Click the photo above for a panoramic shot of the view from Blueberry Hill. Even when you enlarge the photo, the photo doesn’t do the view justice. On Blueberry Hill you find a 360 view of the upper Gunflint Trail. You catch glimpse of Seagull Lake, Saganaga Lake, the Granite River, and the surrounding granite hills.
Blueberry Hill is located on the Gneiss Lake Trail, a 1.5 mile (one-way) trail which once ran from Chik-Wauk Bay to the Granite River. The trail has been closed since 1999 when it suffered severe damage in the July 4 Blowdown storm. In 2007, the Ham Lake Wildfire burned through the trail area, burning a large amount of the fallen Blowdown trees and making it possible for people to begin considering reopening the Gneiss Lake Trail to hikers.
This winter, the U.S. Forest Service gave the Gunflint Trail Historical Society permission to clear and maintain the Gneiss Lake Trail to Blueberry Hill, which is located about half a mile up the Gneiss Lake Trail. While the Ham Lake Fire did a fairly good job of clearing the trail area, after more than a decade without use, there is a significant amount of work which must be done before the trail can be reopened to the public. Last summer, volunteers ventured down the very obstructed path a couple times with GPS to flag the trail. Now that the path is flagged, the very large project of clearing the trail of dead fall, hazardous trees, and undergrowth can begin.
You can assist with clearing efforts by taking part in this year’s Gunflint Green Up. Held May 3-6, this will be the fifth annual Gunflint Green Up. The Green Up has provided an opportunity for people to gather at the end of the Gunflint Trail to plant trees in the wake of the Ham Lake Wildfire. This year’s Green Up will focus on planting trees along the Gneiss Lake Trail as well as clearing the Gneiss Lake Trail to Blueberry Hill. We’d love to have you lend a helping hand!
We hope to have this new trail open by the start of this summer season. The trail will be accessed off of the existing Big Sag Trail on Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center grounds. The Blueberry Hill trail will add an additional mile of trail to Chik-Wauk’s hiking trail network. We’re excited to have a longer distance trail to offer visitors and, as the name implies, the trail will open up a spot to bring your berry buckets to in July and August.