Temperance River State Park
By Jim Umhoefer
The lower river, preserved in Temperance River State Park, tumbles past some curious rock formations on its restless path to Lake Superior. Over the centuries, swirling sands and pebbles in the churning water have carved potholes into the lava rock formations. After heavy rains, the water churns violently through the narrow gorge, as if gathering strength for its fruitless struggle against the mass of Lake Superior. You can see the river’s outline far out into the lake before it fades into the great water.
Temperance River State Park is located one mile northeast of Schroeder off the North Shore Scenic Byway In Minnesota’s Cook County.
Temperance River State Park measures over 5000 acres and has more than 22 miles of hiking trails. The most scenic ones follow the ravine through a dense coniferous forest. While hiking on these paths, you’ll be able to see some old potholes, marking the route of the river during a time when it was much broader than it is now. From the park’s boundary, you can continue on trails through the neighboring Superior National Forest.
Across Highway 61, a trail winds upstream toward Hidden Falls. When you come to a long, quiet pool in the river, stop and listen for the sound of falling water. As you follow the sound, you’ll come to a deep, narrow chasm that is wider on the bottom than it is on top. The wild water that spills through here is still cutting and shaping the gorge.
The Superior Hiking Trail, a 310-mile footpath from Duluth to the Canadian border, passes through Temperance River State Park. It is part of the North Country Trail, which travels 4,600 miles from North Dakota to the Vermont border with New York.
The park is also crossed by the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail. When complete, this trail will travel 88 miles along the North Shore between Two Harbors and Grand Marais and connect five of Minnesota’s State Parks.