Accessible Adventures at North Shore MN State Parks

Wheelchair Friendly Adventures on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior

Have you ever tried exploring natural places in a wheelchair? If you or your friend or family member uses a mobility device, you know that it can be challenging to plan your trip and find places where you can go!

So I am working with my friend Jenna (a wheelchair user and accessibility advocate) from Above And Beyond with U  to share the wonderful places that Wheelies can explore on Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior!

We had a fun adventure exploring some of the State Parks and other places on the North Shore, MN. Here is an informative report of what we found, from Jenna’s perspective:

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls is wheelchair accessible

Visitors at the Upper Falls at Gooseberry State Park

Gooseberry’s Upper Falls is one of the best wheelchair-accessible waterfalls! There are two different paved trails to access the beautiful views. Wheelchair users can also access Gooseberry Falls State Park’s visitor center with a gift shop, interpretive displays, theater, accessible parking, and accessible bathrooms. There’s also a tire fix station for bicycles, but is perfect for wheelchairs too!

Find more details in the blog Wheelchair Accessible Waterfalls on the North Shore

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

  • They have an all-terrain, electric-powered Track Chair for wheelchair users! There are 13 miles of trail to explore!
  • Call ahead to make a reservation, it is free to use from 10-4 daily.

Tettegouche State Park

Picnic pavilion at Tettegouche State Park

Picnic pavilion at Tettegouche State Park

  • Very accessible visitor center with user-friendly restrooms. This is a great place for wheelies to have a potty break! And they’re open 24 hours.
  • Behind the visitor center there are is a short paved trail with a view of Lake Superior. Note that in the winter, they are covered by packed snow, not plowed or shoveled.
  • The parking lot has 4 accessible spots that are well marked and user friendly.
  • The outdoor picnic pavilion has a paved surface and path.

Temperance River State Park

  • Wheelies can see the river from the highway bridge on Highway 61.
  • The parking area at the wayside does have designated accessible parking, but there are no lines on the pavement. So when it is really crowded, other drivers will need to be mindful not to park too close to obstruct the vehicle ramp.
  • The lake side of the highway bridge has a walking path that most wheelies will be able to use, especially with assistance.
  • If you take the park road down to the lake shore, there is an accessible parking spot with a lovely, close view of the lake. There is also a flat grassy area with picnic tables (not accessible tables). State park permit required

Clearview General Store, Lutsen

entrance to Clearview General Store in Lutsen.

Entrance to Clearview General Store

  • User-friendly accessible restrooms.
  • Oversized convenience store with usable isleways.
  • Accessible entry doors, with a light pull access.
  • Accessible parking areas are not reserved. They are on either side of the front door, and there is an open “no parking” space to accommodate a vehicle ramp.

Cascade River State Park

  • Wheelies can see the river from the Highway 61 bridge. Unfortunately, there are no accessible sidewalks, so you need to be on the shoulder of the road.
  • At the wayside on the lake side of the highway, you can park along the curb. There is a pavement ramp to the sidewalk where wheelies can enjoy a great view of the lake.
  • There are no marked accessible parking spots. It is an open parking area with no lines or markings.

Cook County Co-op Grocery Store

  • Inclusive atmosphere with close parking and a ramp.
  • User-friendly restrooms
  • Great shopping, grab-and-go food and snacks, friendly staff.

Judge Magney State Park

End of the trail for a wheelchair user at Judge Magney State Park.

End of the trail for wheelchair user at Judge Magney State Park

  • This park is a little more rugged with a short distance of crushed gravel pathways.
  • A wheelie can be assisted along the path fairly easily, which leads to a bridge over the Brule River.
  • You can continue down the trail for a short bit before it becomes obstructed by rocks and hills.
  • The parking lot is open gravel with no markings

Grand Portage State Park

High Falls, Grand Portage State Park

High Falls, Grand Portage State Park

Grand Portage State Park offers a view of the tallest waterfall in Minnesota!

  • Paved path is about .5 miles to the falls. As you approach the falls, the paved path turns into a boardwalk with a slight incline. It is slightly narrow, but large enough for a wheelchair, and someone going the opposite way to squeeze by.
  • Viewing platform of the falls.
  • Visitor center has accessible bathrooms.

See more informaiton on the blog Accessible Waterfalls on the North Shore.

About Jenna

Through her non-profit Above and Beyond With U, Jenna works with governments, organizations, and businesses to make sure that their spaces are actually usable for all people with disabilities. Follow her on Facebook.


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