A Sight to See
Have you ever been to Northern Minnesota? How about along the North Shore on Highway 61
from Duluth to Grand Portage? From snow covered mountains to sparkling waterfalls, no matter the
season, it will be the most majestic scenery you have ever seen. The North Shore is for all ages to enjoy.
Although winters are numbing and going outside might give you instant goosebumps,
there are many activities to do along the North Shore. Bentleyville “Tour of Lights” at Bayfront
Festival Park in Duluth is a main attraction every day of the week from mid-November until the
day after Christmas. Nathan Bentley, the namesake and founder said, “It’s so crowded in the
park at times, that we just don’t feel that it’s been a good experience for our guests sometimes,
and we want it to be a good experience. So, Saturdays have been a challenge. But the rest of the
days, I believe people generally are having a good time.” Bentleyville is a free event and guests
are advised to dress warm, “It is easier to take a layer off than to add one.” The park is handicap
accessible and offers wheelchairs and strollers on a first come basis.
When the snow is melting and the sun is starting to shine more, consider going to
Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay. Here you will find four waterfalls, 23 miles of hiking
trails, six lakes and two-in-a-half miles of Lake Superior shoreline to enjoy. Although there is 23
miles to hike, you do not need to hike that far to see the beauty of the land. The 60-ft “High
Falls” are about a mile and half from the parking lots. Within the Tettegouche State Park you
can explore Palisade Head. Follow the steep, narrow road up the mountain to the parking lot.
Although there are no trails to follow, you will need to be very cautious when you get to the top.
With no guard rails, please keep a close eye on your little ones, it’s a long way down. As you
look out over Lake Superior, you will feel “on top of the world” as the sun beats down on you
and the wind hits your face. You will see people, with no fears, entertaining other explorers,
rock climbing up or down the 932-foot cliff above Lake Superior. Dan Mirocha says, “On a
clear day, you can see the Sawtooth Mountains to the north and the Split Rock Lighthouse to the
south.” Palisade Head was featured at the end of the movie “The Good Son”, starring McCauley
Culkin and Elijah Wood.
It’s summer and the kids are out of school, where do you vacation? Temperance River in
Schroeder is beautiful this time of year. The park is 5,000+ acres include several waterfalls and
a forest of pine, birch and cedar trees. The waterfalls here run all year round but are at their peak
in the spring and when rain accumulates. The Temperance River Gorge is the main attraction at
this park. There are fascinating potholes and the Hidden Falls that are hard to see because of the
narrow gorge. Near the mouth of the gorge is a cliff that daredevils (not me) jump off of into the
river. They can also jump down into potholes above the Hidden Falls and then proceed to jump
off of the falls. There are bridges that cross from side to side, this would make for amazing
senior, wedding or family pictures.
Gooseberry Falls is a must see in every season, but summer is the best. As soon as you
start your hike you will hear the booming sound of the Upper, Middle and Lower Waterfalls.
Along with many other activities you can also camp and relax by the shoreline of Lake Superior
or Gooseberry River. Gooseberry Falls is recommended for family fun and activities.
Two Harbors Light station is the oldest lighthouse along the North Shore and offers a
Bed & Breakfast. You can visit the museum and walk out to the pier to watch the massive ore
ships loading and unloading. Alison K. of Long Island, New York said, “Two harbors has 3
things to see: 1) View the lighthouse from afar since can’t tour it as it’s a B & B. They have a gift
shop. 2) You can see the iron ore docks which are very impressive – I hadn’t seen anything like
them before. 3)There is also a train depot with 2 old locomotives on display which is interesting.
You can pay to go into the train museum but it’s not necessary to see the locomotives.”
Red, yellow, orange, and gold leaves peak in color during the last week of September and
is the best time to take in the scenery. No matter which park you stop at, hiking to the mountain
tops and looking out at all the stunning colors is enough to take your breath away. Beth Gauper
says, “On the third weekend of October, Minnesota schoolchildren have a four-day break, and
the entire North Shore books up.”, so make sure to book your campsites or hotels in advance if
you are thinking about going during this time.
Grand Portage is located on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation and is as far North as
you can go before going into Canada. The second weekend in August is the Rendevous Days
and Powwow. At one time 70% of the world’s fur trade was done here, mainly beaver hats. If
you have time to spare, it is suggested that you watch the 23-minute video of the history of
Grand Portage, located at the Heritage center.
There is so many more attractions along the North Shore that I have not mentioned, do
yourself and family a favor and check it out. You could make a weekend, week or month out of
your trip and still not see all the majestic sites. Like I mentioned above the North Shore is for all
ages to enjoy.