Minnesota North Shore – Judge CR Magney State Park

DSC_7835-EditJudge C.R. Magney is the seventh park you will encounter along the North Shore.  Devil’s Kettle Falls is the main draw here. This is a very unusual, and even mysterious waterfall.  As you can see in the featured image, the river is split in two as it goes over the falls.  The section on the right, lands at the base of the falls and continues downstream.  The section on the left vanishes into a pothole known as the Devil’s Kettle and no one knows where it goes.  It is believed that the water makes its way out to Lake Superior by means of underground passages, but the exact details are unknown.   They have thrown dyes and logs and other things into the pothole, but apparently nothing ever comes out. If you have ever worried about falling over a waterfall, imagine falling into the Devil’s Kettle.  Read more on Devil’s Kettle


Concrete foundations in the campground and picnic areas of the park are remnants of a transient work camp built there in 1934 by the State. The camp provided work and lodging for men displaced during the Depression years. In addition to building trails, logging, and completing public service projects, these men helped fight a fire in 1935 that burned more than 10,000 acres in the area. Later the men set up a sawmill and began to salvage fire-damaged wood.

In 1957, a 940-acre parcel of forest along the Brule River was set aside as Brule River State Park. The park became Judge C. R. Magney State Park in 1963 when the Minnesota legislature selected this park as a memorial to the late Judge Magney, a lawyer, mayor of Duluth, justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, and a strong advocate of Minnesota State Parks, especially those along the North Shore. With his influence, he was instrumental in establishing 11 state parks and waysides along Lake Superior. Over the years, parcels of land have been added to the park which today totals 4,642 acres.

More than half of those 4,642 acres have no trails.  The upper two-thirds of land this park occupies has almost no trails.  The only trail runs parallel with the Brule River and eventually veers off to connect with the Superior Hiking Trail.    There are 9 total miles of hiking trails in the park.  this park has a good amount of semi-modern drive-up campsites.  Fishing opportunities are plentiful here on the Brule River or a tributary, Gauthier Creek, for brook and rainbow trout.  The spring time brings on the steelhead run and fall host the salmon run.

Here are my shots of Judge C. R. Magney from a recent visit.

The State Parks:  (1) Gooseberry Falls |(2) Split Rock Lighthouse | (3) Tettegouche | (5) Temperance River | (6) Cascade River | (7) Judge C.R. Magney | (8) Grand Portage


12 Replies to “Minnesota North Shore – Judge CR Magney State Park”

  1. Oh how I remember those stairs… I also remember the family that hiked this path- 2 Adults, 3 kids (2 under the age of 7 or 8 and 1 being carried on Dad’s back) CRAZY, but they did it!!! I love these shots from the parks and all of the waterfalls. The history behind the parks gives us the whole picture. My favorite is the image of Devil’s kettle. Great job babe ( as usual).

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