Temperance River State Park
If you are short on time or energy, Temperance River State Park (218/663-7476, $24 campsite with electricity) is a great stop because you can get a quick taste of the best of the North Shore—wild waterfalls and rugged coast. The 539-acre property is centered on the river, so named because, unlike other North Shore rivers, there was no gravel “bar” at its mouth.
In less than a mile you can stroll an easy riverside path down to Lake Superior’s rocky beach and jagged cliffs and then head upriver along an impossibly narrow, corkscrewing gorge to Hidden Falls. Along the river look for deep potholes carved into the soft lava during the last Ice Age.
Many more trails run beyond the park through the adjacent Superior National Forest, including the Superior Hiking Trail, which leads to Carlton Peak, one of the highest points on the North Shore and a popular spot for hikers and rock climbers—a free permit from the park office is needed by the latter. The 924-foot summit, where the Superior views stretch on seemingly toward infinity, is 2.8 miles in from the heart of the park, though it can be reached in a three-mile round-trip from the trailhead on County Highway 2.
For an unobstructed view of Carlton Peak, scramble up the comparatively dinky Britton Peak, just a quarter-mile round-trip from the County Highway 2 trailhead. The twin campgrounds sit unfortunately close to the highway, but on the plus side, many of the sites come with lake views. The 55 campsites are shady and well spaced, with all 18 electric and 3 cart-in sites in the upper camp.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition