The Ultimate Guide to Minnesota’s North Shore: Hike, Camp & Discover

Ah, the North Shore! It’s a Minnesotan gem and we’re fiercely proud of it — with understandable reason, once you take a look around. These waterfalls and cliffside views of Lake Superior are the epitome of legit.

Whether you’re chucking your phone in the glovebox and going off-grid for a whole week or just taking a quick jaunt away from the city, this landscape offers serious respite from the busy day-to-day matters of life. And hey, summer’s not too far away, so we’ve compiled a deep dive into the area to help you plan your trip accordingly:

 

Lace up your boots and hike at these spots…

Photo credit: @thewanderlust_rose at Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park 

  1. Location: Two Harbors – 3206 MN-61, Two Harbors, MN 55616
  2. Highlight: Waterfalls 
  3. Trail length: 18 miles 
    1. Easy – Difficult 
    2. Depending on trails 30 – 150 minutes 
  4. Cost: State Park Pass ($7 a day or $35 for the season) 
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Photo credit: @thewanderlust_rose at Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse 

  1. Location: Two Harbors – 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616 
  2. Highlight: Cobblestone beaches and forests 
  3. Trail length: 12 miles 
    1. Easy – Moderate 
    2. Depending on personal preference 20 – 90 minutes 
  4. Cost: Free
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Photo credit: @thewanderlust_rose at Black Beach

Black Beach 

  1. Location: Silver Bay – Silver Bay, MN 55614
  2. Highlight: Beautiful black sand beach 
  3. Trail length: 10 miles 
    1. Easy 
    2. Depending on personal preference 20 – 120 minutes 
  4. Cost: Free
  5. Pets: N/A

 

Photo credit: @bennett_young at Palisade Head

Palisade Head 

  1. Location: Beaver Bay – Beaver Bay Township, MN 55614
  2. Highlight: Breathtaking views of Lake Superior and towering cliffs 
  3. Trail length: 2.6 miles  
    1. Easy 
    2. Depending on personal preference 20 – 60 minutes 
  4. Cost: Free
  5. Pets: Not Allowed

 

Photo credit: @thewanderlust_rose at High Creek Falls, Tettegouche State Park

Tettegouche State Park 

  1. Location: Silver Bay – 5702 Highway 61, Silver Bay, MN 55614
  2. Highlight: Six inland lakes, four waterfalls, and two iconic headlands & beaches 
  3. Trail length: 23 miles 
    1. Easy – Difficult
    2. Depending on trails 30 – 180 minutes ~ plan for 2 hours ish
  4. Cost: State Park Pass ($7 a day or $35 for the season) 
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Temperance River State Park 

  1. Location: Schroeder – 7620 West, MN-61, Schroeder, MN 55613
  2. Highlight: Popular for the geologic formations along the river gorge 
  3. Trail length: 22 miles 
    1. Easy – Moderate
    2. Depending on trails 30 – 120 minutes 
  4. Cost: State Park Pass ($7 a day or $35 for the season)  ~ if you park on the road it’s free
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Cascade River State Park  

  1. Location: Lutsen – 3481 West Highway 61, Lutsen, MN 55612
  2. Highlight: 6-tiered waterfall 
  3. Trail length: 18 miles  
    1. Moderate
    2. Depending on trails 30 – 240 minutes 
  4. Cost: State Park Pass ($7 a day or $35 for the season)
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Devil’s Kettle Falls (Judge CR Magney State Park) 

  1. Location: Grand Marais – Superior Hiking Trail, Grand Marais, MN 55604 
  2. Highlight: River through a mass of volcanic rock, lounging 50 feet into a pool and half into a massive pothole 
  3. Trail length: 9 miles
    1. Moderate
    2. Depending on trails 90 – 120 minutes 
  4. Cost: State Park Pass ($7 a day or $35 for the season)
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Grand Portage State Park

  1. Location: Grand Portage – 9393 East Highway 61, Grand Portage, MN 55605
  2. Highlights: Minnesota’s tallest waterfall and on the Canadian border
  3. Trail length: 6 miles 
    1. Easy – Difficult
    2. Depending on trails 30 – 180 minutes 
  4. Cost: State Park Pass ($7 a day or $35 for the season) 
  5. Pets: Allowed

 

Hang your hat and camp at these spots afterwards…

Photo credit: @emmasievers

State Parks Campgrounds 

 

Nearby Campgrounds

  • Two Harbors 
      • Sullivan Lake 
        • 38 minutes (34.4 miles) from Gooseberry Falls State Park 
        • 31 minutes (28.7 miles) from Split Rock Lighthouse 
      • Burlington Bay Campground 
        • 13 minutes (12.4 miles) from Gooseberry Falls State Park 
        • 20 minutes (19.3 miles) from Split Rock Lighthouse 
      • Penmarallter Campground 
        • 19 minutes (16.5 miles) from Gooseberry Falls State Park 
        • 26 minutes (23.5 miles) from Split Rock Lighthouse 
  • Silver Bay 
      • Lax Lake Campground 
        • 14 minutes (8.7 miles) from Black Beach 
        • 12 minutes (9.8 miles) from Tettegouche State Park 
        • 14 minutes (11.4 miles) from Palisade Head 
        • 16 minutes (12.7 miles) from Split Rock Lighthouse 
        • 20 minutes (18 miles) from Gooseberry Falls State Park 
      • Black Beach Municipal Campground 
        • 3 minutes (0.8 miles) or 15 minute walk from Black Beach
        • 5 minutes (2.9 miles) Palisade Head 
        • 5 minutes (4.1 miles) from Tettegouche State Park 
        • 11 minutes (8.8) miles from Split Rock Lighthouse 
        • 16 minutes (14.5 miles) from Gooseberry Falls State Park 
      • Eckbeck Campground 
        • 5 minutes (3.5 miles) from Tettegouche State Park
        • 9 minutes (5.5 miles) from Palisade Head
        • 12 minutes (7.6 miles) from Black Beach 
        • 19 minutes (16.1 miles) from Split Rock Lighthouse 
        • 25 minutes (21.7 miles) from Gooseberry Falls State Park 
  • Schoreder 
  • Lutsen 
      • Clara Lake
        • 23 minutes (15 miles) from Cascade River State Park
      • White Pine Lake 
        • 19 minutes (12.6 miles) from Cascade River State Park
  • Grand Marais
    •  Grand Marais Campground & Marina 
      • 10 minutes (4.4 miles) from Devil’s Kettle Falls 
      • 19 minutes (14.8 miles) from Judge CR Magney State Park 
    • Kimball Lake
      • 25 minutes (11.4 miles) from Devil’s Kettle Falls 
      • 24 minutes (15.6 miles) from Cascade River State Park
    • Devil Track Lake
      • 34 minutes (27.3 miles) from Devil’s Kettle Falls 
      • 22 minutes (15.5 miles) from Cascade River State Park
    • Two Island Lake 
      • 36 minutes (28.8 miles) from Devil’s Kettle Falls 
      • 24 minutes (17 miles) from Cascade River State Park
    • Cascade River Campground 
      • 21 minutes (11.6 miles) from Cascade River State Park
      • 39 minutes (26.5 miles) from Devil’s Kettle Falls 

 

And if you’re staying for the whole weekend, here’s an itinerary:

Photo credit: @electricestrogen

 

DAY 1 – FRIDAY: MINNEAPOLIS TO TWO HARBORS 

3 hours and 5 minutes 

  • Pick up Voyager Campervan at 2:00 pm 
    • 2657 S 32nd Ave #3, Minneapolis, MN 55406  

 

DAY 2 – SATURDAY: State Parks, Beaches, and Cliffs 

Start adventure around 7:00 am and pack lunch for later 

  • Stop #1: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park 

 

  • Stop #2: Black Beach 
    • 16 minutes (10.1 miles) from Split Rock Lighthouse State Park 
    • Silver Bay, MN 55614 
      • Beautiful black sand beach 
      • 10 miles 
      • Easy 
      • Depending on personal preference 20 – 120 minutes 
      • Free
      • Pets: N/A

Photo credit: @bennett_young at Palisade Head

 

  • Stop #4: Tettegouche State Park – Lunch break!
    • 2 minutes (1.7 miles) from Palisade Head
    • 5702 Highway 61, Silver Bay, MN 55614
      • Most popular and must-see hiking destination – six inland lakes, four waterfalls, and two iconic headlands & beaches 
      • 23 miles 
      • Easy – Difficult
      • Depending on trails 30 – 180 minutes ~ plan for 2 hours ish
      • State Park Pass 
      • Pets: Allowed

 

  •  
  • Stop #5: Temperance River State Park 
    • 23 minutes (21.3 miles) from Tettegouche State Park 
    • 7620 West, MN-61, Schroeder, MN 55613 

 

 

But if you *do* have enough time for Cascade River State Park…

  • Stop #6: Cascade River State Park
    • 17 minutes (15.5 miles) from Temperance River State Park 
    • 3481 West Highway 61, Lutsen, MN 55612 
    •  
    • $18 – $24 depending on season  

 

DAY 3 – SUNDAY: Drive back to Minneapolis 

Photo credit: @thewanderlust_rose

Drop off Campervan by 11:00 am – Leave current location by 6:00 – 6:30 am  

  • Leave Campsite between 6:00 – 6:30 am 
    • Leaving from Cascade River State Park: 4 hours and 11 minutes (257 miles) 
    • Leaving from Temperance River State Park: 3 hours 49 minutes (236 miles) 
    • 2657 S 32nd Ave #3, Minneapolis, MN 55406  

 

DAY 3 – SUNDAY: Extra Day 

If you planned an extra day – start adventure around 7:00 am. If you didn’t have enough time on Day 2 — start here or skip to Stop #2.

  • Stop #1: Cascade River State Park
    • 17 minutes (15.5 miles) from Temperance River State Park 
    • 3481 West Highway 61, Lutsen, MN 55612 
  • Stop #2: Devil’s Kettle Falls (Judge CR Magney State Park) 
    • 36 minutes (29.3 miles) from Cascade River State Park
    • Superior Hiking Trail, Grand Marais, MN 55604 

Have Lunch Here

  • Stop #3: Grand Portage State Park 
      • 31 minutes (26.3 miles) from Devil’s Kettle Falls 
      • 9393 East Highway 61, Grand Portage, MN 55605
  • Stop #4: Watch the Sunset at Artist’s Point 
  • 49 minutes (40.8 miles) from Grand Portage State Park 
      • Artist’s Point, Grand Marais, Minnesota 55604
        • Breathtaking tide pools and rocky shores 
        • 0.3 miles 
        • Easy
        • Depending on personal preference 30 – 60 minutes 
        • Free
        • Pets: Allowed
    • 7 minutes (3.7 miles) from Cascade River State Park 
    • $18 – $24 depending on season  

 

DAY 4 – MONDAY: Drive back to Minneapolis 

Drop off the campervan by 11:00 am — Leave current location by 6:00 – 6:30 am  

  • Leave the campsite between 6:00 – 6:30 am 
    • Leaving from Cascade River State Park: 4 hours and 11 minutes (257 miles) 
    • Destination: 2657 S 32nd Ave #3, Minneapolis, MN 55406 

follow the adventure

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2021-01-20T05:03:37+00:00

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