Shovel Point Hike in Tettegouche State Park

Shovel Point is one of the North Shore’s most scenic and accessible hikes—if you can find a parking spot at the hugely popular Tettegouche Visitor Center!

view hike shovel point
Exceptionally thick fog along Lake Superior’s shore adds drama to the spectacular views

What We Love about the Hike to Shovel Point

The Stunning Views

You’ll not be on the trail three minutes before the first overlook. In this view you’ll see the mouth of the Baptism River and Palisade Head far down the shoreline.

As you keep going, be sure to take the spur trails that lead down to the shore, or you’ll miss looking up at the towering cliffs. It’s a fair bit of up and down, but well worth it.

After walking up multiple steps on the main trail, you’ll reach the high point of the peninsula. You can look toward the southwest and see Palisade Head and the shoreline from much higher up this time.

view from shovel point cliffs down the Lake Superior shoreline
The view from Shovel Point, down the Lake Superior shoreline to Palisade Head

This is a popular spot for rock climbers, so you may see some while you’re there.

The views don’t stop there! Go back to the trail and keep following it towards the end of the point. You know you’re there when you’re back down closer to the water and you see the wooden steps and viewing platform.

Shovel Point viewing platform
When you see this viewing platform you know you’ve reached the end of the Point

Once you’ve had a chance to take in the expansive view of Lake Superior from the viewing platform, stay to the north side of the peninsula for even more beauty. If there’s fog or big waves, it’s hard to leave!

That trail will circle back around to connect with the main trail bringing you up top again, and back to the Visitor Center.

Lake Superior is Always Beautiful

No matter what season or weather you get when you hike this trail, the spectacular views and being by the biggest freshwater lake in the world is always worth it.

The mood of the lake changes all the time, so it could be a different experience each time you go.

foggy lake superior
This famous sea stack collapsed during a storm a couple years ago

Flowers, Berries and Forest

June brings out some of the loveliest wildflowers, and July and early August bring out the raspberries and more flowers.

The woods here are lush with lots of various evergreens, aspen and birch.

It’s Do-able for All Ages

You do want to have good knees since there are lots of steps. But we saw folks from toddlers to the elderly on the trail.

It’s short—just a 1.25 miles round trip (2k). I love what it says on the Superior Hiking Trail website:

“You will be surprised how long it takes you to complete it. Not because it is difficult hiking—but because of all the stopping you’ll be doing to enjoy the views!”

Yes!

What’s Not to Love

The only disadvantage of Tettegouche is it’s CROWDED in the summer and early fall. At least it’s crowded in the main parking lot and at the Visitor Center.

steps at shovel point
Some of the steps along the trail

Very few of the folks who make it to the Visitor Center continue on behind it to the trailhead for Shovel Point, though. And even fewer hike further along the trail than the towering palisades.

So while you’ll have to share the parking lot and Visitor Center with loads of people, and maybe the start of the trail, chances are it’ll thin out enough for you to enjoy the hike before too long.

How to Get There

Tettegouche is 80 miles from Okontoe. You could go down for a day trip during your stay, or plan to stop there on your way up or on your way back home.

You can’t miss the Visitor Center on the lake side of Highway 61, just south of the intersection of Highway 1.

TIP: During the height of travel season, you’ll have a better chance of finding a parking spot if you plan to get there early in the day or late in the day.

lake superior waves at shovel point
Lake Superior’s shore to the north of Shovel Point—nice waves that day!

(Article and photos by Sharon Brodin)