Summer Resorts 2003: Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota


Things are up and down at Lutsen Mountains all summer long. This northern Minnesota resort specializes in getting you to the top of Sawtooth Mountain Park, 1,000 feet above Lake Superior, and then giving you multiple paths down. The easy way up is via the Mountain Tram, which culminates at the summit of Moose Mountain, the North Shore's highest peak. From there, visit the Vasque Hiking Center, and head out on a three-peak, 10-mile trek of the park, or just meander down a marked trail to the base. Too much work? Ride the chairlift to the top of Eagle Mountain, and scream your way back to the bottom on the half-mile alpine slide.

Mountain bikers will want to attack Lutsen's 32 miles of trails, spread across Moose and Mystery mountains. There are rugged climbs for those who like to earn their downhills, as well as lift-service for those who don't. Ride the graveled greens (easiest) for starters, then battle the ledge-rock black-diamond steeps that experts compare to World Cup courses. Just as spectacular, albeit more leisurely, is a round of golf at nearby Superior National, with 27 holes carved through the mountains. Or see the Sawtooth on horseback, with a guided tour from the Homestead Stables. Wrap it all up with a few brews and some acoustic strains on one of three decks at Papa Charlie's. Views of the Poplar River Valley are the perfect accompaniment to a fine alfresco feast.

oDON'T MISS A horseback ride to the top of Eagle Mountain for a sunset steak dinner cooked over an open fire ($65 per person).

oBEST DEAL Book online and you can get two nights' lodging and a two-day all-access Activity Pass for $59 per person, double occupancy. 218-663-7281;