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Visit Knife River

Knife River is on the North Shore of Lake Superior where the Knife River flows into Lake Superior, about 20 miles NE from downtown Duluth. Take the Two Harbors Expressway, or Scenic 61.  

North Shore Scenic Railroad

For a relaxed and scenic way to Knife River, take the North Shore Scenic Railroad.  It departs The Depot in Duluth, follows the shore of Lake Superior and crosses over several scenic river gorges on its way to Knife River.  For more information: 

If you have a boat that can handle Lake Superior’s many and unpredictable moods, you can reach Knife River by boat.  Knife River has a full-service marina owned by the Minnesota DNR and managed by Sailboats, Inc.

(See photo) The North Shore Scenic Railroad has “Picnic” trains to Knife River during the summer,  “Fall Color” trains during the fall and “Christmas Tree” and “Julebyen Express” trains at Christmas.  When he’s not too busy, the Knife River depot agent greets train riders.


The Knife River Marina

The Knife River Marina provides a doorstep to some of the finest Lake Trout and Coho fishing on the western end of Lake Superior. Knife River’s renowned Agate Beach is to far right  in photo and accessed from a public parking lot off America Dock Road.


 Photo: Todd Lindahl


Photo: Fred Duderar


During the first weekend in December, Knife River hosts an authentic Norwegian celebration of Christmas called a Julebyen (“Christmas Village” in Norwegian) in which many of the community participate. 


Enjoy Scandinavian foods, music and entertainment and shop for artisan wares all displayed in individual and colorful outdoor huts. 

Attend Julebyen by train from the Duluth Depot aboard the “Julebyen Express.”  Then take a “Troll Train to Troll Canyon” in search of mischievous trolls.  For more information:


Local artisans sell their wares from individual huts in the Julebyen marketplace.

Photo: Knife River Rec Council


Julebyen festivalgoers about to board a “Troll Train To Troll Canyon” in search of mischievous trolls. 
Drone photo: David Schauer

Public Hiking Trail

The Knife River Rec Council maintains a public hiking trail along the upper Knife River.  The trail traverses through a variety of tree cover from young to mature forests with dramatic views and access to the upper Knife River.  The trail is for foot travel only and accesses adjacent county public land.  

A newly added trail extension provides a loop trail that leads to a panoramic overlook of Lake Superior.


Photo: Knife River Recreation Council

Fun Places to Visit

Knife River offers a North Shore outdoor experience with hiking trails, boating and kayaking, lake and stream fishing, and probably the finest agate beach on the North Shore.

Russ Kendall's Smoke House

Two destinations with statewide reputations are Russ Kendall’s Smoke House and the Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen. 

To many, Kendall’s and Knife River are synonymous - expertly cured fish smoked in their own smoke house the traditional way: ciscoes, trout whitefish, herring, king salmon and homemade beef jerky. 


The Candy Kitchen

The Candy Kitchen is in their 4th generation of candy makers, handmade  in copper kettles, hand stirred and made in small batches.  A must stop!

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Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse has made Knife River a destination for many for years. Photo: Paul von Goertz


The Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen is a magnet for chocolate lovers.

Photo: Patricia Canelake


47 Degrees art gallery/gifts, features local art. Open June through December
Photo: Michelle Gratton Ronning

The Knife River Campground offers seasonal RV sites with Lake Superior as the backyard.
Photo: Randy Ellestad

For more information on other Knife River and North Shore businesses, go to the Lake County Chamber of Commerce:

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