Thursday, November 8, 2012

High Falls of the Baptism River - Tettegouche State Park, Minnesota

Baptism River
Tettegouche State Park
near Silver Bay, MN

Somehow in my posting about Minnesota waterfalls I covered two of the three major waterfalls in Tettegouche State Park (Two Step Falls and Ilgen Falls) but neglected the highlight of the whole park - the High Falls of the Baptism River. These nearly 100-foot falls are spectacular at any water level, and we have been fortunate to catch it at high water marks the past two years. This is the largest set of falls entirely within the state of Minnesota (High Falls on the Pigeon River is taller but partially in Canada). This park sees a tremendous amount of use and visitors seem more than willing to tackle the somewhat challenging hike to this falls and the others in the park.

Some views can be had from the top of the falls, but the best views come from below. From that first vantage point the trail winds, then a suspension bridge crosses the river.

After the bridge, stairs and trail descend to a viewing area below the falls, take a look at the difference in access and water levels between our visits in 2011 and 2012:
2011
2012
As you can see, the heavy rains and flooding in 2012 before we hit the area made quite a difference. There are no protruding patches of rock and gravel in the bottom photo, and unlike the first year I was not able to wade in inches of water to get to the large rock for photos.

Getting there: Tettegouche State Park is located off of Hwy 61 north of Silver Bay, it is well signed and  easy to navigate to the hiking parking lots. A state park sticker or day pass is required.

Overall: Amazing
Hike: Moderate



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