Vermillion River Gorge
The Vermillion River Gorge is located approximately 30 miles northeast of Orr. The Gorge consists of the Vermillion River running through narrow channels of granite and contains rapids, waterfalls and beautiful scenery. Depending on the route taken to the Gorge, high bluffs overlook the river providing a spectacular view. Access can be made from two directions.
Method #1: This method includes a 3-mile hike ( each way) through forests, bogs and bluffs. This access consists of a trail that is somewhat maintained, contains moderate hills and has rocks and tree roots to navigate in some places.
From Orr take CR-23 AKA Orr-Buyck Road & CR-24 for 29.1 miles to Crane Lake. Upon arriving at Crane Lake keep bearing left looking for the Voyageurs National Park Office. Continue past the office for .1 mile to a parking lot on the left for the trail head. Note there are two trails, one for snowmobiles and one for hiking. The hiking trail is somewhat hidden in the weeds but is located on the north side of the parking lot about in the middle. There is a sign stating it is the hiking trail. (see picture above)
Method #2:This method eliminates the 3-mile hike, and also the beauty and exercise that comes with it, and replaces it with a 5-minute stroll through a trail along the river with no hills. Definitely the easy way, but not as much scenery or exercise. From Orr take CR-23 AKA Orr-Buyck Road for 25.9 miles to NF-491. The turnoff is on the left and is marked with a sign that says “Vermillion Falls.” Take NF-491 5.3 miles west to a bridge over the river. The Gorge will be on your right as you pass over the bridge. Park on the west side of the bridge. The trail is on the NORTH side of the road on the west side of the bridge, directly across from the parking area and is marked by a sign that says “Portage.” Do not take the trail to the south.
If you use method #2, you are .6 miles from the spectacular Vermillion Falls! Take NF-491 west (away from the bridge) for .3 miles and turn left at the sign for Vermillion Falls. Another .3 miles brings you to a parking lot with a restroom! The falls are down a well maintained trail about 400 feet from the parking lot.