Waterfalls at Tettegouche State Park
Hike to 4 waterfalls at Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park, on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Minnesota features four waterfalls along the Baptism River. Whether you’re looking for a short hike or a day-long adventure the scenic trails along the Baptism River will take you to four waterfalls at Tettegouche State Park.
Cascade Falls at Tettegouche State Park
Cascade Falls is the waterfall closest to the mouth of the river at Lake Superior. To get there and back is less than 2 miles, so it’s easily doable in a short amount of time.
Start at the Visitor Center at Tettegouche State Park (you don’t need a state park pass to park here). Walk on the road to cross the Baptism River bridge, and see a lovely view of the mouth of the river at Lake Superior! Exploring the gravel bar that exists between the river mouth and Lake Superior is pretty cool too. Plan to venture there after your hike to Cascade Falls!
The trail really starts as you cross under the highway bridge and onto a hiking trail that runs adjacent to the Baptism River. Hike by the river the whole way to Cascade Falls! Start out meandering along the lowlands of the river where there are spots that you can reach the water’s edge. In here in the winter, you can see tracks from skiers and snowshoers on the river itself, pictured below.
Halfway down the trail, gently climb to higher ground as you round the last bend of the Baptism River. There are a series of wooden bridges and stairs that take you along the steeper terrain on this section of trail.
The trail meets the water’s edge once again as you approach the falls. Cascade Falls is not very tall or steep compared to its neighbors upstream, but it’s cool because the water fills an upper pool of water before it cascades down over the rocks.
The trail to Cascade Falls at Tettegouche State Park ends at the falls.
High Falls at Tettegouche State Park
High Falls at Tettegouche State Park is another popular waterfall on the North Shore. This one wears the badge of the tallest waterfall “entirely within the state of Minnesota” (High Falls at Grand Portage State Park is the tallest waterfall in Minnesota, and it shares a border with Canada, so it doesn’t count as “entirely within the state of MN”).
To get to High Falls at Tettegouche State Park, Park at the Visitor Center. Cross Highway 61 and take the trail on the east side of river. Hike about 1.5 miles one way to the waterfall.
Note – There is another trail to the falls that is temporarily closed because the swinging bridge to cross the river was damaged in a high water event. This trail is accessed on the west side of the river. You can still take this lovely trail to see the Baptism River and Two Step Falls.
To get there, drive into Tettegouche State Park from the visitor center. Head to the trailhead parking area (you will need a state park pass).
Two Step Falls at Tettegouche State Park
Two Step Falls is on the way to High Falls. Take the same trails that lead you to High Falls described above.
For the short trail, park at the trailhead parking area inside the park (a state park pass is required). It’s about 1 mile to Two Step Falls. Note that there is no river crossing at this point.
The longer trail is the same one to High Falls described above, on the northeast side of the Baptism River. It’s about1.2 miles on-way to the falls.
Illgen Falls is just a short drive inland along the Baptism River. Take Highway 1 1.6 miles to a small pull-off parking area on the left (past the Superior Hiking Trail parking area). It is not well marked, but there is a small state park sign.
The short trail takes you past a cabin, then to the thundering Illgen Falls. Explore the flat river above the falls, and take the rocky path down adjacent to the falls. In the summer, you may find people swinging into the pool by the ropes on both sides. You can also make your way into the pool from the rocks. As always, use extreme caution when entering river waters; they can be unpredictable.