National Geographic picks best Minnesota adventures

Minnesota landed three spots on National Geographic’s 2010 list of best adventures in the country. (Hat tip to Northland News Center in Duluth.)

Lists like these are entirely objective, of course. Still, on the magazine’s map of top adventures, it was nice to see a bunch of dots in Minnesota. (If you click through to the map, take note that the red dots are this year’s “best adventures.” The blue dots are from last year’s list.)

Other Midwestern states didn’t fare too well this year. North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska didn’t get any top adventures on the 2010 list.

Here’s a look at the Minnesota adventures recognized this year, including a blurb from the National Geographic description of the activity.

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Hikers walk along the frozen Lake Superior shore in Gooseberry Falls State Park. (MPR Photo/Nate Minor)

Hike the Superior Trail

The 277-mile (365-kilometer) Superior Hiking Trail, which hugs a ridgeline above the Lake Superior shoreline between Duluth and the Ontario border, is the best long hike in the country between the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail. It covers rugged terrain–bluffs, cliffs, and the spine of the ancient Sawtooth mountain range–as it traces streams and skirts wild rivers, rises to mighty bluffs overlooking the great lake, and plunges into deciduous forests of birch, aspen, and maple interspersed with redolent stands of boreal spruce and balsam.

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A canoe on Sawbill Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. (MPR Photo/Bob Kelleher)

Canoe the Boundary Waters

The Boundary Waters offer some 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers) of canoe routes and 2,000 secluded campsites; in other words, it’s the perfect territory in which to disappear for a while.

arrowhead_135.gifRace the Arrowhead 135

The Arrowhead 135 race is long, difficult, and bitterly cold, but that’s all part of the fun. Right? Undoubtedly some competitors question this line of reasoning while standing at the starting line of this 135-mile (217-kilometer) ultramarathon in International Falls, Minnesota, a town that routinely registers the coldest temperatures in the Lower 48 and is more commonly known as Frostbite Falls.

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