something close) by next season.

The first of two boat options is to hire a water taxi which can be reserved days or weeks ahead of time. Your time slot might be very rarely affected by weather and that would be highly unusual. The other option would be to take their regularly scheduled tour boat called the MV Sandy. It operates a tour to the Hidden Lake dock and then a Ranger guides a hike to Lookout Louise and back. It is very common for tour guests to hike back to Rock Harbor, simply inform the boat Captain or the Ranger. This tour normally operates Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Scheduling the water taxi is much more flexible of course.

Further information about the MV Sandy and the entire park are in the park's newsletter The 2020 Greenstone.
Further information on the water taxi can be found here on the Rock Harbor Lodge website. They are a private contractor to the park service.

Whether or not "it's a good idea" is of course a personal preference or dependent of one's goals. Many people have taken the the extra effort to accomplish it but I haven't seen any data as to its prevalence. Fairly recently there was a trail runner that was out to break the Greenstone Trail speed record and had his father (I think) meet him at Hidden Lake with a canoe (Lookout Louise was his endpoint).

I hope your plans solidify and things come together. Almost any additional questions or just curiosities about The Island can be answered by searching or browsing these forums.
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Ingo
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by Ingo »

Most folks who start at Hidden Lake do it to say they've literally hiked the whole Greenstone trail, or in some cases, all the trails on the island. Other than a great view (potentially) from Lookout Louise, there's nothing particularly distinctive about that section of trail. You also get a similar wide open view of the north side of the island and across to Canada from Mt Franklin--on clear days, of course.

So it's neither a good or bad idea, but how important it is to you vs. the cost/coordination of the transportation. And you always want a back-up plan in case of weather delays or other issues.
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by Bobcat1 »

Or, you can drop your packs at the Mt. Franklin junction and do the "out and Back" to Lookout Louise which is about four-ish miles each way, then carry on down the trail. If the longer distance doesn't bother you, it eliminates logistical hassles. Adds about a half-day to your hiking, but keeps you on foot and in control of things. Different approach than getting boated over, but one to consider as you plan.

Normally I would just suggest a water taxi (the prices are posted if you search a little) or the Hiker Special boat that does a Hidden Lake drop-off run earlier in the morning than the normal tourist excursion to Hidden Lake, a couple days a week during high season.
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by jerry »

The Greenstone from the junction near Mt. Franklin to Lookout Louise was one of my favorite hikes. I did the hike out to the east as the sun was coming up. I've thought about doing it again. jerry (the old guy)
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by torpified »

jerry wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:32 am The Greenstone from the junction near Mt. Franklin to Lookout Louise was one of my favorite hikes. I did the hike out to the east as the sun was coming up. I've thought about doing it again. jerry (the old guy)
I liked it quite well too! Arguably, the views from the Daisy Farm Junction-Mt Franklin Junction stretch are more transporting. But on the easternmost stretch, the isolation, the enticingly faint (but easy enough to follow) treadway, and the sense of coming to the end of the island (although if you're expecting Lookout Louise to jut spikily into Lake Superior, brace yourself for disappointment) are pretty special.

Also if you engineer a start from Hidden Lake Dock, you'll probably camp at Lane Cove---and I'm of the party that regards Lane Cove, and the trail to and fro, as well worth a visit.
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by Midwest Ed »

torpified wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:30 pm.... if you're expecting Lookout Louise to jut spikily into Lake Superior, brace yourself for disappointment.
The view from Lookout Louise is not what it used to be. Many years ago (MANY years :oops:) the view was far less obstructed by vegetation that is now more "grown up". Here's the view in 2013. Unfortunately, I only have memories from earlier. There are several places along the Greenstone Trail (or a short detour north) between Mt. Franklin and Mt Ojibway that are less obstructed.
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Kelly
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by Kelly »

At Three Mile this year, we met a couple who started at Windigo, and on their last full day they day-hiked to Lookout Louise.

It's the same thing, yet I find myself drawn to starting at Hidden Lake dock as well.
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Re: Starting from East end of Greenstone Trail

Post by JerryB »

i took the water taxi to Hidden Lake and hiked to Lane Cove. The taxi is not cheap. I do not recall anything special about this leg of the Greenstone. Lookout Louise is fine, but no where near as nice as Mt. Franklin.
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