I climbed Eagle Mountain on Wednesday, 29 September 2010. To get to the trailhead I left MN-61 at Lutsen. Despite morning rains the roads were in good condition and sufficiently signed. We reached the trailhead around 2:00p CDT. There was one person in the parking lot, drying clothes from a very wet morning climb. Fortunately the skies had pretty much cleared by two o'clock in the afternoon. We saw no other hikers the rest of the day.
However, the soaking rain had left the trail dangerously slippery, as it was composed largely of football-sized rocks, rootwads, mud, and fallen leaves. Very few sections are smooth and level. This necessitated some slow going. The distance is usually given as 3.5 miles one-way. It seemed longer.
After about an hour we came to the wilderness area boundary. At the trailhead there is a registration box in which hikers entering the wilderness area are requested to deposit a registration form. About half an hour later, after crossing some boggy areas on strategically placed boardwalks, we arrived at Whale Lake. That is where the climb really begins, and the trail is pretty steep and rocky all the way to the summit, which we reached at about 4:30p CDT. There is a nice view about ten minutes before you reach the summit, which itself does not afford much of a view. There is an informative plaque set into the rock near the highest point.
We wanted to return to the trailhead before dark, so we hurried down as best we could and reached the parking lot around 6:30p CDT. Unlike many highpointers we encountered no bugs, flies, mosquitoes, or other obnoxious insects during the hike.
We here heading to Grand Marais for the night, so we left the parking area in the opposite direction from which we arrived, and again found the roads in good condition and well-signed.
Perhaps due to the wet conditions I found this highpoint to be a little more difficult than usually described, but it might just be that I'm getting to be older and fatter than the usual highpointer.
Eagle Mountain is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States, especially at the peak of the fall colors. I think early October is the perfect time to visit this high point.