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 with Ontario.
Reaching the falls
Enter Tettegouche State Park off Highway 61 at mile marker 85.6. Pick up your vehicle permit at the park office, then continue 1.5 miles on the park road to the trail center parking lot past the campground.
Signs lead all the way to the High Falls. You’ll follow the big main trail up and out of the parking lot for about 500 yards, then turn right on the Superior Hiking Trail. It’s another 500 yards or so on the Superior Hiking Trail to the falls, which should be raging pretty good after the rains. Spur trails lead off to viewing platforms and to the fun suspension bridge over the river.
If this doesn’t satisfy your want of waterfalls, you can continue downstream on trails either side of the river to scenic Two-Step Falls.
Picnic and swim at the mouth
After your hike, return down the park road, cross the old bridge over the Baptism and park on the right side. It’s a short stroll down to the gravel beach at the mouth of the Baptism River, where you’ll find excellent swimming (on the river side if the lake is too rough or too cold). This is a perfect spot to enjoy your rustic picnic lunch in a classic North Shore setting.
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Isn’t it all just wonderful. So easy to access all these wonderful waterfalls. And a short drive and you can eat pie. A friend from Scotland on tour remarked it was the Northshore pie tour. She was very pleased with the hiking and the pie treat afterwards.