Great for camping near Minneapolis and 58 miles northeast of Duluth in Lake County on scenic Minnesota Highway 61 lies a massive reserve of lakeside beauty and scenic wilderness. Situated on the shores of the mammoth Lake Superior, Tettegouche State Park is a Minnesota marvel which earns its name from the Tettegouche Club, an association of local businessmen which purchased the park in 1910 from the Alger-Smith Lumber Company. In fact, it was the club's members who guarded over the area, up until 1979 when the state of Minnesota acquired 3,400 acres from the Nature Conservancy, including Tettegouche Camp.
Today this park is absolutely huge, spanning 9,346 acres of wetlands, forests, and sandy beaches. The acreage contains six inland lakes which contain walleye and northern fish, four waterfalls, and an extensive 70 foot sandy beach right on Lake Superior. And thankfully, all of this beauty is now preserved. In fact, the Tettegouche Camp, on Mic Mac Lake, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Perched on the Baptism River, one of the park’s most famous attractions is High Falls, the highest waterfall located (entirely) within Minnesota. The Baptism River Campground is home to a number of campsites with and without electric hookups, as well as a heated building open year-round, with flush toilets and showers, even in the winter. Firewood can be purchased at the park entrance year-round. Five picnic areas are also available with fire rings and tables. However, not only does Tettegouche boast the State’s highest waterfall and winter heated showers, it also contains one of the largest network of hiking trails in the region.
All in all, the park contains over 35 miles of hiking and ski trails, including access to the famous Superior Hiking Trail. The park is one of only four state parks in Minnesota offering rock climbing. Both Shovel Point and Palisade Head cliffs are popular spots offering climbing directly over Lake Superior. Additionally, on its North boundary, Finland State Forest and the Red Dot motorized trail attract OHV enthusiasts from all over the nation for the world class trails and off-road terrain. Thankfully, all of this wilderness creates plenty of room for animals to roam freely.
In fact, it’s normal to see all sorts of wildlife at Tettegouche. A a huge variety of flora and fauna shelter watchable animals such as the woodpecker, red squirrel, white-tail deer, peddle, snowshoe bunny, beaver, and weasel. Moreover, diligent spotters will encounter moose, wild bear, waterway otter, and red fox. Not as commonly spotted, one can find the timber wolf and even the Northern Flying Squirrel. For bird lovers, the recreation center is a great location to spot peregrine birds of prey that nest along the trees and bluffs of the Lake.
The park contains several camping areas, with drive-in, cart-in, walk-in and kayak-in sites.One accessible cabin is open for reserve at Illgen Falls. Furthermore, the parking lot at the entrance to the park also serves as a highway rest area, with a year-round visitor center, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, restrooms, and vending machines. Aside from the accessible cabin, there are also four cabins available for those willing to hike in.
Walk-in site 6 is close to parking (and to the RVs/pop ups/ etc though there are plenty of woods (even in autumn) to feel private . sites 7&8 are further back in the woods, and I would def reserve one on the future.
When I got there were warnings on the walk-in site parking signs, as well as on the campsite picnic tables, warning the black bears had been seen in the campsites. So use the lockers or put all food, cooking utensils, and hygiene products in your car.
There is about toilet at the end of the trail, and is clean-ish.
Trailheads are only minutes walk away.
I don’t know if this is specifically Covid related, but the campsite was supposed to be full, but over half the sites were empty. There is no one working at the welcome center during Covid, so you must reserve on the DNR website. Also, bring cash for firewood.
I do know that because of covid a lot more people are visiting the parks. The main trails along the river were packed! I’m talking multiple larger groups (some as big as 10 people); the trailhead parking lot by Baptism River campsite was full by 8 am, and by noon people were parked a 1/4 mile down the road. When I left at 2 pm, every parking lot was full and people were parked along side Hwy 61. I also noticed more garbage/litter along the river than ever. So—my suggestion is to camp here and stay away from the river.
Couldn’t see everything this park has to offer but we had so much fun. Dream come true.
Love this park. Great cart in sites. Convenient rest stop office. You will need to grab wood and with some sites, like G, waterfront is not easily accessible or kid friendly. Site G is an extremely steep climb down. We had to harness the dogs and it took two of us to lower them down. That being said, it has a private beach when you get down. Bring the bucket and the water filter. This site is fully covered. Plenty of tree coverage against the lake and elements. It has a bear box, table, and fire pit. The bathroom is close.
This campground is super pretty, great location close to many things to explore, and I love that you can hear the waves of the lake at night. Unfortunately, the sites are very close to each other, and not much privacy between them or from the road. All of this makes the campground fairly loud, from sites around you and people walking past down the road.
The Superior Cart-In sites at Tettegouche are tough to beat: they feel private and at many of them, you are constantly reminded of the majesty of the North Shore, either with the sound of crashing waves or the site of the big lake itself.
It’s a long walk to some of the sites, but well-worth the effort. And the park provides wheeled carts to make the pack-in a little less arduous.
These sites make a perfect base-camp for exploring other sites along the shore, or for exploring all that Tettegouche offers, or both!
The drive up the coast towards Tettegouche is beautiful with great views of the coast and all the beautiful wildflowers everywhere in June. When you pull into the park there is a visitor center there but it was closed to to Covid-19. To the right of that is the road to the campground.
We stayed in site # 20 which was big and private. We had Electric and filled with water when we entered. You fill with water near the restroom in the campground next to the bath house across from the dumpsters. From our site you can here the river flowing it’s so peaceful. The sites are not level so come prepared. The only downfall is no dump station yet there is a dump station up the road in Silver Bay for a donation. When you leave the park you go left on 61 to the first light & go right at that light. Past the sheriff station on the left is the dump station.
The smell of Pine is so nice sitting in the campsite or walking a trail. Smells like Christmas. Nice trees
I think the best sites are #1, 22 and 20. There is a path behind 20 & 22 leading to 2 different falls. It's a easy hike about 1 1/2 miles round trip to High Falls you cross a suspension bridge to the other side there are lookouts both sides. Now 2 step falls has a 200 stairs so beware. There are many different trails in the park one which goes down to the beach on Lake Superior.
Great fishing from our Kayak on Lax Lake. It's about 5 to 6 miles inland, has a boat ramp very easy access and a dock you can fish on. We caught 3 to 3 1/2 lb Bass, Perch, Northern Pikes and Pan fish.
Firewood can be bought along the side of the road I believe on 1 going towards Lax Lake. There were 2 vendors with cut wood one on each side of the road. The wood wasn't for sale in the park due to COVID.
in Silver Bay is Zups grocery, Ace hardware, Gas station, the dump station, and a few places to eat.
Beautiful views from places along the coast, Palisade Head, (we saw people rock climbing) nice view of cliffs & lake Superior. Split Rock Lighthouse was closed but you could park near the picnic area & walk along the shore on a trail to it. Nice path to get there. Gooseberry Falls is another great little hike within Gooseberry state Park. You can take a dip near the falls or just relax & soak it all in. There were lots of people at the falls when we were there in June.
Had lunch at Betty;'s Pies it was ok. The place is packed all the time. The we went to the Rustic Inn Cafe they have the best Peanut butter Pie ever along with other great Pies.
Grand Marais is a cute town it's a drive up the coast but worth seeing it. We had lunch at the Gunflint trail Tavern. It was good especially the steamed dumplings. The French onion soup was good too. You can drive through many state parks along the coast they are all different. Many people go the Grand Marias to see the Northern Lights.
The crows did shred my flannel backed table cloth it was a mess, yet we cut it up and used it to cover the firewood from moisture & rain. A win, win!
This was my favorite State park along the coast of MN.
July 2020. Cart ins
We actually camped here twice in July and this is our third camping trip to Tettegouche this year. I can’t say enough about this state park, I think it’s the best in the state. It is centrally located to the 9 state parks on the popular north shore, and has it all!! Lake Superior, overlooks, waterfalls, challenging hikes, swimming and the campgrounds are spacious and wooded. Aside from the popular hikes to Shovel Point, High Falls or Bean and Bear Lake - there are miles and miles of other beautiful hiking trails in this state park!
We stayed in cart-in sites each time. One was on the lake and the other in the main campground. Both of these sites are very popular and usually booked the first day they’re available, I was lucky enough to get them last summer. The cart ins on the water E-J have lake views and several have trails (sometimes tricky) that lead down to the water and you essentially have you own private beach. This cart in campground is about a mile hike in from the parking and they have carts to haul your gear. Any of these sites have something to offer and are VERY private. Our site had many hammock spots and gorgeous lake views. There are several vault toilets located in this campground and each site has a bear locker, picnic table and a fire ring with grate. You can walk to the bridge at the mouth of the Babtism River, which takes you to the trail system along the lake. We enjoyed swimming here and taking in more lake views.
The main campground is off the lake and up a winding road. There is also a trailhead near this campground and you can only access this portion with a MN state park pass. The shower house and bathrooms are located here. There are electric, tent and 6 more cart in sites. This campground is located close to the a trail system that takes you to two popular waterfalls, High Falls and Two Step Falls. The sites are nicely spaced and wooded. You do need to be very guarded with your food however. Use the bear lockers (provided in the cart ins) or keep your food in your car. Bears have been very active in this campground this summer, though we never saw one. Love this state park.
The spots seemed smaller and the road was interesting to get into narrow and hilly didn’t seem like big campers could get in there as easy. Tent pads mainly gravel some with grassy-ish spots. Amazing location though you can’t beat the north shore! Do the full shovel point hike it’s an amazing view
I have spent years going to Tettegouoche with friends and I love it. Good selection of hikes, great location, fantastic facilities. Highly recommend.
We really enjoyed our time at this State Park. The trails we fun to hike and the many waterfalls were beautiful. There was a swimming hole with a river that flows into it that makes the water warmer than the traditional Superior cold. The reason I gave it a 3 instead of a 4 is because everything was closed due to the employees having been furloughed so no giftshop and we had to go to the gas station for wood. The Park is beautiful but it was strange without staff.