State parks

Jay Cooke re-opens after June flood
October 22, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Jay Cooke re-opens after June flood

After the floodJay Cooke State Park is one of the great recreational assets of the North Shore area. I feature it in every book I've written. It's got great ski trails, a terrific campground, and miles of diverse hiking.But since the June flood, the park has been completely closed. All of the major roads leading into the park were severely damaged. Even the iconic Swinging Bridge over the St. Louis River was half-destroyed. As the salty old Mainer would say, "You can't get they-uh from hee-uh." Today, the park reopened to the public, but just in part. Of the three … read more


Climbing Mount Baldy: Through Tettegouche’s back door
September 26, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Climbing Mount Baldy: Through Tettegouche’s back door

Here are three good reasons to hike to Mount Baldy in the heart of the Tettegouche backcountry this weekend: Chances are, you've never hiked to Mount Baldy. The fall colors will be at their peak and the views will be gorgeous. While hundreds of folks circle the top of popular spots like Oberg Mountain, you can have an equally beautiful view and hike all to yourself.  The hikeIt's a 1.4 mile hike to Mount Baldy from the parking lot on Lax Lake Road, making for a 2.8 mile round trip experience. Before you go, download a map of the park here. The first … read more


Swim the North Shore
August 5, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Swim the North Shore

Folks are swimming in the lake off the North Shore like never before. The water is crystal clear and freakishly warm. The map above is from this weekend, showing water temperatures across Lake Superior. The reds are about 70 degrees, and the purple around Duluth and the Apostle Islands shows water in the mid-70s. This warm water will go away any day now. All it will take will be a good northwest breeze like the one blowing today. That breeze will blow the warm water away from the North Shore. Up from the depths of the 800-foot deep North Shore trench … read more


Sea kayak the Tettegouche shoreline
June 1, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Sea kayak the Tettegouche shoreline

This morning I was out in a small boat on big Lake Superior. It had been way too long since I took a sea kayak down to the rocky North Shore and paddled along those cliffs and beaches. At Tettegouche State Park, I drove in just past the visitor center to a small parking lot by the Baptism River. From there, I carried my boat about 150 yards down to the mouth of the Baptism (Funny, last time I did that 20 years ago it was a whole lot easier).Once I squeezed myself through the hatch and into the boat, I … read more


Make your North Shore campsite reservations now
April 2, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Make your North Shore campsite reservations now

After six months of repair and frustration, the Minnesota DNR's state park reservation system seems to be up and running. As of today, you can reserve your choice of North Shore campsites as far as 12 months in advance. Act quickly: most of the popular weekends are already filling up.For Memorial Day weekend, as of today there were a few sites at Cascade River State Park and a few more at Judge CR Magney State Park, but the rest of the North Shore state parks are already full. For Fourth of July, things are a little more open, but that might … read more


Freakish early spring in the North Woods
March 25, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Freakish early spring in the North Woods

It's March, and the frogs are calling outside Ely. The ice is off all but the biggest lakes. Nearly every sign of spring is coming a full month early. It's as if winter never happened, which is sort of true. … read more


In search of February ice at Shovel Point
February 2, 2012 by Andrew Slade

In search of February ice at Shovel Point

View from Shovel Point, February 1, 2012 I went for a lovely walk yesterday out to Shovel Point, along the rugged shoreline of Tettegouche State Park. Mine were the first human footprints in the meager snow, along with a rambling deer's, a scattered squirrel's, and a deliberate fox'. The view from Shovel Point looking west is classic North Shore. Palisade Head looms in the distance. Cliffs and coves stud the shore. But there was something very important missing: the ice.It's February, the freezing month. In a "normal" North Shore winter, the water of Lake Superior is finally cold enough this month that it … read more


Get ready for fall colors
September 19, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Get ready for fall colors

Fall color tapestry below Sawmill Dome, September 2010 The best time for hiking the North Shore is here. Clear your calendars for some adventurous treks through lovely forests with the best Lake Superior views of the year. Bean Lake in a bowl of fall colors/ Be sure to head for one of the great ridgeline overlooks. On one side, Lake Superior glimmers in a deep dark blue. On the other side, a tapestry of color spreads out beneath you. Some of my favorite fall color overlooks are on Oberg Mountain, Leveaux Mountain, and Sawmill Dome.  The birch trees are already changing at … read more


Get back into the wild at Tettegouche’s High Falls
July 21, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Get back into the wild at Tettegouche’s High Falls

The State Parks are back! Take this weekend to reacquaint yourself with the deep pockets of scenery and nature in the North Shore parks. To the High Falls High Falls of the Baptism, May 2011, from Flickr Recent rains have lifted North Shore streams out of their summer slumber. With the shutdown over and the park gates open again, head deep into Tettegouche State Park for the short walk to the High Falls of the Baptism River.   At approximately 70 feet tall, this the highest waterfall completely in Minnesota...the High Falls of the Pigeon River at Grand Portage are taller, but are shared … read more


North Shore wipe out; bring your own TP
July 20, 2011 by Andrew Slade

North Shore wipe out; bring your own TP

Open outhouse with all the toilet paper gone, Temperance 7/14 It looks like  Minnesota's finest state parks, the eight gems along the North Shore, will start to reopen this weekend. If you're headed up the shore and stopping at a park, you still might want to bring your own toilet paper.While the parks were closed to vehicle traffic, plenty of park lovers walked into the parks from Highway 61. And while the fancy buildings with the flush toilets were locked up, most of the outhouses were left open. When these outhouse users were cleaning up, they cleaned out the toilet paper. I … read more