December 22, 2017
When you visit Grand Marais and stay at East Bay Suites, the Cook County Snowmobile Club has your back. They work to make it easy for you to get deep into the country surrounded by thick trees frosted with white. Whenever you decide you want to go snowmobiling, their trails are ready to go.
“We maintain the Gunflint Trail system,” said Samantha Wallner, Treasurer of the Cook County Snowmobile Club. “We maintain all the trails and then keep up on them during the winter.”
Though the club is sometimes contracted to groom the state trail, they mostly take care of their own trails, which start just south of Devil Track Lake. If you get on the trail by Steve’s Sports, that is the state trail. After a few miles you can make a right and get onto the Gunflint system. From here you can ride on the trails the club maintains for about 60 miles along the Gunflint Trail. They also maintain a section that goes east all the way to the Grand Portage Reservation.
The deep woods makes these trails what they are.
“On the Range or in Wisconsin, a lot of times you are on railroad tracks or wide open trails,” said Samantha. “We have a lot of scenery and woods. It is different atmosphere being in the beauty of the area.”
The Cook County Snowmobile club also hosts events for fun and to raise money.
“We have our kick-off and we do a couple of drag races throughout the year,” said Samantha. We do a truck derby and our fun run, to get some extra money to groom.”
This season on January 27th they will be having the drag race on Devil Track Lake. On February 3rd they are hosting a fun run.
The fun run consists of visiting six backwoods businesses and collecting stamps. For the fun run any vehicle will work. While many go by snowmobile, some go by car and some have even gone by plane. When the participants get back to the groomer shack, they are dealt a card for each stop and the ones with the highest and lowest hands win prizes.
They then have the Hungry Jack Drag Races on February 17th and on March 4th they have the Trout Derby. The Trout Derby consists of a fishing contest and then a BBQ and prize drawing.
They also help low income kids with things like helmets and they have a scholarship for graduating seniors.
Whether you are going on the club’s trail or not, the club encourages you to get out on the snow. There are so many places to go and they are all great.
“Going up the Gunflint trail is pretty nice and the one to Grand Portage is nice,” said Samantha. “One trail which passes through Lutsen goes through lots of maple trees. Every trail is going to have its advantages.”
The state trail gets you close to Lutsen and from here you can get on trails maintained by the Lutsen Trailbreakers Snowmobile Club. Clubs like them and the Cook County Snowmobile Clubs maintain trails across the state. If you get far enough south, stop for lunch or dinner at Ledge Rock Grille or the Splashing Rock Restaurant.
For the most up-to-date information about trail conditions you can go to the Cook County Snowmobile Club’s Facebook page. They are there to help when you decide you want some adventure in the north woods.