High Falls and Two Step Falls

Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota

Trip Date: Saturday, July 2nd, 2016
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★★★(5/5)
Overall Difficulty Moderate
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 4.5 miles roundtrip
Time 2.5 hours
Terrain Strenuous uphill
Best Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall
Family Friendly No
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible No

Highlights

Hike Walkthrough

Tettegouche State Park is one of the most beautiful places along the North Shore, and this hike to High Falls is one of the highlights within the park. Dogs are allowed on leash, but multiple sets of steep stairs make this hike difficult for young kids. Seriously though, if you're hoping for an easy hike to a beautiful waterfall, get back on the highway and head south to Gooseberry Falls State Park or north to Grand Portage State Park. Unless you are in tip top shape, you will probably need to catch your breath at some point during this hike -- these staircases are no joke.

From the visitor center, follow the trail southwest towards the Baptism River and look for a trail heading towards the highway -- if you cross the bridge over the river, you've gone too far. Continue on this trail for the rest of the way to the falls. I encourage you to take both of the short spur trails on the left hand side; the first takes you down to the river and the second gives you a vantage point of Two Step Falls. Both will require some extra uphill on your way back to the main trail, but the effort is worth the reward.

The Baptism River as seen from one of the spur trails

The Baptism River as seen from one of the spur trails
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Once you are near the falls, there will be a staircase to take you down to the river. This is the best vantage point for viewing the falls and will produce photos much like the one at the top of this page. After snapping your photos, ascend the stairs and continue on the trail towards the falls and the swinging bridge. Enjoy some additional views of the falls along the way.

Shortly after crossing the bridge, there will be another set of stairs. At the top, turn left to head towards Two Step Falls. Eventually on the left, there will be yet another set of stairs heading down towards the river. You will have another viewpoint of Two Step Falls. Stop here for a while and eat a snack and rehydrate -- you're only halfway done with the hike now!
The smaller but still beautiful Two Step Falls

The smaller but still beautiful Two Step Falls
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Depending on the water level and your willingness to get your shoes wet and/or swim, you could potentially try crossing the river here to meet up with the staircase on the opposite side of the river. Otherwise, there is no bridge, and you simply need to retrace your steps to return to the parking lot (note the mileage at the top of the page reflects the choice to NOT cross the river here). On the way back, go down one of the spur trails to the river if you didn't before. If you still have energy when you're done, check out Cascade Falls or hike to Shovel Point for some additional gorgeous scenery.

Directions

From Duluth, take Minnesota Highway 61 north for a little over one hour. Watch for signs for Tettegouche State Park, and there will be a large parking lot in front of the visitor center on the right.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

The visitor center off the highway also functions as a rest area, so parking is free for day use, but note that overnight parking or parking in any other lots in the park require you pay the vehicle entry fee. The visitor center has bathrooms (open 24/7/365), a gift shop, and educational exhibits about wildlife. There are also many picnic tables nearby.

External Links

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