Summit Express Gondola at Lutsen Mountains

Don’t Miss the Summit Express Gondola

The Summit Express Gondola is one of the most popular year-round attractions on the North Shore. Located at Lutsen Mountains Ski & Summer Recreation Area, it is the only mountaintop gondola ride in the Midwest. Perfect for young and old, add it to your “must-do” list of North Shore attractions. 

Summit Express Gondola at Lutsen Mountains

Take the Summit Express Gondola on an aerial journey across Lutsen Mountains.

A Scenic Ride at Treetop Level

Board the Summit Express Gondola at the base area of Lutsen Mountains. The aerial ride takes you on a leisurely and scenic ride at treetop level through the woods, over the Popular River, and to the top of Moose Mountain (which is one of the tallest mountains on the North Shore). 

And get this…you’ll see remnant piles of snow from ski season, into June, and sometimes July!

Ride of the Poplar River on the Summit Express Gondola

Rider over the Poplar River

Snow piles in June at Lutsen Mountains

Snow piles in June!

View from Summit Express Gondola

Going up the cliff – see Lake Superior!

Summit Express Gondola takes you to incredible views & great hiking

Get off at the top and your adventure continues! The views from atop the 1000-foot mountain are absolutely incredible!

Wooded trails take you to cliff-top overlooks of the Superior National Forest. There are a couple of decks with viewing platforms, so plan to relax and enjoy the view!

Mystery Mountain Overlook, Lutsen Mountains

Mystery Mountain viewing deck

You could also hike the ridgeline trail, which is along the ski route at the top of the Moose Mountain ridge. Look out over dozens of ski runs including Free Fall, which drops out on the north side of Moose Mountain. Or walk in the grassy fields that grow over the ski runs in the summer, and gaze at the never-ending view of Lake Superior.

View of Superior National Forest from Moose Mountain

View of Superior National Forest

For a longer hike, take the popular “Gondola Loop” trail. Take the Superior Hiking Trail back to the Lutsen Mountains base area for a 4-mile afternoon hike.

Lutsen Mountains Hiking Trails

Summit Chalet Eatery

The Summit Chalet is a mountaintop oasis of Northwoods splendor! Stop inside for lunch, snacks, or a tasty beverage. There is seating inside the chalet, and outside on the expansive lake view deck. 

Outdoor dining at Summit Chalet, Lutsen Mountains

Great view from the deck of the Summit Chalet eatery

Inside of the Summit Chalet at Lutsen Mountains

Inside of the Summit Chalet

What you need to know about the Summit Express Gondola

  • It is open year-round from approx 9am – 4pm. Hours and times may vary (especially during the off-season), so double check before you go. 
  • Tickets are required for ages 6 and up. 
  • The one-way ride takes about 8 minutes. You can stay at the top for as long as you want, but don’t miss the last ride of the day!
  • Dogs can ride the gondola, but may not go inside the Summit Chalet eatery.
  • The gondola does not run during thunderstorms. 

Related Content on NorthShoreExplorerMN:

Lutsen Mountains Alpine Slide

Springtime Ski & Hike in Lutsen

Lutsen, MN: Small Town, Big Attractions

12 thoughts on “Summit Express Gondola at Lutsen Mountains

  1. Ayla Ranta says:

    Does the gondola ride have wheelchair accessibility? Also, does the lookout area at the top to see the fall colors have any steps leading to it or could a wheelchair be pushed down the path?

    • Melissa Dressely says:

      Yes, the gondola is wheelchair accessible! In fact, I went there with a friend who uses a wheelchair. You can push a wheelchair down the path.

  2. Novus says:

    Can I get to the mystery viewing deck once we get to the summit chalet restaurant? Or is that a different hiking trial?

    • Melissa Dressely says:

      Yes, there is a beautiful deck that overlooks Mystery Mountain and the Superior National Forest when you get to the top of Moose Mountain.

  3. Jenny says:

    How much is the round trip?

  4. Valerie J Peterson says:

    Wheelchair accessible?

    • Melissa Dressely says:

      Yes, the Summit Express Gondola is accessible. There are ramps leading to and from the gondola. The inside of the chalet has an elevator lift.

  5. carol gerlach says:

    Can you ride the Gondola back down the hill?

    • Melissa Dressely says:

      Yes! You can ride it round-trip or one-way (if you want to take the Superior Hiking Trail one way for a hiking/gondola loop).

  6. Jane Kliber says:

    How much does the ride cost?

    • Melissa Dressely says:

      Adult (16+): $26
      Child (6-15): $18
      Senior (65+): $22
      Tots (5 and under): FREE with paid adult

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