Temperance River State Park sits high on Minnesota’s North Shore, less than 70 miles from the Canadian border. Everywhere you turn, you’re met with arresting beauty — from the rocky cliffs of the gorge carved by the Temperance river to the old-growth forest to the incredible views atop Carlton Peak. Temperance River State Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds and the perfect destination for your next northern Minnesota adventure.
Things To Do in Temperance River State Park
There is something for everyone who appreciates the allure of nature’s beauty. No matter how you like to have fun, you can enjoy a day, a weekend, or even longer, taking in all that Temperance River State Park and the surrounding area have to offer. More than just an area for picnicking and wildlife watching, this state park is a great place to get active and explore.
Rock climbers can get a free climbing permit at the Visitor’s Center that will allow them to enjoy the more than two dozen climbs on Carlton Peak. The climbs stretch from 60-80 feet, with plenty of bouldering opportunities as well.
Along the gorge, you’ll find awe-inspiring waterfalls and incredible views. Walk around the rim, climb down into it, or even (for the bravest among us) jump off a cliff into Temperance River. The rocky beach of Lake Superior’s shore draws visitors in the summer. If the water is cooler than you prefer, fishing the Temperance river is a boon for anglers looking to catch trout and steelhead in the spring or salmon in the fall. This area is one of few areas in Minnesota where you can see the salmon spawning upstream during the fall.
Several trails cross the park on paved, dirt, or rocky terrain. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes before taking on the more rugged trails. If you don’t have time to do them all, there are a couple of trails to highlight. The hike up to Carlton Peak is around 7 miles out and back and covers more than 1200 feet in elevation. This climb is steep, so plan to take your time getting to the top, but the reward is incredible views of the area.
You get to see waterfalls and rapids starting at the bottom before the trail leads you through stunning birch forest before finally sending you up the last rocky push to the peak. The first two miles of this trail are the unofficial Temperance River Gorge Hike, so feel free to start this trail without the pressure of finishing the climb.
For a lighter hike, try the Temperance River Falls Loop trail. This popular trail is still moderately rated but much shorter at only 3 miles. The beauty of water, forest, and rock that makes this park so spectacular is on glorious display. If you can only squeeze in one hike during your visit, ensure it is this one.
Of course, this far north, winter takes hold for many months but don’t let a little cold stop you from enjoying the park’s many amenities. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can have their way on various trails throughout the park. Covered in snow, the park’s huge rocks and bare trees become a different kind of picturesque, and the quiet crunch of the snow underfoot makes this park serene.
Temperance River State Park Camping
Once you lay your eyes on the extreme beauty of this area, you won’t want to leave. Make the most of your time and stay at Temperance River State Park. Camping is easy and plentiful, but be sure to book your spot in advance as the campground fills quickly, especially in the summer and fall.
The grounds are divided into the Upper and Lower campgrounds and have a combined 60 total campsites along the river and the shoreline. Six of the sites are inaccessible to RVs and require you to hike a short distance from the parking area. The other sites can accommodate big rigs up to 60 feet long and offer a firepit with a grate and a picnic table. Eighteen sites have electrical hookups, but the rest are primitive camping only. Two nearby state parks, Tettegouche and Cascade River, also have camping areas if you cannot book a spot in the on-site campground.
Best Times To Visit Temperance River State Park
The best times to take in Temperance River State Park are summer and fall. Summer (June-August) temperatures average in the 70s — the perfect weather for spending as much time as possible outside. It’s possible to splash around in the pools, warmed by abundant sunshine in the daytime. Fall (September-November) temperatures start dropping from the upper 60s to the mid-30s as the year continues, but the changing leaves are a breathtaking feature. Driving through the park and especially the views from higher elevations are spectacular.
Truly, any season is a great time to visit Temperance River State Park. Don’t delay your trip, and start planning your getaway to find beauty and adventure in Minnesota’s North Shore with Cruise America. Pick up an RV rental at one of our convenient locations across the U.S. to stay in comfort and style on your next trip!