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Geology Up the Trail: Exploring the Ancient History of the Gunflint Trail

Course Overview

Head up the trail and experience the unique and ancient geology of the Gunflint area. We are pleased to partner with Gunflint Lodge to offer students an opportunity to immerse in the rich history of this special area using one of Minnesota's premier wilderness resorts as a home base for exploration. ​ After an introductory presentation on ​Friday night, the class will travel to "End of the Trail" on Saturday morning and begin a traverse through an ancient sequence of rocks exposed along the trail that tell an incredible and awesome story of how North America was assembled. We will start our Saturday exploration viewing 2.6 billion-year-old granites that formed in the eroded roots of an ancient mountain range, then progress into 1.8 billion-year-old iron formation that was deposited on an ancient seabed and later ripped asunder by meteor impact-generated tsunamis and earthquakes. Finally, we will explore intrusions of magma generated 1.1 billion years ago when North America was attempting to split apart. Along the route, we will also observe the effects that mile-thick glaciers had on reshaping the landscape as they repeatedly crept out of Canada over the past 2 million years. On Sunday morning, we will take boats to the east end of Gunflint Lake to view the impressive Bridal Veil waterfall.

A variety of lodging options are available to students at special rates at Gunflint Lodge, though students are welcome to stay wherever they choose during the class. The schedule includes two evening gatherings at Gunflint Lodge as well. Students are responsible for their own lodging reservations and do not have to stay at Gunflint Lodge to participate in this course. Lodging reservations at Gunflint need to be made by calling 1-800-328-3325, and referencing this class, since these room prices are discounted for North House students. Registrations for the North House course can be made online (see below) or by calling North House at 218-387-9762.


Fri, Oct 12th, 2018  –  Sun, Oct 14th, 2018

Course Details

Length: 2½ Days
Skill Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Hours: Day 1: 7-9pm, Day 2: 8am-9pm, Day 3: 8am-1pm
Intergenerational age: na
Registration Cost: $205.00
Includes materials fee of $5.00


You will need the following tools for this class:

  • water bottles 
  • sturdy-soled shoes 
  • rain gear and other suitable outdoor clothing
  • lunch for Day 2, can be ordered through Gunflint Lodge

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call the front office if you have not received it within 24 hours.