Mouth of Baptism River at Lake Superior at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

One of the best state parks in Minnesota (fifth most visited) and on the North Shore is the Tettegouche State Park. This scenic state park offers hiking trails along Lake Superior cliffs and the Baptism River as well as to the mouth of the river and to several waterfalls. One of the most breathtaking places in Minnesota, Palisade Head and Shovel Point in Tettegouche State Park offers panoramic views of Lake Superior. Tettegouche State Park is also a popular fishing and camping destination and one of only five state parks where you can rock climb.

See my related Minnesota state park series.


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Don’t miss these things to do at Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay, MN

Hiking trail at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Here are the top 10 things to do at Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay, Minnesota.

  1. Hike 23 miles of rugged and scenic terrain at Tettegouche State Park.
  2. Drive or hike to Palisade Head for one of the most beautiful views in Minnesota where the cliffs soar 300 feet above Lake Superior.
  3. Explore Shovel Point for another scenic view of Lake Superior.
  4. Chase four waterfalls at Tettegouche State Park which include High Falls, Cascades Waterfall, Two-Step Falls, and Illgen Falls.
  5. Rock climb at Shovel Point or Palisade Head  – one of only five state parks where you can rock climb.
  6. Visit the historic Tettegouche Camp on Mic Mac Lake where you can also rent canoes.
  7. Fish in the Baptism River or one of the six lakes within Tettegouche State Park.
  8. Camp next to the Baptism River, Superior Hiking Trail, or Lake Superior – a few winter campsites available.
  9. Check out the sea caves and sea stacks at Tettegouche State Park.
  10. Enjoy winter activities like winter hiking and cross-country skiing on 15.5 miles of groomed trails, or snowshoeing on ungroomed trails. Twelve miles of snowmobile trails are also located within Tettegouche State Park and connect to other regional trails.

Frequently asked questions about Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay, Minnesota

Mouth of Baptism River at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Where is Tettegouche State Park located? What is the address for Tettegouche State Park?

Tettegouche State Park visitor center is located at 5720 West Highway 61, Silver Bay, MN 55613. You can access many trailheads here. The entrance to Palisade Head, which is part of Tettegouche State Park, is located 1.5 miles south of the visitor center.

Additionally, the trailhead for Illgen Falls, one of four waterfalls at Tettegouche State Park, is located three miles northwest of the visitor center. Head north on Highway 61, take a left onto Highway 1 about 1.7 miles  away. After about a mile, you’ll find a small parking area next to the Illgen Falls trailhead on the left side of Highway 1. You know you’re in the right place as you can hear Illgen Falls from the parking area.

When is Tettegouche State Park open?

Tettegouche State Park is open year-round, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. The visitor center is open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Is Tettegouche State Park free? How much is the admission fee at Tettegouche State Park?

Admission to Tettegouche only costs $7 per vehicle per day ($5 per motorcycle). That includes unlimited visits to all Minnesota state parks on the same day. I highly recommend an annual pass, which gives you entrance to all Minnesota state parks. See the Minnesota DNR website for more information. And it’s highly recommended to pay online ahead of time. Minnesota state parks are no longer accepting cash self-payment envelopes on site.

You can also visit other Minnesota state parks for free four days each year. See my related post for this year’s free state park days. Admission to every Minnesota state park is free for all Minnesota state tribal members throughout the year.

Does Tettegouche State Park have a lake, river, or waterfall?

Illgen Falls and Baptism River at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Yes. Tettegouche State Park features six inland lakes, the Lake Superior shoreline, the Baptism River, and four waterfalls.

The lakes include:

  • Cedar Lake
  • Lax Lake
  • Mic Mac Lake
  • Nicado Lake
  • Nipisiquit Lake
  • Tetagouche Lake (yes, it’s spelled differently and features Floating Bog Bay)

Illgen Falls at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Tettegouche State Park waterfalls include:

  • Cascades Waterfall
  • High Falls
  • Illgen Falls (pictured)
  • Two Step Falls

Fall foliage colors and waterfall and river

At 63-feet tall, High Falls (pictured) at Tettegouche State Park is the tallest waterfall totally within Minnesota. The other High Falls in Minnesota, located on the U.S. and Canadian border and Grand Portage Nation) in Grand Portage State Park, is 120 feet tall.

Can you fish at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota?

Yes. Anglers may fish on the Baptism River and any of the six lakes in Tettegouche State Park. Popular fish include walleye and northern pike.

Does Tettegouche State Park have a swimming beach?

No. Swimming is not advised at Tettegouche State Park as the lake and river conditions are unpredictable and dangerous. However, Crystal Bay Beach on Lake Superior is nearby and next to Cave of the Waves, North Shore’s longest sea arch.

Can you boat at Tettegouche State Park? Does Tettegouche State Park offer a boat ramp?

You can rent a canoe and paddle the historic Mic Mac Lake. Additionally, sea kayaking is popular on the Lake Superior State Water Trail. Tettegouche State Park features trailer access and carry-in access.

Does Tettegouche State Park have a campground? Can you camp at Tettegouche State Park?

Illgen Falls cabin at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Yes. Tettegouche offers a variety of camping experiences year-round and three different campsites: Baptism River Campground and Tettegouche Camp and Lake Superior Cart-in Campground. They feature:

  • 28 secluded drive-in campsites with 8 of them available in the winter
  • 22 electric sites
  • RV parking length: 60 feet
  • 5 backpack sites on Superior Hiking Trail
  • 6 walk-in sites (with bearproof lockers available; available in the winter)
  • 13 cart-in sites (with bearproof lockers available; available in the winter)
  • 2 primitive group campsites (accommodate up to 35 people)

Additional lodging at Tettegouche State Park include:

  • 4 rustic walk-in cabins available year-round near Mic Mac Lake
  • A two-bedroom cabin next to Illgen Falls (pictured)

Tettegouche State Park also manages the nearby Finland and Eckbeck State Forest Campgrounds.

See my related post: SUV camping 101: Guide for beginners with FAQs

Where to stay near Tettegouche State Park?

Skylight with a blue sky and evergreen tree tops

If you’re not a camper or are visiting Tettegouche State Park in late fall and winter, I recommend staying at one of the best resorts centrally located on the North Shore. The dog-friendly Caribou Highlands Lodge, located just 33 miles north in Lutsen, MN, features ski-in, ski-out townhomes. While our stay at Caribou Highlands Lodge was hosted, opinions are always my own.

How do you pronounce Tettegouche?

I mispronounced Tettegouche for years (Tet-uh-gooch-e). I’ve also heard it pronounced Tet-uh-goosh. I saw on the back of the Tettegouche State Park’s visitor center’s restroom door that it is pronounced Tet-uh-gooch. But haven’t broken my habit of pronouncing it the wrong way yet.

How big is Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota?

Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota covers more than 9,300 acres.

Is Tettegouche State Park buggy? Mosquitos? Ticks?

Tettegouche State Park was not buggy when we hiked there in early June and early October. However, I always apply picaridin and Aunt Fanny’s DEET-free mosquito wipes when hiking in Minnesota state parks. .

How long and how difficult are the hiking trails at Tettegouche State Park?

Hiking trail along Lake Superior with stairs at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

While there are some easy paved and boardwalk trails, Tettegouche State Park primarily features 23 miles of moderate and very challenging hiking trails and several sets of stairs. You can determine how long to hike depending on your abilities.

Twelve miles of the iconic Superior Hiking Trail traverse through Tettegouche State Park.

Shovel Point overlooking Lake Superior at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Shovel Point Trail, with gravel, stairs, and a boardwalk, takes you along the cliffs overlooking Lake Superior (0.6 miles one-way).

Stairs in Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota hiking trail

High Falls Trail features stairs, gravel, rock, and steep terrain to reach two beautiful waterfalls,  High Falls and Two Step Falls (1.5-miles one-way). Note that this trail is partially closed due to flooding as of the publication date.

I’ve yet to hike to the Tettegouche Camp and Mount Baldy, but it’s on my list. This 3.5-mile loop is considered challenging with steep terrain. You can also hike from the parking lot near Lax Lake to reach Mount Baldy for some spectacular views.

Illgen Falls Tettegouche State Park Minnesota waterfall hike

It’s a relatively easy (with some uneven terrain) hike to Illgen Falls from the parking area on Highway 1. Lots of bare rock near the falls so take care and watch your step.

Cascades Waterfall at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Cascade Falls took some scrambling over boulders to reach the scenic cascading water (pictured). This 1.8 mile trail is currently closed as of the publication date. So always check for any alerts or seasonal updates (snow or flooding especially) that which may impact access to hiking trails.

Are hiking poles needed on the trails at Tettegouche State Park?

Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota hiking trail stairs

I did not use my hiking poles at Tettegouche State Park. However, they could come in handy as the hiking trail terrain is hilly, steep, and uneven with lots of stairs throughout the park. In the winter, you may want to consider crampons or metal spikes on your hiking boots.

Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing trails at Tettegouche State Park?

Yes. You can snowshoe on any of the ungroomed trails in Tettegouche State Park in the winter as well as cross-country ski on 15.5 miles of groomed trails and skate-ski on a 4-mile loop. Additionally, winter hiking to see the frozen waterfalls is magical. See my full review on the most scenic frozen waterfalls in Minnesota.

Can you snowmobile at Tettegouche State Park? Which state parks offer snowmobile trails?

Yes. You can snowmobile on 12 miles of snowmobile trails within Tettegouche State Park and connect to other regional trails.

What are the best views at Tettegouche State Park?

Palisade Head and Lake Superior at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota on the North Shore

Everywhere.

Seriously.

Tettegouche State Park offers spectacular views anywhere you hike. Palisade Head and Shovel Point offer panoramic views of Lake Superior. Then there’s the cliffside trails down to the mouth of the Baptism River. And you will find numerous overlooks, like Palisade Valley and Tettegouche Lake, on all the trails for some stunning views. Of course, the waterfall trails through the forested canopies offer gorgeous vistas.

See related post: Top 12 breathtaking views in Minnesota.

Are there bike trails at Tettegouche State Park?

Yes. The service road into Tettegouche Camp doubles as a bike trail. Additionally, you can mountain bike on 6.5 miles of ATV trails in Tettegouche State Park.

The nearby Gitchi-Gami State Trail is planning a future bike trail at Tettegouche State Park. Until then, you can enjoy a 14-mile segment between Gooseberry Falls State Park and Beaver Bay. Eventually, this trail will run interrupted from Two Harbors to Grand Marais, MN. Hover over Tettegouche State Park on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail website for details.

Does Tettegouche State Park feature equestrian trails?

No. Tettegouche State Park does not have horseback trails.

Can you rock climb at Tettegouche State Park? Which Minnesota state parks offer rock climbing? Where can I rock climb on the North Shore in Minnesota?

Rock climbing at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Yes. Tettegouche State Park offers free rock climbing passes at Palisade Head and Shovel Point. See this rock-climbing map for details. Note that you must apply for a rock climbing pass at individual state parks. Tettegouche State Park is only one of five state parks that offers rock climbing.

Here is a list of all the state parks in Minnesota where you can rock climb:


Does Tettegouche State Park have a visitor center? Modern restrooms?

Visitor center at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Yes. The Tettegouche State Park interpretive visitor center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily with modern restrooms open 24 hours. Take some time to visit and learn about the area’s history and culture. The visitor center also features a gift shop, amphitheater, patio, and enclosed front porch. You can also find two free electric vehicle charging stations in the Tettegouche State Park parking lot.

Modern facilities (showers and flush toilets) are available in the Baptism River Campground and Tettegouche Camp cabins at Tettegouche State Park for campers year-round. Vault toilets are available throughout Tettegouche State Park.

Is Tettegouche State Park dog-friendly?

Yes. Leashed dogs and pets are welcome on Tettegouche State Park hiking trails. All Minnesota state parks welcome dogs except inside buildings (service dogs, of course, are allowed). Leashes must be six feet or less.

Are there bears and moose at Tettegouche State Park? Other wildlife?

Moose and bears are rare at Tettegouche State Park. However, every time I have visited I saw black bear warning signs posted. Watch for other wildlife as more than 40 mammals call Tettegouche State Park home.

Is firewood available at Tettegouche State Park?

Yes. Firewood is available for sale at Tettegouche State Park when the park office is open or via the Yodel app. You can also purchase approved firewood at nearby stores or gas stations that sell certified wood.

To protect Minnesota trees, you can only burn certified wood on MN DNR land. Collection is not allowed in state parks and you may not bring firewood from home. This helps prevent spreading harmful insects and diseases.

How far is Tettegouche State Park from the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP) airport?

Tettegouche State Park is located 217 miles from the Minneapolis – St. Paul (MSP) International Airport.

What’s near Tettegouche State Park? Top things to do near Tettegouche State Park?

Caribou Falls State Wayside waterfall on North Shore Minnesota

Here are the top things to do near Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota.

  • Two of my favorite hidden gems are located near Tettegouche State Park. The unique Black Beach (yes, Minnesota has a black beach) is located less than 4 miles south of Tettegouche State Park. The North Shore’s Pink Beach, formally known as Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area, is located 16 miles south.
  • If you love waterfalls, check out Caribou Falls State Wayside 13 miles north of Tettegouche State Park. Gooseberry Falls State Park features four waterfalls and is located 19 miles south of Tettegouche State Park.
  • Tettegouche State Park is 34 miles south of Lutsen Mountains Ski and Summer Resort in Lutsen, Minnesota. The Midwest’s largest ski resort is open year round and in addition to skiing and snowboarding offers hiking, a gondola for spectacular views of Lake Superior, and an alpine slide. Read my full review of my hosted experience: Guide to Lutsen Mountains Ski and Summer Resort. Opinions are always my own.
  • Next door to Lutsen Mountains Ski and Summer Resort is the fabulous Caribou Highlands Lodge (which hosted my husband and me one winter). And located inside is one of the best places to eat on the North Shore: Mogul’s Bar and Tap Room.
  • Plan to hike all 66 Minnesota state parks? Then I recommend exploring the historic Split Rock Lighthouse State Park 12 miles south of Tettegouche State Park. Here you can hike and tour the historic lighthouse and grounds. See my full review: Guide to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Temperance River State Park is 22 miles north on the North Shore..  
  • Here’s a list of all my favorite stops on Minnesota’s scenic North Shore.

When was Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota established?

Tettegouche State Park was established in 1979.

How did Tettegouche State Park get its name?

It’s believed that Tettegouche is the French-Canadian word for meeting place. A Duluth-based group called the Tettegouche Club bought the logging camp from a lumber company and set it up as a fishing retreat. Eventually, the land was preserved as a Minnesota state park.

Does Tettegouche State Park host deer hunts? Is Tettegouche State Park closed during deer season?

Yes. Tettegouche State Park hosts a deer hunt typically in November each year and limits some areas of the park to the public.

For a complete list of which Minnesota state parks are closed or limited to the public during deer season, see this related post: Hiker safety: MN state parks that host deer hunts.

Hiking safety tip during deer season: Wear bright orange when hiking during deer season. I typically avoid hiking at all even if the state park is partially open to non-hunters.

Sources: My own experiences, MN DNR website, and park signage and literature.

A list of the best Minnesota state parks

Shovel Point Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

All Minnesota state parks are the best in my opinion. You can read reviews of each one to create your own list of top-ranked Minnesota state parks: Take the Minnesota state park challenge


Pin it for later: A local’s guide to Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota

Please share and pin this guide for when you visit Tettegouche State Park in MN – one of the best Minnesota state parks for scenic hikes, waterfalls, rock climbing, and camping.

Guide to the top things to do at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota - collage

Guide to the top things to do at Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota - waterfall and river

Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

24 comments

  1. I loved reading about Tettegouche State Park, sounds like an amazing place….and your photography is absolutely breathtaking! I was transported there with every photo! Definitely need to plan a trip out there to take it all in in person.

  2. We have always wanted to see the north shore of Minnesota and Lake Superior. It sounds like Tettegouche State Park is the perfect choice. And you know we will be checking out all the great waterfalls. Good to know there are options for things to see and do in all seasons.

  3. Wow Tettegouche State Park looks gorgeous! That pathway through the trees calls to me. I’d love to spend a day hiking there.

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