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Category Archives: Split Rock River

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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to take a road trip up the Minnesota North Shore. Our final destination was the Canadian border. Our first stop was West Split Rock River Falls.West-Split-Rock-River-Falls-15-4-_2360

I knew it was going to be a difficult day for waterfall photography. Ideal condition for waterfall photography is an overcast day. It looked like our entire trip to the Canadian Border. The bright sunlight creates dark and light areas around the falls. It also made it difficult to slow the speed down to create the silky feel to the waterfall that I like. There was a small rainbow at the falls.


In order to photograph the falls I decided to bracket my photos of the falls in order to better capture the dynamic range in the scene. I would later merge these three photos in Photomatrix Pro. The second problem required the use of a variable neutral density filter in order to slow the speed down to create a silky feel to the water. I wasn’t totally happy with the overall results photographing waterfalls on a bright sunny day is difficult at best.


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

After hiking around the beach at the Lighthouse and a hike to Split Rock Falls we noticed a number of cars parked at the parking lot at the Split Rock River. Since we hadn’t seen anyone on our hike to the falls we decided to walk down to the lake and see what was going on. Turns out there were a number of people fishing for Rainbow Trout. I was more interested in the pilings at the mouth of the Split Rock River.





When we arrived we hiked out to the Beach to Photograph the Lighthouse .


After photographing the Lighthouse we walked along the beach looking at the ice formations.


After walking the beach we drove down the the Split Rock River Parking lot and hiked to Split Rock Falls. For some reason we remembered that it was a long hike but it turned out to be only a mile round trip.


It’s been almost seven years since I last visited West Split Rock River Falls in Split Rock State Park. I remembered it as a long hike but it turns out it is only about a mile round trip. My wife and I stopped last fall to hike to the falls but Just as we started out on the trail I happened to check the weather on my phone. There was a major thunderstorm just over the ridge so we headed back to the car.West-Branch-Falls-14-5-_1918

On this trip like my earlier trip we encountered a number of fishermen out to catch the fish spawning in the river. We also were passed by a couple of hikers that also turned out to be photographers. When we reached the falls we had to form a line to photograph the falls.West-Branch-Falls-14-5-_2627

I spent my time taking photographs of a small stream below the falls.West-Branch-Falls-14-5-_2608