Explore the best of the North Shore at area state parks! Nearby Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse parks have outdoor activities for each season plus indoor visitor centers with displays, shops and exhibits. Spend the morning at Gooseberry, about 15 miles from Larsmont, lunch at Splashing Rock at Grand Superior Lodge, then drive the short 8 miles to Split Rock Lighthouse.
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry is the classic north shore state park – woodlands rising from a Lake Superior shoreline criss-crossed with trails, split by a five-waterfall river, dotted with historic log and stone buildings and a fabulous Visitor Center at its heart.
- Gooseberry River and Five Waterfalls
An easy hour-and-a-half walk brings you to the Upper, Middle, and both Lower Falls on the Gooseberry River. Add another hour and include the Fifth Falls or walk the paved path from the Visitor Center for immediate gratification from the Middle Falls viewing platform.
- Lake Superior Shoreline
Hike the River View Trail from the Visitor Center to an excellent agate beach along Lake Superior’s shore.
- Year Round Visitor Center
Plan to spend some time in this wonderful center! The free theatre offers two ongoing videos (total of 24 min.), while the center has a firelit lobby, nature shop, restrooms and an exhibit area with interactive displays. This is the trail center for the park, too!
- Year Round Trails
Spring, summer and fall explore the park over 18 miles of hiking trails – 1 mile is paved and accessible. Ride the 8-mile (one-way) paved bike trail that parallels Superior’s shore. Winter enthusiasts will love the 19K of moderately difficult, classic cross-country ski trails, 4 miles of snowshoe trails and 2 mile snowmobile trail connecting to the main state trail.
- Historic Buildings
In 1934, the Civilian Conservation Corps began work on 80 structures and objects including the famous Lady Slipper Lodge, Lakeview Shelter, water tower, campground shelter and Castle in the Park, the amazing rock retaining wall dropping down from the south side of Highway 61.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
The state park plays host to one of Minnesota’s most famous and most-visited historic sites, Split Rock Lighthouse and offers great Lake Superior vistas, accessible shoreline and a lovely shoreside picnic area.
- Split Rock Lighthouse & History Center
Completed in 1910, the LIghthouse and surrounding buildings were in operation until 1969. Restored and open for tour, the historic site includes the lighthouse, a keeper’s home, the oil house, hoist, fog signal building, tram house and pump house with an informative history center to explain it all. The center offers tours, exhibits, displays, a theatre, restrooms and a shop.
- Lake Superior
From the massive bedrock bluffs supporting the lighthouse to the cobblestone beaches below, Split Rock Lighthouse state park is centered around Lake Superior. Photography buffs want to stop at the wayside rest 3/4-mile southwest of the park, then take photos from the lighthouse, from the beach near the tramway and further along the Little Two Harbors Trail.
- Year Round Trails
Hiking is fabulous at Split Rock! Stop by the park office and get a map of the 6-mile selfguided trail that includes all the park’s highlights. The park is the center point of the longest completed section of the Gitchi Gami trail – choose to ride northeast to Beaver Bay, southwest to Gooseberry or both! Cross country skiers take advantage of 13K of intermediate trails and snowshoers can shoe any non-groomed trails throughout the park.
- Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting – November 10th
Each year the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald is marked by a ceremony including the reading of the names of the sailors who list their lives, a video about the Fitz, and the lighting of the lighthouse. The event takes place at dusk.