Centennial Trail

The Centennial Trail is a 3.3 mile Moderate trail.   
This trail was developed to honor the Superior National Forest’s 100th anniversary in 2009.  It explores one small story in the Forest’s history, that of the Port Arthur, Duluth, and Western Railroad and the ill-fated Paulsen Mine.  Hikers will be able to see the original mine test pits from the 1890’s and walk the rock cuts and rock trestles created for the railroad.  A large wooden trestle no longer stands in a deep gorge, but the view from the location of the trestle is still breathtaking.  Trailside ‘station stops’ and a guide booklet will help you discover the history of the area.  Markers as waypoints and the trail path are available in downloadable GPS format for those who want to explore the 19th century with 21st century technology.
Wear sturdy footwear: the trail surface is rocky and uneven.  There are no water sources, outhouses, or other facilities at the trailhead.
Help preserve this area for generations to come by leaving no trace: take only pictures, leave only footprints. Remember, artifacts and historic sites are protected by federal laws making collection of artifacts or damage to sites possible felonies, so enjoy with care.

Downloadable information and location map

Downloadable brochure of interpretive stops and trail map

Downloadable GPX file for compatible GPS units of trail with stops

(if using Internet Explorer, right click link above and choose "Save Target As..." to save a copy of the GPX file for your use.)

At a Glance

Permit Info: The Kekekabic Trail is a part of the BWCAW, this trail connects from the Centennial Trail you will need a permit if you continue on from this point.  Self issue permits for day use only are found at the trailhead.  If traveling over night follow instructions from this link. (Look at the Kekekabic Hiking Trail entry point)
Usage: Light-Medium
Closest Towns: Grand Marais
Information Center: Gunflint Ranger District Email | Call | Address | Webpage

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Day Hiking


The Paulsen Mine was exploring for iron ore.  You can find plenty of red colored iron bearing rock in the area.  Banded jasper also found along the trail shows the sedimentary origin of iron ore.  It is believed that iron ore was deposited on the edges of an inland sea about 2 billion years ago when the oxygen concentration of the water rose to a point that dissolved iron became iron oxide and dropped out of solution.  The source of that oxygen?  Some of the first life on Earth, cyanobacteria.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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