A Meeting Place: Tettegouche State Park


Located on the Minnesota shoreline of Lake Superior, Tettegouche State Park is home to High Falls, Shovel Point, historic campgrounds, and stunning vistas. We were there on a warm spring day and hiked along the Baptism River, across the old suspension bridge, and down to the bottom of High Falls – the second highest waterfall in Minnesota.  With the roar of the rapidly moving water and the sun on our faces, we stopped often along the trail to breath in the heavy smells of pine trees.

the view from below of high falls at tettegouche state park

Following the Minnesota Hiking Club Trail to Shovel Point, we took in the views of Lake Superior and its dramatic shoreline. The rocky cliffs in the area are one of the few natural nesting sites for Peregrine falcons left in the state; in fact, Minnesota’s North Shore represents 70% of the natural nesting sites recorded in Minnesota. We learned of these awesome birds firsthand because one surprised us on the trail, shrieking as it flew past us on the hunt.

hiking club hike at tettegouche state park along lake superior

The warm sun was no match for the cold wind blowing off Lake Superior, still we lingered on the bluff while we took in the view. A dear friend once referred to Lake Superior as “Minnesota’s Ocean,” and that is what I’ve called it ever since.

a view of lake superior from tettegouche

Standing on Shovel Point makes for an even more dramatic experience. The North Shore has unique examples of volcanic rock which are even more pronounced at this location where you see rhyolite, a light volcanic rock compared to the more common, dark basalt seen in other areas. It is humbling to think that 1.1 billion years ago, deep-sourced basaltic lava poured out from a rift that ran from Lake Superior all the way to Kansas to form this rugged land.

the view from shovel point at tettegouche state park

The name Tettegouche comes from an old French-Canadian phrase meaning “meeting place.” The Alger-Smith Lumber Company began logging in the area in 1898 and by 1910, most of the Norway and white pine were gone. The area was sold to a group of businessmen from Duluth who used it at a fishing camp. One of its members eventually took ownership and the area was protected privately until it was established as a state park in 1979.

minnesota's north shore from tettegouche state park

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Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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