Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
28.00 ft (8.53 m)
Trail type
1.10 mi (1.77 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Benson Lake Trail is a 1.1-mile loop around Benson Lake in George Crosby Manitou State Park. George Crosby Manitou State Park is located off County Highway 7 (Cramer Road) about 7 and a half miles northeast of Finland, Minnesota. There is a fee to enter the park; a day use or annual permit is required. Dogs are allowed on this trail when on a leash. Parking for this hike is at the park’s lone parking area at the end of Benson Lake Road.

Start this hike by heading south down a gravel road for about a tenth of a mile. Take a left onto the Benson Lake Trail (look for the brown trail sign). The trail passes by some backpack campsites on the left, while the picturesque Benson Lake is to the right. Benson Lake is non-motorized.  The majority of the loop around the lake is boardwalk and is very close to the lake. This hike is quite easy with very little elevation change. Near the end of the loop around the lake there is a picnic area.

The Benson Lake Trail can be taken as an alternate Hiking Club trail since the official Hiking Club trail, the Humpback Trail, is quite rugged. The Minnesota State Parks Hiking Club program encourages hikers to hike a designated Hiking Club Trail at most state parks. A Hiking Club password is found on all of these hikes. You can earn patches, free camping, and even a plaque (if you hike all of the Hiking Club trails) for participating in the club. A Hiking Club kit can be purchased at most state parks for $14.95 (as of 2021). More information about the program can be found here.

A map of the park and its hiking trails can be found here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Day-Use Fee

Open Year-round



Views of Scenic Northwoods Lake.

Trailhead Elevation

1,444.00 ft (440.13 m)

Highest point

1,444.00 ft (440.13 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Permit required




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