Tettegouche State Park
By Jim Umhoefer
Tettegouche showcases the best of North Shore scenery. Rocky palisades along Lake Superior, steep inland bluffs and cliffs, waterfalls and isolated forest lakes make for a year-round travel destination.
Tettegouche State Park is located 4.5 miles northeast of Silver Bay on the North Shore Scenic Drive Byway in Minnesota’s Lake County.
The nearby picnic area and hiking trails take advantage of Lake Superior shoreline vistas. The Tettegouche Lake Trail provides frequent views of the expansive lake. A self-guided interpretive trail leads to the cliffs of Shovel Point, the most prominent feature of the park’s stretch of shoreline.
Looking down shore from Shovel Point, you’ll see Palisade Head, another prominent rock formation. Both Palisade Head and Shovel Point are a favorite with rock climbers.
The hiking trails in the eastern part of the park climb through a birch and aspen forest. Farther inland, the terrain changes to high-forested ridges overlooking secluded lakes and streams that are typical of northeastern Minnesota’s Sawtooth Mountains.
The lakes (Mic Mac, Tettegouche, Nipisiquit and Nicado) all take a three to four-mile hike from the trailhead parking lot. More than a dozen side spurs lead up to ridge top overlooks or down into valleys.
One trail climbs to the top of Mount Baldy, 1,000 feet above Lake Superior, where you can see the Apostle Islands of Wisconsin on a clear day. The Sawtooth Mountains come alive with brilliant colors in autumn.
If you hike around Mic Mac Lake, you’ll come upon Tettegouche Camp, a former logging camp. After the red and white pine were logged off, the Alger-Smith Company sold the camp and surrounding acreage in 1910 to the Tettegouche Club, a group of businessmen from Duluth who used the area as a fishing camp and retreat.
Camping and Lodging
Four rustic cabins in Tettegouche Camp are available for rent year-round and can be reached only by foot, mountain bike, ski or snowshoe.
Another cabin overlooking Illgen Falls can be reached by car.
Tettegouche State Park grooms 15 miles of cross-county ski loops designed for intermediate and advanced skiers and a four-mile skate-skiing loop. Some of the classic trails lead to overlooks of the inland lakes and Lake Superior. It’s possible to ski or hike to the interior park lakes to ice fish. Snowshoeing and hiking are other ways to experience the park during the winter and you can warm up at the lodge at Tettegouche Camp.
More about skiing in the Silver Bay area