The North Shore is a very special place; there is no question about it. Hikers, bikers, and tourists travel from all over to come and experience the North Shore’s natural beauty. For the rugged traveler, who doesn’t mind the extra mileage, Temperance State Park is one of the many Minnesota State Parks that offers campsites directly along Lake Superior’s shoreline.
What Makes It Great
Waking up to the morning light, walking to Superior’s rocky cliffs, and watching the sunrise over the horizon is a must do while staying at Temperance State Park. The trails right off the Upper Campground campsites lead directly to the shore and offer fun scrambling and prime rock-skipping terrain. To the south is the mouth of the Temperance River and during the summer, it offers a lively swimming hole. There are places to slide down slick rocks and even a high rock outcrop that entices brave cannon-ball jumpers.
Hidden Falls is also a short hike from the campground and during the summer it is often full of people playing in its waters.
Hikers who haven’t been on the trails for a while will be happy to hear that this section of the trail is mostly flat. Either you can take the Temperance River State Park trails, which cross with the Hidden Falls trail, or you can follow the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT).
If you go north up the SHT, there is a gradual incline to Carlton Peak. If you’re up for an adventure, near the peak, the trail requires a bit of scrambling and offers awe-inspiring views of Lake Superior and the Minnesota countryside. Heading south on the SHT takes you through several different forest types, mostly consisting of pine and oak, and also leads you to Cross River Falls.
Who is Going to Love It
For those outdoor enthusiasts who want to thru-hike the Superior Hiking Trail, but just can’t get the time off of work will enjoy Temperance River State Park’s prime location. It is hard to compete with a cozy campsite just off Lake Superior’s rocky shore and the SHT trailhead just across from the park’s main entrance.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The drive is a straight shot from Minneapolis, though be prepared for a 3.5 hour drive. Take I-35N towards Duluth. Once you get through Duluth, you take Highway 61 till you see the signs for Temperance.
During the summer, the park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the winter, they recommend you call beforehand at Tettegouche State Park at (218) 353-8801.
There are 52 drive-in campsites (and 2 pull-through sites), which can be reserved online or by phone (866) 857-2757. It is $10 to reserve over phone and $8.50 via the website.
The campsites are split between the upper and lower campground. The lower campground offers great views of Lake Superior, but the Upper Campground has flush toilets and fun footpaths that take you to the rocky shore. Not to mention that the campsites are more spaced out in the upper campground. Both campgrounds offer trails to Temperance River and the SHT.