In northeast Minnesota, situated along the north shore of Lake Superior is Tettegouche State Park. A prime example of the North Shore Highlands Biocultural Region, the various terrains throughout the park are the perfect backdrop for your next RV adventure. Prior to being established as a Minnesota State Park in 1979, a portion of the 9,346 acres was once a retreat for businessmen to enjoy activities such as hunting and fishing. Today, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities during any season. With warm summers and below freezing winters, activities range from swimming in Lake Superior to snow skiing in the winter months.
Take a walk along the North Shore of Lake Superior to get a glimpse of giant rock cliffs and pebbled beaches or hike along miles of trails to spot scenic vistas of the Sawtooth Mountains. Forest trails also offer amazing opportunities to spot wildlife with over 40 species of mammals and more than 140 bird species. You can also enjoy waterfalls, meadows, forests and six inland lakes all within the park and just steps away from your RV.
RV Rentals in Tettegouche State Park
Transportation in Tettegouche State Park
Located just 58 miles northeast of Duluth, the park entrance is 4 1/2 miles northeast of Silver Bay, conveniently located on Minnesota State Highway 61. This makes accessing the park in your RV or travel trailer worry-free. Much of the park is not accessible by vehicle, apart from some ATV and snowmobile trails, seasonally. All vehicles must purchase a vehicle permit upon entry, and if you are setting up camp in the park, this is not included in your site fees. Park roads can accommodate any size rig but be aware that sites are limited to 60 feet in length, including a tow vehicle if you are staying in a travel trailer.
There are several locations available for parking, just be sure to have your permit prior to entry, except for when arriving at the main visitor’s center at the park entrance, where you can purchase your permit. Parking is also available off county highway 31 if you want to park at the Tettegouche Camp Trailhead for a day of hiking. Again, much of the park is only accessible by foot, mountain bikes, or other seasonal options like snowshoeing and skiing. Setting up your RV camp inside the park is the best way to get the most out of your visit.
Campgrounds and parking in Tettegouche State Park
Campsites in Tettegouche State Park
Because there are only 28 drive-in sites, 22 of which are equipped with 20- and 50-amp electrical hookups, reservations are highly recommended. You can contact the park by phone or make reservations online as well. Drive-in sites can accommodate RV and travel trailers up to 60 feet in length, including your tow vehicle. The one downside to camping at Tettegouche in your RV is there is no on-site dump station. The nearest one is in the city of Silver Bay and is available year-round.
If you are not able to make a reservation, or you just happen to find yourself in the area and decide to park the rig for just one night, sites that have not been reserved may be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are only 28 drive-in camp sites available in the park, so reservations are crucial if you want to step out of your RV and into the park.
Alternate/Off Park Camping
If all else fails and you simply cannot get a reservation during your travel dates, there are some nearby private campgrounds available to host your base camp. Many of the nearby options will not have any electrical hookups and may only have outhouses and pump water available. There are several other camping options in the park however, including kayak sites and rustic cabins available for rent. These are walk-in only of course, or you can cart-in your supplies to a primitive riverside site as well.
Seasonal activities in Tettegouche State Park
Listed on the national register of historic places, Tettegouche Camp is a great destination for a day hike in the Spring and Summer. Situated on Micmac Lake, enjoy swimming, kayaking, or a delicious picnic after your hike to the camp.
There are nearly 23 miles of trails throughout the park. Approximately 12 miles of the Superior Hiking Trail makes up a portion of the available trails and is a moderate to difficult trail. For those willing to push their limits, the rewards include beautiful views of Lake Superior and several inland lakes, as well as enchanting northern hardwood forests.
One of the easier hikes found in the park will take you to the tallest waterfall entirely located in the state, High Falls. The tallest falls are technically High Falls of the Pigeon River; however, they fall partially in Ontario. There are two access points for the trail, and if you visit both High Falls and Two Step Falls the total round trip is anywhere from 1.5 to 3 miles. View High Falls from an overlook platform on the trail, and cross over a suspension bridge to get a bit closer and even take a dip.
Two Step Falls
Another wonder of the park is Two Step Falls, located about a half-mile hike past the suspension bridge which takes you to High Falls. Two Step Falls is unique, as there are two tiers each featuring a drop of about ten feet. Some staggered steps lead you off the trail to these falls, but nothing too difficult for most visitors.
Climbing Cliff Crags
Another popular activity in the park is climbing. The high cliffs along Lake Superior offer a unique way to experience and view the shoreline. Shovel Point is a bit more moderate than the other cliff crags found at Tettegouche, making it popular for boy scout troops and church groups. Top ropers will also enjoy the sights from Shovel Point, however Palisade Head is for more serious climbers.
There are a variety of trails totaling 15.5 miles dedicated to cross-country skiing. Winter offers a quieter experience in the park as there are fewer visitors this time of year. Catch a glimpse of winter wildlife at its finest, with the forest floor blanketed in white. Just be sure to dress accordingly.
The inland lakes including Micmac Lake, Nipisquit, Nicado and Tettegouche, all offer excellent opportunities for a remote ice fishing experience. Many of the trails are maintained throughout the winter, making access to the lakes convenient. Temperatures are most suitable for ice fishing in the dead of winter, as temperatures during early and late winter often rise above freezing.
Just as there are ATV trails available in the park, access is also available for snowmobiles during the winter months. Check out 12 miles of the Silver Trial Riders system within the park or use the park trails to connect with other area trails such as the North Shore State Trail.
A unique way to venture around the park during the winter months is snowshoeing. Snowshoes can be used anywhere throughout the park except on groomed trails. A top location for snowshoeing is along the Baptism River, where you can find wildlife and winter flora along the river’s icy edges.
Winter Camping 101
The park offers different activities throughout the year. During their Winter Camping 101 event, visitors can learn about winter camping and survival from the Tettegouche State Park Naturalist and other staff. Activities including building a traditional quinzhee, which is an insulated snow cave used for shelter, as well as learning to cook outdoors in the snow. This can be a day or overnight event, if you choose to stay in the quinzhee you helped build.