Minnesota North Shore – The In-Between, Day 2

Day2The second day started much like how the first ended – heavy think fog blanketing our surroundings.  The fog certainly added an extra element to the photos though.  After a bit of breakfast at the lodge we made our way out to the fish house and then out to the point.  The hike was great – especially in the fog.

After leaving Cove Point Lodge we went back South to visit Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.  It was too late the previous afternoon to Split Rock Lighthouse.  We spent a great foggy morning there before heading back North and stopping at Palisade Head.  There essentially was no view at Palisade Head, other than a ship heading for shore in some very dense fog.  Tettegouche State Park was the next stop.  We ended up skipping Gerorge Crosby Manitou State Park.  The entrance isn’t right off of Hwy 61 and we just plain missed the turn.  We continued on our way and visited Temperance River State Park as well as Cascade River State Park before arriving in Grand Marais.  We secured a room for the night at The Shoreline Inn and made our way to My Sister’s Place for a much anticipated evening meal.  Traveling & photography are hungry business.

Here are my shots of the Minnesota North Shore – The in between, Day 2


Minnesota North Shore – Two Harbors Waterfront

It was a beautiful morning with a touch of fog rolling about on the lake.  A quick visit to the waterfront and a stroll out along the breakwater was in order.  From this vantage point it was easy to get a better view of the exterior of the abandoned site we just came from.  The left behind Polaroid made you wonder – who was she, where was she from and what did she think about the beautiful place.  The lone fisherman set against the lake and fog was interesting as well.  The stroll was short, but pleasant.  There is only one bad thing about traveling the North Shore of Minnesota; that is realizing it is time to head back home :-/

Minnesota North Shore – Two Island River/Taconite Harbor

TaconiteHarborThe 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 TaconiteTwoIslandRiver-TaconiteHarbor 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.

Cross River - Schroeder, MN -Google Maps
Cross River – Schroeder, MN
-Google Maps, Street View

Here are my shots from our stop along side Hwy 61 at the bridge over Two Island River.

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

Minnesota North Shore – Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls is the first state park you will encounter heading North from Duluth.  This “gateway to the North Shore” is situated 40 scenic miles North from Duluth along Hwy 61 and the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline.  Known primarily for its waterfalls, five in all, this park offers some tremendous views of the awesome power of water.  The 23 mile long Gooseberry River runs through the park with varying degrees of volume as it is highly dependent on rain water runoff.  The river was plump with water for our visit in July; we photographed all but Fifth Falls.  Other items of interest include Agate Beech and the 18 miles of hiking trails, of which 8 are mountain biking trails.  There is no shortage of things to see at this park.


The area known as Gooseberry Falls State Park is intricately tied to human use of Lake Superior. At different times, the Cree, the Dakotah, and the Ojibwe lived along the North Shore. As early as 1670, the Gooseberry River appeared on explorer maps. The river was either named after the French explorer Sieur des Groseilliers or after the Anishinabe Indian name, Shab-on-im-i-kan-i-sibi; when translated, both refer to gooseberries. In the 1870s, commercial and sport fishermen began to use this area.

By the 1890s, logging became the principle use of the land around the Gooseberry River. In 1900, the Nestor Logging Company built its headquarters at the river mouth and a railway was used to carry the pine to the lake for rafting to the sawmills. Because of fires and intensive logging pressures, the pine disappeared by the early 1920s.

With the rise of North Shore tourism in the 1920s, there was a concern that the highly scenic North Shore would be accessible only to the rich. As a result the Legislature authorized preservation of the area around Gooseberry Falls in 1933. The following year, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began to develop the park. CCC crews built the park’s stone and log buildings and the 300-foot long “Castle in the Park” stone retaining wall. They also laid out the original campground, picnic grounds and trails. The area officially became Gooseberry Falls State Park in 1937. The CCC camps closed in 1941, but the park’s CCC legacy lives on. Designed with ties to the CCC, a new visitor center/wayside rest and Highway 61 bridge was opened in 1996. CCC camp photo albums: Camp life  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.Buildings/historic site  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.Legacy Self-guided Tour checklist & map  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it..

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