What do you get when you combine a 5-year-old and a sheer cliff with no guardrails to stop her from tumbling 300 feet to the rocky shore of Lake Superior?
One really, really, really, nervous mama.
Palisade head, a part of Tettegouche State Park, but not contiguous with it, is a large rhyolite rock formation with an impressive view of Lake Superior’s shoreline and horizon. Finley and I experienced the sublime and perilous cliff on our bellies. We wiggled like caterpillars as close to the edge as we could safely.
My eyes were saying the expansive and elevated view was magnificent, while my body was saying, “RETREAT NOW!”
Finley was most intrigued by the people scaling the vertical cliff walls. We kept our bums to the ground to watch the strength and perseverance of these rock climbers.
At Lower Altitudes
While Finley and I were teetering high above Lake Superior, Tim and Daley were deep in the rushing waters of the Baptism River. We had left them at a mosquito-infested location to enjoy one of Tim’s favorite activities, fly-fishing. The highlight of their outing was ascending a 6-foot waterfall right after discovering the depth of its pool when Daley unknowingly stepped into it. Good thing he was wearing waders as it went up to his chest.
One of the Most Enjoyable Rest Stops in Minnesota
We then convened as a family at the Tettegouche Visitor Center. Who knew a rest stop could be so fun? We spent several hours there…
…exploring the interpretive center,
…hiking the Shovel Point Trail, a short .6 mile route from the visitor center along wooded stairs, boardwalks, and narrow paths that hug the cliff edge,
…and exploring the mouth of the Baptism River, where it merges with Lake Superior.
And we didn’t even make it to the cascading 60-foot waterfall of the Baptism River, aptly named High Falls, which is just a 1.5-mile hike from the visitor center.
Looks like we’ll have to go back. 🙂
A Relatively UnKnown Tip
Through a collaboration between the MN Department of Natural Resources and the MN Department of Transportation, you can park for free in the Visitor Center lot for up to 6 hours because it is a wayside rest area. While resting, you can enjoy the surrounding trails. Similarly, at Palisade Head, there is no fee to park in the parking lot at the top of the narrow and winding road.
For more information on Tettegouche State Park, which is 4.5 miles northeast of Silver Bay, check out their website. Winter is another great time to explore other parts of the park, like Tettegouche Camp, where we spent a memorable Thanksgiving as part of our quest to visit all of our state parks.
Have you visited Tettegouche Vistors Center or Palisade Head? Share your experiences in the comment box below. Thanks!