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Category Archives: Shovel Point

Our second stop for the day was Tettegouche State Park where we hiked the Shovel Point Trail which runs along the lake. This tree is a popular photographic subject because the roots have grown around a large rock.

While we were checking the tree out this fellow came along the trail. He seemed to be licking the sap off of the branch.

There were a couple of rock climbers working the face.

Looking closely you can see the ice on the cliffs along the shore. This is what remains from a large northeaster from a week earlier. It created some spectacular ice formations along the cliffs.


It was such a beautiful day we decided to continue on to Tettegouche State Park where we hiked out to Shovel Point. There was still enough ice on the trail that it made for some tricky going particularly when walking down the steps. As I mentioned in an earlier post there had been an ice storm but most of the ice was already gone. We had been at Tettegouche in 2011 after a fierce March storm deposited large amounts of ice along Shovel Point. I’ve included a few photos below for comparison.



Shovel Point

Shovel Point 2011


Schovel Point Steps

Shovel Point Steps 2011



This photo was taken at Shovel Point in Tettegouche State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore. It was taken after a strong winter storm created huge inland ice formations along the North Shore. More photos can be found on a blog I wrote after returning from the trip.

Shovel Point

I recently donated the photograph to the Nature Conservancy. They included it as the lead photo in a slideshow they developed about getting outside in the winter.

The Minnesota Nature Conservancy also included it on their Facebook page.

After returning from our hike to High Falls we decide to walk out to Shovel Point. There was a little ice along the shore but nothing like it was several years ago after a March storm.


Shovel Point

Shovel Point

On our return hike we found this little fellow along the trail working on a pine cone. He wasn’t about to give it up and allowed me to walk right up to him before he finally ran off.


There were some nice views out on the lake as the sun attempted to break through the snow clouds.


More photos from our hike can be found on my website.

Last week we drove up to Tettegouche State Park to do some hiking. It was a beautiful day but a little warm. Tettegouche had been a frequent stopping point on our northshore trips but we haven’t stopped in several years because a new visitors center has been under construction.

Our goal was to hike to some of the waterfalls. The first stop was High Falls. Since the sun was out in full force it was difficult to get a quality image of the falls but use of a variable neutral density filter helped.High-Falls-Tettegouche-State-Park-14-9-_0377

We then made the hike down to Two Step Falls. As I recall someone mentioned that there were over 300 steps involved in visiting the two waterfalls.Two-Step-Falls-Tettegouche-State-Park-14-9-_0425

On the hike back to the car I stopped to take a photo of the walking bridge across the Baptism River at the top of the high falls.FootbridgeTettegouche-State-Park--14-9-_0471

We then headed back to the visitors center to hike out to Shovel Point. There were several climbing parties out on the Point but it is difficult to get a photograph without hanging over the edge.Tettegouche-State-Park-14-9-_0474

John G. Munson

Shovel Point View

This past weekend we made our spring trip to the Minnesota North Shore. One of our stops was at Tettegouche State Park. We decided to hike out to Shovel Point. It was a beautiful sunny day with white clouds in the sky. The lake was the calmest I’ve seen it in some time.


There were a variety of flowers out along the trail including Bunchberries, Bluebead Lily and Virginia Bluebells. They have been working on the trail out to the point for the last couple of years and construction continues. they have widened the steps considerably probably to account for growing obesity of Americans.

After returning from Shovel Point we walked down to the mouth of the Baptism River. We were fortunate enough to see a Loon along the shore. It stayed along the shore for some time.

Shovel Point

Good news from the park is that they will be starting a new visitors center this summer. It should be ready by next Year.

More photos from Tettegouche State Park can be found on my website.


The Tower

Shovel Point Tettegouche State Park

What a difference a couple of months makes in the landscape. At the end of march we were a Tettegouche State Park just after a major storm. Shovel Point was covered in ice. The first part of June I stopped at Tettegouche to hike out to Shovel Point to check out how things looked after the ice melted.This shot is of what used to be called the arch and is now called the tower. In March it was completely covered in ice.

Shovel Point Steps

Schovel Point Steps

The steps at the end of the Shovel Point trail were also covered in ice. The shot on the right shows how it looks on a nice spring day.




Shovel Point

Shovel Point

The shoreline was covered in ice several hundred feet back from the water. It was three to six inches thick on the trees. This is a before and after shot from Shovel Point. My wife and I spent several hours hiking through the ice forest shown on the left.


More photos on my website.

Tettegouche State Park

Through a very strange series of events my wife and I found ourselves at Tettegouche State Park, on the North Shore of Minnesota, this past weekend. We had originally planned to make the trip on March 19th-20th but received a call on the 17th at 4am from our son in Japan indicating that he was ordered to evacuate the country. We spent that weekend arranging tickets and picking him up at the Twin Cities airport.

Tettegouche State Park

We decided we would make the trip the next weekend. On Tuesday there were reports of a major storm headed for the upper Midwest. Duluth was supposed to be hit by a blizzard including strong winds from offshore. We were only going to receive a couple of inches of snow. As late as the 10pm news on Tuesday evening the weatherman was sticking to this story. I was a little concerned when I looked out the window after the weather report and saw that we were in the middle of a blizzard. It turned out that we received 15 inches of heavy wet snow and were snowbound on Wednesday. Duluth didn’t receive any snow.

Tettegouche State Park

By the weekend the roads were clear and we headed up to the Minnesota North Shore. We made our normal pit stop at Tettegouche State Park. I asked the ranger about trail conditions which ranged from snow to ice to bare ground. The only thing they didn’t have was mud. I was complaining about the lack of ice. The lake was open and shipping was underway. The ranger got excited and said we have ice and showed me a photo taken a couple of days earlier. It showed pine trees completely encased in ice. Although the North Shore didn’t receive any snow they did experience strong winds from the Northeast had created huge waves that slammed into the cliffs. He gave us directions to the ice formations and we headed out.

Tettegouche State Park

We walked across the bridge over the Baptism River and took an ice covered trail leading to the cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. On the trail we met another photographer returning from the cliffs and I asked him if it was worth the trip. Talk about pumped, he got really excited and started talking about the storm. It turns out he headed to Tettegouche as soon as he knew the storm was going to hit. He knew that the storm would create huge waves that would spray water over the cliffs. This in combination with the cold weather created ideal conditions for photography. On the day of the storm he was out photographing dressed in a wetsuit. He had been out photographing every day since and had taken over a thousand photos as well as video of the event. He also mentioned that this was a very rare event. The last year something like this happened was in 2004. This was the second time it happened this winter. He then went on to tell us how to find some even better photo locations.

Shovel Point Tettegouche State Park

About that time the sun broke through the clouds so he decided to walk back to the cliffs with us and take some more photos. He was glad to see that we both had traction devices on our boots because the cliff tops were covered in ice. At one point he had slipped an spun around several times before he was able to grab an ice formation to prevent himself from going over the cliff. Had he fallen into the lake he would have been dead in a few minutes.

We spent about a half an hour carefully walking around the Ice encrusted trees. It was a surreal landscape with very strange ice formation. Many of the tops of the trees looked like the twist on a soft ice cream cone. Just as we were about to leave the area another group came. they had no traction on their shoes and had little kids in tow. All we could do is shake our heads.

Shovel Point Tettegouche State Park

We then drove north of the park entrance for about a mile and parked along the road. The directions were to take a faint trail in toward the cliffs, make a left then a right to reach the cliffs. The trail seemed to disappear so we worked our way toward the cliffs bushwhacking along the way. We found ourselves north of the Shovel Point Overlook. It was a wild scene. In places the ice covered trees that were thirty feet high and in other places the ice stretched several hundred feet inland from the cliffs. We worked our way back south toward Shovel Point until we reach a gorge. At that point we decided to try and find the car and then drive back into the park and take the Shovel Point trail in from the visitors center. It took a lot of bushwhacking to make it back to the car.

Shovel Point Tettegouche State Park

The trail from the visitors center to Shovel Point was in a little better condition although it was ice covered in many spots. When we reached Shovel Point were able to look north along the coast and get a Birdseye view of the alien landscape we had been hiking in earlier in the day.

Camera Assistant

This was clearly one of those rare occasions that a photographer encounters. It was just luck that we asked the park ranger about ice and even better luck when we encountered the local photographer on the trail. The photos really don’t capture the experience but I hope they give you some idea of the landscape we encountered.

More photos from the day can be found on my website.