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.
Tettegouche has lots of camping options -- walk in, cart in, RV, and drive in. We drove in.
The drive in sites didn't have a lot of space between them, but site 16 had a little more privacy than the others. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table. Facilities are nearby and there is also a bath house which is closed for cleaning every afternoon.
There are plenty of gorgeous hikes and waterfalls to visit. We even caught someone getting engaged at the waterfalls -- that's how pretty it is. It's still cold in June - bring lots of layers and be prepared for a fire!
I wish we had a longer weekend to enjoy the park. Between all the great hiking trails waterfalls and lake Superior there is something for any outdoor enthusiast. Lots of ups and downs. One trail we counted 595 stairs one way.
Each site at the cart-in campground was secluded from view from the others. Mine was right along the water with a path down to a small beach and rock outcrop, nice for sitting and watching the water. The one downside was that the road is so close you can hear cars going by at night. Traffic is fairly light in the evening so it's not too bad, but it did detract some from the ambience. This campground did not connect directly to the rest of the trails - it was a 10 minute walk or so to get to the main trails.
great waterfalls, great trails to the waterfalls and hanging bridge across the river
Tettegouche is such a big park that there's SO many different things to review. Palisade Head is a popular destination in this park and is awesome to see for sunrise or sunset. Note that the drive up to Palisade Head is curvy and long so I wouldn't suggest walking-drive instead, and slowly since there's typically other cars using the same road.
Bean and Bear Lake is my favorite hike in Tettegouche. It's about a 7 mile (round trip) hike and you can camp right at Bear Lake. This is a beautiful place to visit in the Fall! I'm always surprised with Tettegouche of, first, how large the park is. Second, since the park is so large and there's so much to see it's surprising quiet even during peak months. There's a great mix of forest, clear paths, waterfalls, and Lake Superior shore line.
Great place to space and explore!
we loved camping at Tettegouche! it was surprisingly quiet and peaceful for the middle of summer. you also get a mix of waterfalls, forest, and shoreline that make it a beautiful place to stay and explore.
Tettegouche State Park is extremely large and is located on the north shore by Lake Superior. Palisade head is one of the main attractions and is a very busy one. I recommend seeing it when it’s morning or evening due to the crowds. The road to access it is very curvy and a little scary so beware.
Tettegouche is one of my favorite campgrounds. The cart-in campground is right on Lake Superior and has very private sites. The state park has a great trail system with areas to stop and enjoy the scenery and waterfalls.
This campsite was amazing. Right on the shore of Lake Superior, within walking distance to a beach. There were several miles of trail to hiking including a pit stop at a waterfall. We had to walk in off the parking lot, they provide carts. Employees in the main building were very helpful and had recommendations. Great get away from the city life.
Great place to stay for the adventurous, almost never packed but heavily hiked in the area. Kind campground volunteers, good water stations, well run.