Sawbill Trail

The Sawbill Trail runs for about 23 miles from Tofte on Lake Superior to Sawbill Lake, one of the entry points into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

For the first several miles, it roughly follows the east side of the Temperance River and offers some breathtaking vistas of the Temperance River valley. It passes trailheads for Carlton and Britton peaks, among others.

The Sawbill intersects with several very popular Natl Forest roads including the Six Hundred (Natl Forest Road 166), Honeymoon Trail (Natl Forest Rd 164) and The Grade (Natl Forest Rd 170) which run through picturesque forest areas populated with dark conifers as well as light birch, aspen, maples, and others, making for gorgeous contrasts in color, particularly in the fall.

The Six Hundred is one of (if not THE) premiere fall colors roads in the state - maybe even in the country. It is a narrow, up-and-down, winding road that goes from the Sawbill Trail to Cramer Road (Lake County Road 7) intersecting with Temperance Road (Natl Forest Road 343) at about the halfway point. Watch for Heartbreak Hill; spring, summer and fall, this part of the road is beautiful. In winter, though, watch out. There are reasons why this was named Heartbreak Hill!

The Honeymoon Trail is another winding, narrow road that runs between the Sawbill and Caribou trails for about 10 miles. This is another premiere fall colors road.

The Grade (Natl Forest Road 170) is sort of the Superior National Forest's superhighway, running for over 36 miles all the way from Cramer Road to Ball Club Road (Natl Forest Road 323) right next to Two Island Lake, not far from Grand Marais. Note that Google Maps plots the road numbers wrong. It marks the southwestern end as FR 170, but after it goes by Temperance Road it calls it FR 165 and after it goes by Eagle Mountain it calls it FR 153. The US Forest Service marks the whole thing as FR 170, now, and has for many years.

You are welcome to browse through this group and look at photos of the Sawbill Trail and some of its "tributaries." Please feel free to join the group and share some of your own photos, too.

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