Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Name: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Year it became a State Park: 1945

Section of Minnesota: North Shore – Arrowhead

Nearby Town: Beaver Bay

Positives: It’s on Lake Superior! The biggest lake in the world! It has the world famous lighthouse. It has an island you can walk out to. Excellent camping spots. It has plenty of hiking and spectacular views. And did I mention it’s on the biggest lake in the world?

The Negatives: Nothing comes to mind.

General Comments: It costs extra to get the tour of the lighthouse and the other historic buildings, but I recommend it. If your family is large enough, you might want to just get a Minnesota Historical Society Membership.

There is a bike path from this park to Gooseberry Falls.

I will also add that if you are tent camping, the campsites in this park are the closest to Lake Superior (like fifteen feet from shore) of any state park in Minnesota. They are perfect camping spots.

Something Everyone Wants To See: The Lighthouse.

But you should also check out:

If the water is low (and it’s the right time of year) you can walk out to the island. It’s a nice little hike and cool to be out there.

Also, there is a DOT wayside a couple miles from the main entrance (south on highway 61). From here you can hike up to a nice fifty foot waterfall, or walk down to Split Rock Point.

Nearby attraction to visit: Highway 61 used to (up until last summer) go right by an overlook where travelers could stop, park and take pictures of the Lighthouse from the highway. This was a bit dangerous. Now they’ve moved the highway a little inland, but they created a little side road up to this overlook. My wife and I stopped and had a snack there last fall while it was still under construction. It’s quite nice, and still has the CCC historic construction work for the overlook platform.

Interesting Trivia: At the very top of ‘Day Hill’ (an overlook I would recommend, by the way) is a house chimney standing alone. The story goes that it was built by the man who owned the land, and he was going to build a house there. But his fiancé broke off their engagement, so the house never got built.

You can also see the location of a shipwreck that was a primary motivator for building the lighthouse.

Personal Stories: Multiple:

2010 was the 100th anniversary for the lighthouse and they lit it up on the 22nd of each month. My wife and I happened to be staying at Cove Point Lodge (several miles away – for our anniversary) on Sept 22, and when we walked out on the point we were able to see its light just over the hill every twenty seconds or so.

Also last summer we tried to get a Christmas card family photo along the shore with the lighthouse behind us, but the sunlight didn’t work out.

Our family has visited this park ten times in the last ten years. I wrote a poem (describing the Little Two Harbors Beach in this park) about one of the earlier visits.

What My Kids Want Me To Say: Keep track of your kids. Or to flesh that out a little – If you have a three year old kid, make sure you keep an eye on him or you might spend fifteen minutes looking for him after he wanders away.

Jamsco Ranking: Among The Best In the State. Really. I’d put it in the top five.

Final Word: I’ve seen USA maps that show Split Rock Icon as one of the major icons for this region. It’s a classic spot. Every Minnesotan and every frequent Minnesota traveler should go see it at least once.

Have you been to Split Rock? Do you agree with what I’ve said? Have I missed anything?

* The top picture (the lighthouse) was taken by Joan Kolwinska, who is in our small group.


About jamsco

I am a Husband of Debbie / Father of 8 and Child of God. Creatively I write songs and professionally I am a database programmer.
This entry was posted in Best In State, East Coast Parks, North Shore Parks. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

  1. Lacinda says:

    I’m very excited about using this website. Visiting state parks is something I’m trying to schedule into our summer activities this year. Thanks for a great resource!

  2. jamsco says:

    Thanks! Please let me know if you have any suggestions or opinions about the parks.

  3. Desert Cat says:

    This brings back childhood memories. We had a Big Duluth Roadtrip when I was a kid, and hit many of the north shore sites, including Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls.

    I revisited the sites shortly before I left Minnesota.

  4. jamsco says:

    Thanks! TIme to come back.

  5. LP 999 says:

    Awesome!! This motivates me to do some backpacking to see al the beauty that surrounds us.

  6. Fred says:

    Visited Split Rock in 1955 when I was eight years old–still haven’t forgotten it.

  7. SmartDogs says:

    Here’s an interesting bit of trivia – a photo of Split Rock was used to create a well known April Fools Day photoshop spoof as shown here:


  8. jamsco says:

    That’s a funny picture.

  9. Pingback: New Geocaching Challenge | Revisiting Minnesota State Parks

  10. june says:

    Split Rock Lighthouse is a great place to visit when in MN.

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