Family Guide to North Shore State Parks: George Crosby Manitou

Family Guide to North Shore State Parks: George Crosby Manitou

May 20 , 2023


Scott and Sara Clifton

I've said it before and I'll say it again, George Crosby Manitou State Park is one of the best hidden gems in the North Shore region! 
This 3000+ acre park is a spot that feels truly WILD. A hub for hikers, campers, and nature lovers alike, this spot is well worth the stop on your next trip up north. With the wide variety of terrain, wildlife, and lots of trail options, here's a little family guide for all things George Crosby Manitou State Park!
Park Highlights:
Hiking: And lots of it! This park features several trails to hop on with a good mix of accessible + challenging treks. The Superior Hiking Trail also connects in, giving even more options! One of my favorite things about the trails here is that they're filled with diverse landscape and terrain- from peaks to rushing rivers to trout lakes and old growth forest. 
Note: If you are visiting the park during spring months, the trails may be awaiting some needed post-winter clean-up. Trees and brush may be down, and some spots may still have snow. Travel safe!
Camping: Crosby Manitou has several hike-in campsites that can be reserved online. During the summer these fill up fast but in spring/fall you can often snag one last minute. The sites are primitive with a variety of locations to choose from- lakeside, streamside, or wooded! Family pro-tip: Borrow an unused site for a bit during your hike for a quick meal or down time moment!
Park Amenities:
Parking: Pull into the lot with easy access to several trails! State Park passes or day passes are required for this state park. Cell service is spotty so you may want to order your pass prior to visiting. The parking lot is also not accessible to vehicles in the winter, but you can still hike in from the entrance.
Bathrooms: There is one outhouse near the lot!
Water: A water pump station is located near the entrance.
Trail signage: Find several park maps along the trails + park entrance!
 Family Favorite Trails:
Benson Lake Loop: I'm obsessed! This 1-mile loop around a trout lake is mostly boardwalk and travels among the most beautiful cedar groves, rock cliffs, and wildlife. Lots of shade for warmer days and the most inspiring nature! Plenty of nooks and crannies to be explored, as well as a few campsites to swing by.
Hump Back and Middle Trail Loop: If you're looking for a full afternoon hike, this one's for you! This 2.5 mile hike takes you along peaks and lowland, the rushing Manitou river waterfall and marshy areas. Our kiddos especially loved passing by the large pond filled with frogs and snails.There are several ups and downs along the way, but the amazing views make it worth the climb! In total this loop took our fam of 6 about 4 hours to complete, with a handful of stops along the way.
Have the best adventure at George Crosby Manitou State Park!
Happy exploring,
About Sara:
Sara Clifton is owner and founder of North & Shore, homeschool mama of 4, and lover of all things North Shore! You can often find her exploring the forest with her kiddos with a warm drink in hand. Connect with her through our Instagram page or at



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