The third point of interest we found on our way up the North Shore to Temperance River State Park is the Two Island River. It is approximately 15 miles long and flows into Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota at Taconite Harbor. This private harbor is maintained by the Minnesota Power Company and Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. The harbor is a basin less than a mile long and not quite a half mile wide, protected by Gull and Bear Island and a series of breakwaters.
There isn’t a wayside rest here although it would be a perfect candidate for just that. With coal power plants under environmental pressure, the Taconite Harbor Energy Center may completely shutdown at some point (at least 1 of 3 turbines by 2016). Train tracks criss-cross the river with the large taconite operation in the immediate vicinity. Big industry and the public milling about recreating isn’t necessarily an ideal equation I suppose. One can image and dream though.
I still maintain this would be a wonderful location of an expansive wayside rest with a short trail upstream along the cascading waterfalls and another down to Lake Superior. Beautiful views of the waterfalls, river and the numerous wildflowers in full bloom made this an easy decision to turn around, park and explore further.
Schroder, just up the road, is another great place to stop. There is a pretty good set of cascades on the Cross River – depending on the water level and flow – which all of the North Shore rivers and waterfalls are subject to. Google Maps captured a photographer capturing the scene as it did its drive-by.
Here are my shots from our stop along side Hwy 61 at the bridge over Two Island River.