Did I mention the incredible view of this trail? The cliff way in the back center of the photo below is Palisade Head, where we stood on top of just that morning to watch the sun rise. And a little closer, you can see some sea caves.
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Enjoying the Views at Palisade Head and Shovel Point in Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota
This is a continuation of a travel series to Wisconsin and Minnesota's North Shore. To start at the beginning, go HERE. The rest of the posts in consecutive order are HERE, HERE, and HERE.
On our last day of exploring Minnesota's North Shore on Scenic Highway 61 we went to Tettegouche State Park. This is a beautiful park filled with lots of fun trails where you can get amazing views of Lake Superior and lots of waterfalls!
We had actually visited this park before, around thirty years ago, so this was our second time back. Because we had been here before, we decided to hit some trails we missed on our first visit. The first place we went to was Palisade Head to see the sun rise. Now, this can either be a hike where you park in a small parking lot right off of Highway 61 and hike a half mile up, OR, you can drive up the road, park in the lot at the top and enjoy the gorgeous view. We chose the latter. Why walk when you can drive? However, I have heard during super busy times you may not have a choice and will have to walk up. The road is super narrow, and I can't even imagine having to share it with other vehicles or hikers. When we were there, we never saw a single soul: we had the whole place to ourselves! So I suggest, get there early and watch the beautiful sun rise like we did!
Palisade Head is a large rock formation that is nearly 350 tall. On a good day, you can see everything from the Sawtooth Mountains in the Northeast, Split Rock Lighthouse to the Southwest, and even the Apostle Islands over 30 miles away.
Here's an interesting fact about its name: A "palisade" is an English word for a defensive wall. A "head" in geology describes deposits of minerals often resulting in flat hilltops. I think knowing this information, the rock formation is aptly named.
Shovel Point Trail
After soaking up the views at Palisade Head it was back in the car to the entrance of Tettegouche State Park. The first trail we took was on a whim. I just saw a beautiful scenic photo on a display wall at the Visitor's Center and said "I want to go there!" so off we went!
This is a 1.2 mile out-and-back trail considered easy, but I was surprised at the number of people who couldn't complete the whole trail while I was there, and turned around at some point. It was such a shame, because the view at the very end of the trail, was worth every step.
Almost all of the trail is a series of steps and boardwalks, and I think it's all the steps that turn a few people off. But there are always plenty of spots just to stop and rest and soak in all the views!
See that point at back right center in the photo below? That is Shovel Point and where we are headed on our hike.
The trail through the forest is absolutely beautiful. The boardwalk not only keeps the forest floor safe from erosion but it's easy on the feet and limbs too.
Yes, there's a lot of stairs, but they do their best to make the incline as gentle as possible. I do recommend walking sticks, because they work well as a "handrail" when coming down a steep stair case like this one.
I read that there is a total of 300 stairs on the trail.
But it is at the very end of the travel, when you are standing on the very edge of Shovel Point that you can see this! Wow! What an experience! Hubby and I kept saying it reminded us of an upper east coast line. So gorgeous!
Shovel Point is 656 feet tall, so you are way up there once you reach the top.
The park made a nice, safe staircase leading down to the very point so you can look out at both the water and back at the coast line.
We hiked three trails in the park on this day, but this one was our absolute favorite. It's not a long hike at all, they say you can complete it in thirty minutes, but we found that laughable. The joy in hiking is to soak everything in: the views, the forests, the sounds, the animals, the wildflowers...it takes a lot longer than thirty minutes to do all that.
Finally, here is a short video of me standing out on Shovel Point expressing all the "feels" I had at the moment. Unfortunately, it's hard to hear what I'm saying because of the wind, and especially when hubby pans the camera away from me. I almost didn't post it for that reason, but I felt it still gives a great representation of what the view is like that a photograph could never do.
Next week, I will share two more hikes we did in this park.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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