Arguably the most iconic landmark of Minnesota’s North Shore is the Split Rock Lighthouse. Completed in 1910, it sits at the top of a 130-ft cliff face and has been preserved by the Minnesota Historical Society. The lighthouse was built as a response to a storm that took down 29 ships a few years prior. The construction of the lighthouse is considered a modern marvel due to the limited access to the area- many parts had to be carted up the hill from ships on the lake. The lighthouse’s primary use was discontinued in 1961. It is just outside of the town of Two Harbors, about an hour past Duluth on Highway 61.
Split Rock Lighthouse operates within the confines of a State Park, and tours are offered by the Minnesota Historical Society. There is a separate entry fee, but if you visit in warmer months, you can climb up inside the tower and marvel at the gigantic lens that was once used (below), as well as hear the fog signal sounded (loud) and tour the watchman’s quarters.
There are many vantage points of the lighthouse and the surrounding Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior in this state park as well as hiking trails and camping. Below are a few photos from park in different seasons.
Split Rock will continue to be a mainstay of Minnesota’s highly touted attractions, as well as an icon of Lake Superior and the wild and scenic North Shore. Go see it.
While in the area: There are 8 state parks on the 150-mile stretch between Duluth and Grand Portage. The North Shore is full of hiking areas, waterfalls, scenic overlooks, fun little restaurants and shops, and Gooseberry Falls just down the road. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to find something to do here.