Wolf Lake Trail

Savanna Portage State Park, Minnesota

Trip Date: Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
Last Updated: Thursday, September 28th, 2017
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★☆(4/5)
Overall Difficulty Moderate
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 4.6 miles roundtrip
Time 2 hours
Terrain A few hills
Best Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall
Family Friendly No
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No


Hike Summary

The Wolf Lake Trail is primarily used by those staying in the backpack campsite at the trail's end. Wolf Lake is an excellent spot for a quiet lakeside lunch; you can sit on the dock and watch the clouds reflect in the lake. The hike itself isn't special when compared to the other trails in the park, but the lake gives you a motivating destination that loop trails like the Shumway Lake Trail lack.

Dogs are allowed on leash. This trail is a bit long for a family friendly hike; try the Shumway Lake Trail instead. This route is only hikeable in 3 seasons because the Wolf Lake Trail becomes a snowmobile trail in winter and no longer connects to the trails near the campground. Most hikers stick to the Shumway Lake Trail or Hiking Club Loop, so this trail offers greater solitude than others in the park.

From the parking lot, look for the trailhead with the blue Hiking Club signs on the end of the lot opposite the lake. At the intersection ahead, turn to the right. After walking past a nice stand of tall pines and some gradual changes in elevation, you will arrive at a possibly confusing 5 way intersection. Take the trail heading north; this trail is between the Hiking Club Trail on your right, labeled with a blue sign, and the Savanna Portage Trail on your right, which has an interpretive sign on the side a few steps away from the intersection.

Continue straight for the remainder of the hike. Near the end, you will encounter a short boardwalk through a bog, pictured below. Walk slowly here to admire the interesting plants in this environment.

The boardwalk at the beginning of the peat bog

The boardwalk at the beginning of the peat bog
View full size

Shortly after the boardwalk, you will arrive at the backpack campsite near Wolf Lake. If the site isn't occupied, there are two picnic tables and a screened-in shelter you can use -- I ate a snack inside this shelter just to escape the hoardes of mosquitos bothering me. Beyond the campsite the trail continues to a small dock for canoes where you can sit and enjoy the pristine lake with views like pictured below and at the top of the page. There isn't much space to sit on the lakeshore, so the dock is the best option.
Looking across Wolf Lake

Looking across Wolf Lake
View full size

Simply retrace your steps to return to the parking lot. I hope you enjoy this forested walk to a beautiful lake. Let me know what you think in the comments section below and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram to share your hiking experience!


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.

Nearby Hikes

This is the perfect hike to watch the sunset over Lake Shumway
Bog Boardwalk and Lake Shumway Loop Trail
Savanna Portage State Park, Minnesota
The best view in the park: the Continental Divide overlook
Continental Divide Trail Hiking Club Loop
Savanna Portage State Park, Minnesota
Just one of the secluded lakes you
Remote Lake Loop
Savanna Portage State Forest, Minnesota
Beautiful fall colors on one of the Twin Lakes
Rice Lake Trail and Twin Lakes Loop
Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Minnesota

External Links