Tofte Trails cabins just opened last fall on the north shore of Lake Superior. Near Lutsen mountains and some amazing gravel, MTB, fat, and bikepacking adventures, they offer beautiful and relaxing cabins designed for couples and solo travelers surrounded by wild adventures. Enjoy a Q&A with the owners and photo gallery then start dreaming up your next adventure.
To learn more, visit Tofte Trails.
Q&A with owners Chris & Kelsey:
Congrats on opening Tofte Trails last fall! Seems like a great location for bike adventures?
We actually have a direct connection to Jackpot/High Climber trail off of Onion River Road which connects to Britton Peak Trail head. So guests can either drive 10 minutes to Britton Peak or head left out of Tofte Trails up Onion River Rd and access world class trails.
Guests can bring their fat bikes and head out directly from the property and get to Jackpot and Britton Peak. Jackpot/High Climber is a point to point 16 mile wilderness trail through the Sawtooth Mountains that connects Britton Peak to Tofte to Lutsen Mountains built by Rock Solid. Sustainably built with the environment in mind, it’s a flowy trail with awesome features and jumps along the way.
Onion River Rd is a forest service gravel road and reaches the Gitchi Gami paved trail and the new gravel connection to Lutsen Mountains. They recently expanded the gravel to paved connections around Lutsen Mountains. Britton Peak also offers a connection to the dead end Carlton Peak Trail and is another awesome gravel option with an amazing view pay off of Lake Superior and the surrounding valleys at the top.
We absolutely love our location as it is proximal to all of these great adventures. SugarBush Trail system is 2 minutes up Onion River road. The best cross country ski and snowshoeing trail system in the state and it offers incredible summer hiking too.
Jeff of Sawtooth Outfitters in Tofte has all of the outdoor gear anyone would need to make the most of these adventures just in case anyone needs to rent any bikes, boards, skis etc.
Excitingly we can now share the news that another trail system build out is set to begin at the top of Onion River Rd and will offer another world class trail system. Which is amazing as there will be even more great rides right out your door from Tofte Trails. Riders can fuel up and get a bite to eat at Coho Cafe, Lutsen Lockport Marketplace, Bluefin Grill, and the Tofte General Store all within 5 minutes away.
You’re at a pretty cool intersection of rugged outdoors and luxury indoors. Where do you see those two things coming together for gravel and fat bikers?
Our goal is to bring nature lovers to the doorstep of the outdoors in comfort. We want our guests to have an incredible experience and feel a certain moody vibe when they stay at Tofte Trails which is why we poured so much energy into the details and outfitted the cabins with 140 year old barnwood. Secondly, our cabins offer an aesthetic that guests love and the size and layout makes you feel entrenched in nature. Again, our location on Onion River Rd offers gravel and fat bikers everything they would want for trail access to get to Britton Peak, Jackpot, Carlton Peak and so on.
Many of our guests are among the play hard, chill hard variety.
We really encourage everyone to get out, get dirty and come back to your cabin for a restful retreat. The cabins are built to be an experience in and of themselves and to complement your outdoor adventure.
You started with Cuyuna Cove and now you’re now adding Tofte Trails. How has the Cuyuna cycling community influenced what you built into your Tofte Trails experience?
We built Cuyuna Cove to be an access point to all of the adventures we love to have in the outdoors and Tofte really is an extension of the same. We love the North Shore and the feeling you get amongst the wilderness is largely unmatched in Minnesota. Cuyuna’s trail system built around crystal clear, spring fed mine pit lakes is unrivaled in the state but this differs from what the North Shore offers in scope of its biking, hiking, skiing, views of Lake Superior, paved trail and so on.
It takes years to even come close to touching all of the North Shore adventures one can have.
Kelsey and I continue to go on new hikes, new exploration up and down the shore and we haven’t even chipped the tip of the iceberg. So it really is endless with more to come. There are great people behind the scenes for the trail associations that are making these new systems come to life and we are thankful to all of those who diligently work against bureaucracy to make it happen. Then the general public gets to benefit further from these efforts. Specifically to outdoor gear and bikes we added storage en suite on the back side of the cabins at Tofte Trails and made some systems modifications to accommodate winter and summer even more sustainably.
Our cabins are an artistic endeavor for us that we do our best to combine or weave into nature versus forcing into nature. We want you to feel like you’re IN the woods even when you’re inside one of our cabins. A lot of our guests talk about loving to get dirty and get after it but having an experience based stay to come back to afterwards is the cherry on top for the day.
Separately we have a ton of wildlife that comes through our corridor so if you are quietly relaxing at your cabin you’ll see an array of animals go by the cabins. Mornings in particular are great for waking up slowly with more wildlife slipping through. We are mulling over an off grid stay option in the future at Tofte Trails for those riders who just want to crush trails and crash or use the property as a basecamp to head into the boundary waters, but of course we will still put our take on this variety of stay as well.
You guys built some incredibly thoughtful amenities into these cabins. What are your personal favorite things about them?
We appreciate this question as this is where the labor of love lies. It took a ton of effort to outfit these cabins with 140 year old barn wood and avoid drywalling a cabin. Even cedar finish has a certain feel to it. Beautiful but not what we were going for.
The barn wood is unmatched and given how labor intensive it was to acquire, clean, sand and install it is likely to stay one of the most unique aspects of our Tofte Trails cabins. With so much imitation and 1 off cabin stays being offered through Airbnb we truly wanted to build another one of a kind stay that juxtaposed the old world with new amenities and we wanted guests to feel this heavy, moody vibe.
The cabins push you into a reflective and pensive frame of mind. As for the amenities we went all out. The cabins are equipped with dishwashers, large mini fridges, in floor heat, supplemental heat gas fireplaces, mini splits for AC in the summer as we are getting hotter temps, spa inspired shower/bath layout and design, en suite storage for outdoor gear, brass finishes, custom concrete countertops & fireplace stand, king size beds on custom oak frames, oak cabinets & shelving, and projectors for movie nights or for stormy/rainy days. Automatic blinds double as the screen for the projectors. The fireplace, mini split, projectors and blinds are all on remote for convenience. Board games provide those nostalgic vibes from a simpler time that so many of us crave these days.
There are other small artful pieces in the cabins that guests really enjoy as well. We took note of how our best stays from our travels always offered decor and items that when interacted with add to the overall experience. We are all so overwhelmed by the constant stimuli of today’s world that we wanted guests to really be able to check out, relax and unwind. At the same time we recognize many cannot unplug fully so we provide fiber internet for those that need to stay connected for work. Cell service is still bad on the North Shore so having great wifi also helps out in that regard.
Besides the abundance of forest around Tofte Trails, we additionally brought in 17 trees (Moonglow Juniper, Red Cedar, Bonny Blues) that further contribute to the beautifully landscaped property and will only get better year after year as they will all grow to be sizeable trees providing more privacy to each cabin. We also planted hoards of natives throughout the property and around each cabin and privacy fencing that will begin to grow taller and flower this coming year. Boulder retaining walls around the cabins further add to the North Shore mystique.