Skip navigation

Category Archives: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

As we finished hiking the Split Rock River Loop Trail we could see some big waves down by the lake. We drove down for a closer look and did find some big waves crashing into the shore.

We met up with a friend in Duluth before heading up the North Shore to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Our goal was to hike the five mile Split Rock River Loop Trail. When we arrived at the trailhead the trail looked to be in good shape. We debated taking our ice grippers and finally decided to take them along. Good thing we did because we we encountered ice on the trail at we crested the first hill. If we didn’t have the ice grippers we would not have been able to make the hike because the trail was very icy and steep. In some places a slip would have meant a long slide down the gorge into the River.

Split Rock falls was still iced up with just a little water flowing at the bottom of the falls.

We crossed over a small stream and made our way over the the main section of the Split Rock River. The River was still mainly ice but water was flowing in some places.

In a few places the rushing water was producing foam formations one of which looked like a volcano.

As we started the hike we noticed a sign indicating that the foot bridge over the Split Rock River was closed. Last spring when we hiked this trail the bridge looked like it wasn’t safe but we still used it. It looked like the park service had cut the bridge down because only the footings on either side of the river were still standing. We walked down the river a short distance before finding a snow bridge over the river. You can see a portion of the bridge in the background.

We were happy to make it over the river because returning on the same trail would have been difficult because of the ice conditions. There were still some icy conditions on the trail but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the hike up.

As we emerged from the forest we had a great view of Lake Superior. The wind was blowing at about 25 miles an hour out of the East and there were some nice waves hitting the shore. We decided to drive over to the Split Rock Lighthouse and check out the waves.

We were wandering along the beach at Split Rock State Park when I noticed some nice ripples in the water. More Photos from Split Rock can be found on my website.

ripples-split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-3035

ripples-split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-3018

While I was photographing the ripples over the rocks I notice the waves were backlit and had some nice color to them.

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2089

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2099

Our goal for the day was Gooseberry Falls State Park but it was such a beautiful day we decided to continue on to Split Rock. I hopped to get some shots of the Lighthouse with lots of ice in the foreground but it looked like a beautiful summer day. More Photos from Split Rock can be found on my website.

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2011

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2014There were just a few pockets of ice on the shore. This is how desperate I was to get some ice shots.

ice-split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2026

ice-split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2044

ice-split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-2-2053

From Two Harbors we drove up to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. I had expected to see more ice because there were some nice ice storms in November but the ice was mostly gone.

More photos of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park can be found on my website.

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-1-2234

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-1-2255

split-rock-lighthouse-state-park-17-1-2237

It was a beautiful day so we decided to drive up to Split Rock Lighthouse State park and hike the Split Rock River Loop Trail. We had hiked up to West Split Rock River Falls a number of times but had never hiked the entire look.

Split-Rock-River-Loop-Trail-Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-5-_3367

The guide book indicated that spring was the best time to make the hike because many of the waterfalls were obscured when the leaves were out.

Split-Rock-River-Loop-Trail-Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-5-_3355

What a beautiful hike. This has to be one of the best hikes on the North Shore. There was one waterfall after another. It was a bright day and I didn’t know what to expect so I didn’t take my normal waterfall photography gear. Now that I know what to expect the next visit will be with all of my gear.

Split-Rock-River-Loop-Trail-Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-5-_3246

The west side of the trail offers the best views of the various waterfalls. It is also the side of the trail that allows you to get close to some of the falls.

Split-Rock-River-Loop-Trail-Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-5-_3211

The one downside of the hike was the warm weather. We knew it was going to be warmer than normal but when we met some other hikers on the trail and they pulled out a thermometer and showed us that it was 93 degrees we knew why we felt so hot. We later found out that Two Harbors, Minnesota was the warmest place in the U.S. that day.

Split-Rock-River-Loop-Trail-Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-5-_3208

As we neared the end of the hike we hear thunder inland and could see a storm coming. For the second hike in a row we just made it back to the car before the skies opened up.

 

Our last stop was Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. It was early in the season so we were able to walk to the Lighthouse without paying a fee. The flip side was the Lighthouse was not open and there were no tours available. We walked around the Lighthouse buildings then decided to walk down to the Boat Landing.

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-4-_2686

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-4-_2028

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-16-4-_2007

It was a dreary day at Split Rock Lighthouse. There was a little ice and the waves were starting to increase in size when we arrived at the park.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-16-1-_2036

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-16-1-_2026

 

We drove up to Split Rock Lighthouse for the 40th anniversary celebration of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Every year the lighthouse holds a program and then at sunset turns on the light. We arrived about two hours before sunset and were lucky to get the last parking spot in the most distant parking lot.

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-11-_6059

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-11-_6065

We spent the first hour walking along the shore toward the Lighthouse. The late afternoon light was beautiful on the cliffs below the lighthouse. As the evening wore on more clouds came in making for a beautiful sunset.

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-11-_6068

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-11-_6104

We stood on the beach for the last hour waiting for the light to be turned on. There were quite a few other photographers around. Fortunately it was an unseasonably warm night for the event.

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-11-_6191

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-11-_6248

After a stop at Grand Marais for lunch we headed back to Duluth. On the way we noticed some interesting clouds as we neared Split Rock Lighthouse so we drove in to take a few photos. When we reached the beach we could see it was raining out in the lake. Just as we were leaving it started raining at the Lighthouse. This was the first park we stopped at on our North Shore journey and the last stop before we headed back to Duluth.

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-4-_2277

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-4-_2245

Split-Rock-Lighthouse-State-Park-15-4-_2221a