Bog Boardwalk and Lake Shumway Loop Trail

Savanna Portage State Park, Minnesota

Trip Date: Friday, September 22nd, 2017
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 27th, 2017
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★★(5/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 2.5 miles roundtrip
Time 1 hour
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons All
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No

Highlights

Hike Walkthrough

If you are camping at Savanna Portage State Park, it is mandatory that you do this hike. Even if you aren't camping, this is the best easy hike in the park and you shouldn't miss it. Shumway Lake is closed to boats with gasoline engines, so the only noise you will hear will be the wind in the trees and the gentle splashing of water on the shore. This is probably one of the most perfect after dinner hikes in Minnesota because of its proximity to the campground; you can simply walk to the other side of the lake and watch the sunset without having to drive somewhere else. I just couldn't get enough of this lake, so now you can enjoy the most pictures I've included in a post as of yet.

Dogs are allowed on leash, and this is the most family friendly hike in the park, especially since you can access the trailhead directly from the campground. This trail is good in all seasons, though the trail can be wet and muddy in some areas after a good rain. In the winter, the trail is ungroomed and open to all uses, hiking included, although the bog boardwalk is closed. You can easily predict how busy the trail will be based on the number of occupied campsites; you are unlikely to be alone except at night or early early morning.

From the parking lot, walk toward the lake and look for the clearly marked Shumway Lake trailhead on the left. In 1/3 mile, you will have the option to turn left to visit the bog boardwalk; this side trip is about half a mile roundtrip and is included in the distance listed for this hike. Interpretive signs line the boardwalk and inform you about the peat bog environment around you. Walk slowly and look closely at the ground to observe the many unique plants that thrive here, like the carnivorous pitcher plant pictured below. The end of the boardwalk overlooks the small lake in the second picture below.

Find these carnivorous pitcher plants along the boardwalk

Find these carnivorous pitcher plants along the boardwalk
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Tall pines line the lake at the end of the boardwalk

Tall pines line the lake at the end of the boardwalk
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After you return to the main trail, the hike continues through the forest. Ahead, there will be a series of boards bridging the marshy area (pictured below), and the break in the trees will give you the best views of the hike. On the left side, you can see grasses growing in the pool with tamarack in the distance (second picture below, taken at in the afternoon rather than at dusk). On the right, you can see across the lake without the obstruction of trees (shown in the third picture below).
Planks across the marsh with an autumn backdrop

Planks across the marsh with an autumn backdrop
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Tamaracks growing beyond the marsh

Tamaracks growing beyond the marsh
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Looking across Shumway Lake from the marsh area

Looking across Shumway Lake from the marsh area
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Upon reentering the forest, you will start to see many impressive pines. Eventually you will reach an intersection where you can choose between two options: go to the left to take the flatter, wider 0.5 mile return to the campground through forest, or go to the right to take the narrow, slightly hilly 0.7 mile return that hugs the lake. The second option is hands down the correct choice. This trail is much more fun and provides you additional peeks at the lake through the trees, like the stunning shot of fall colors below.
Fall colors look lovely on the lake

Fall colors look lovely on the lake
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Eventually, the trail crosses a small bridge. Look for the trail continuing to the right along the lake after the bridge. If you continue straight, you end in the southern campground loop. Follow the trail along the lake back to the parking lot.

This hike is truly a magical journey and a great introduction to Savanna Portage State Park. Hopefully you chose to stay here for more than one day so you can experience the fantastic scenery throughout the rest of the park. As a parting gift, I will show you another picture of a storm blowing over Shumway Lake. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!
A storm rages across Shumway Lake

A storm rages across Shumway Lake
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Directions

From the Twin Cities, take Interstate 35W north to U.S. Highway 10 west. In Blaine, exit for Minnesota Highway 65 (Central Avenue) and turn right. Follow Minnesota Highway 65 north for about 2 hours. In McGregor, turn left, then turn right to stay on Minnesota Highway 65. Turn right on Lake Ave (County Road 14) and continue straight until the park. Pay your fee at the park office on the right, then turn right and follow the dirt road approximately 1.5 miles to the boat launch area and parking lot.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Like all Minnesota State Parks and Recreation Areas, you must pay a vehicle entry fee of $7 per day or $35 for an annual pass (highly recommended if you frequently go to Minnesota State Parks). There is a vault toilet, boat launch, fishing dock, and several canoes and small boats for rent (pay at the park office) near this lot.

External Links

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