Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park, located just outside of Silver Bay in Lake county, encompasses over 9,000 acres of pristine wilderness and offers a variety of activities for visitors. It is the home to several lakes and rivers, as well as miles of scenic hiking trails and a beautiful visitor’s center.
One of the park’s most iconic physical features- a sea arch or rock bridge connected the cliffs to a sea stack in Lake Superior, collapsed in 2010. For nine years, the sea stack stood alone out in the lake until a winter storm took it down on November 30th, 2019. This change of scenery taught many to take the time to explore everything there is to see because you never know when it will no longer be there. Here are just some ideas of what you can do during a day in the park:
Take a Hike:
Hike up to the High Falls waterfall, the highest waterfall located entirely within Minnesota. Or, head over to one of the six inland lakes contained within the park. They are known for northern pike and walleye fishing. With 22 miles of hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, you are sure to find a route that works for you. Our favorite hike is the 2-mile round trip hike from the visitor’s center to Shovel Point.
Have a Picnic:
There are four picnic areas spread throughout Tettegouche State Park. We love the picnic area near Nipisquit Lake and Tettegouch Camp.
Enjoy the Visitor Center:
Interpretive exhibits include information on the park’s cultural and natural features. The center also has a gift shop so you can pick up a souvenir to remember your North Shore vacation. During the summer months, you may even find live music and naturalist classes happening at the Visitor’s Center.
Print out the Tettegouche State Park bird checklist and grab your binoculars- this park is full of winged beauties! Keep an eye out for some of the park’s other non-human residents, too. You might have the chance to spot moose, black bear, white-tail deer, and the occasional northern flying squirrel.
Go Rock Climbing:
Tettegouche State Park features over 100 climbs to choose from, including those from the famous Palisade Head – a challenging vertical climb right off the Lake Superior shoreline. Enjoy climbs such as “Old Men in Tight Pants”, “Driving in Duluth”, “Danger High Voltage”, and “Long Distance Commute”. A free annual permit is required and can be obtained at the visitor’s center.
Visit the Mouth of the Baptism River:
Located a short hike from the Visitor’s Center, the Baptism River flows into Lake Superior creating a cobblestone sand bar. This spot is a local favorite for sunbathing and dipping your toes in the warm river water (or cold lake water) in the summer months.
Go Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing:
In the winter, enjoy miles of groomed trails make enjoying the park in the winter months easy and enjoyable. Grab your skis and snowshoes and check out the Visitor’s Center for maps and other information.
Finally, the Silver Trail Riders system connects to the North Shore State Trail in Tettegouche State Park. Within the park, you can enjoy over 12 miles of groomed trails in the winter months.
Tettegouche State Park is located at 5702 Highway 61 just a few miles outside of Silver Bay in Lake County. To get there, just take Highway 61 and look for signs for the park and Visitor’s Center on the lakeside of the highway. Other parts of Tettegouche State Park, such as Palisade Head, can be accessed off of Highway 61.
Parking is free in the Visitor’s Center parking lot. Parking elsewhere in the park requires a day pass or annual pass to access. Normal fees associated with camping in state parks applies to camping at Tettegouche State Park.
Hours and Seasonality:
Tettegouche State Park, including the Visitor’s Center and campground, is open year-round. The park is open from 8 AM-10 PM. The Visitor’s Center staffing hours vary with the season, but you can usually find it staffed between 9 AM-4 PM. The Visitor’s Center restrooms are available 24/7. At the campground, the showers and flush toilet facilities are open year-round.
The parking lot, Visitor’s Center, campground, Illgen Falls cabin, and a few trails are handicap accessible. Other trails require stairs to access.
Camping and Lodging:
Campsites and cabins are both available at Tettegouche State Park. At the campground, you will find 28 drive-in sites, 22 electric sites, 5 backpack sites, 6 walk-in sites, 13 cart-in sites, 5 kayak sites, and 2 group camping sites that can each accommodate 35 people. The shower facility, flush toilets, and vault toilets are all available year-round. There is no dump station at Tettegouche State Park.
In addition to the campground, you will find two cabin sites. Tettegouche Camp is only accessible by foot, mountain bike, cross-country skies, or snowshoes and is located 3.5 miles from the main park trailhead. There are four cabins, a shower building and toilet facility, and a one-room lodge that is great for socializing. The camp is located on Mic Mac Lake. Then, the Illgen Falls Cabin is located near the Baptism River overlooking the Illgen Falls. The cabin has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a gas fireplace, and kitchen facilities. The Illgen Falls Cabin is handicap accessible.
More information on the cabins and campsites can be found on the Tettegouche State Park DNR website.
Most cell phone users report that their phones work well when near the Visitor’s Center, Shovel Point, Palisade Head, and the mouth of the Baptism River. Cell service may be less reliable in other areas of the park.
A Clipper Creek 120 volt electric vehicle charging station is located in the northwest corner of the main Visitor’s Center parking lot. It has two cables and is free to use.
Information on this page is subject to change. For current information, including contact information, current hours of operation, and camping information please visit the official Tettegouche State Park DNR website.
Exploring the North Shore Podcast visited Palisade Head in Tettegouche State Park during the Silver Bay to Grand Marais road trip episode. Listen now: