Snapshot virtual tour
Welcome to the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park virtual tour! Situated along the North Shore of Lake Superior, the park offers you the opportunity to skip stones along the lake, explore a historic lighthouse, take in incredible views along hiking trails, or camp at unique cart-in campsites. We hope the tour prompts you to visit the park in person sometime soon.
Welcome to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park! The park office is your first stop for information about the park and the historic Split Rock Lighthouse, camping registration, purchasing park permits, and more. The Gitchi-Gami State Trail also travels up the entrance road and connects to the lighthouse site before heading down through the park to the shore of Lake Superior.
Park Office - Interior
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is open year-round. It provides a natural setting for the Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site, which is run by the Minnesota Historical Society. Ask about the many different recreational opportunities in the area, including the Superior Hiking Trail, paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail, kayaking, camping, picnicking, fishing, scuba diving, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Pebble Beach offers either a refreshing dip in Lake Superior or an incredible array of flat stones for skipping on the water... you decide which is more to your liking! It's also a wonderful place to test your kayak skills in a protected cove. Picnic sites are tucked just beyond the treeline and the beach is a short walk from parking and the Trail Center building.
Little Two Harbors
At the southwest end of Pebble Beach is a place called Little Two Harbors, the site of a small fishing village during the early years of the twentieth century. Remnants of this time can still be found in the area. Enjoy the deep green color of the water behind Ellingson Island, as well as a great view of the distant lighthouse.
Lake Superior Picnic Site
There are a number of individual picnic sites along Pebble Beach, each with a table and fire ring. Nearby, visitors can find the Trail Center building and a smaller picnic shelter. This area is a natural playground for families spending the day on the North Shore!
This small shelter is located near the Trail Center parking lot and is just a short hike from Pebble Beach. It can be rented for special occasions or for group picnics by contacting the park office.
The Trail Center is a four-season facility with modern restrooms, indoor gathering space with tables and a wood stove, and an outdoor patio with two large grills. The building is available for rent any time of the year. It is conveniently adjacent to Pebble Beach, the main trailhead for the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, and a walking trail to the Minnesota Historical Society Visitor Center and Split Rock Lighthouse.
Split Rock Lighthouse
Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the most visited lighthouses in the nation, and this is a favorite place for taking pictures of the lighthouse. The lighthouse was in service as an aid to navigation from 1910 to 1969, and the main dock and boathouse for the station were once located here (the current structure is home to parts of the water system).
Minnesota Historical Society Split Rock Lighthouse
Perched on top of a 130 foot cliff, this historic lighthouse was put into service in 1910. Today the site is maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society and includes the Fog Signal Building, three keeper's houses, and the Visitor Center. Tours of the site are available daily through the summer season.
A Fresnel lens and beacon are at the top of a winding staircase in this brick tower. For nearly 60 years, this light flashed each night at 10-second intervals across more than 20 miles of Lake Superior water. Today, the beacon still functions and is lit each year on November 10th to remember the 1975 sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Your stay at the cart-in campground begins here. Load up the cart assigned to your campsite, fill your water jugs, and off you go! There are 20 reservable sites between Lake Superior and Day Hill, all with a unique back-country character. The campground shower building has modern restrooms and is adjacent to the parking lot.
Several of the cart-in campsites are directly on the rocky Lake Superior shoreline, and some have other interesting rock formations! All campsites have a fire ring, picnic table, tent pad, and an animal-proof food box. Each is a comfortable distance from other campsites. From here you can hike up to the top of Day Hill or down a long set of stairs to a beautiful cobble beach.
The Day Hill Trail takes you up behind the cart-in campground to the top of this high chunk of volcanic rock. From here, you can see the lighthouse, Corundum Point, and this odd stone fireplace. Built years before the park was formed, the fireplace's origins are uncertain, but it shows that people have been enjoying this view for many years.
On the southwest side of Day Hill, this long staircase connects the campground with a sparkling cove and a fantastic cobble beach. Follow the trail further to backpack campsites, Corundum Point, and the mouth of the Split Rock River. Did you remember to count the number of steps?
Beyond the cart-in campground are four reservable backpack campsites on the shore of Lake Superior. Two of these are easily accessible to kayakers paddling the Lake Superior Water Trail, and all are popular with visitors traveling the Superior Hiking Trail. Facilities are rustic, but include a fire ring, table, animal-proof food box, and outdoor "biffy."
Crazy Bay is home to one of the four backpack campsites easily accessed by kayak travelers on the Lake Superior Water Trail. Besides seagulls and ore-boats, you can see Corundum Point in the distance and many fabulous rounded rocks at your feet.
Gitchi-Gami State Trail
At Split Rock Creek, the Gitchi-Gami State Trail crosses high above the trickle of water below. This paved trail is being developed along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The section passing through Split Rock Lighthouse State Park spans 14.6 miles, from the lakeshore at Gooseberry Falls State Park to the Beaver River in Beaver Bay.
Split Rock River (mouth)
The Gitchi-Gami State Trail crosses the mouth of the Split Rock River just below Highway 61. There is now a tunnel under the highway to the wayside parking lot on the other side. This is a popular starting point for visitors that wish to hike the Split Rock River loop trail or for anglers fishing the river and lakeshore. Log pilings at the end of the sand bar are remnants of a dam built for the Split Rock Lumber Co., which was active in the area prior to 1906.
Split Rock River
There are many scenic waterfalls to explore on the Split Rock River loop trail. From the wayside parking lot on Highway 61, follow the Superior Hiking Trail up the red rhyolite gorge, cool off in the shade of cedar trees, and wade in the root beer colored water.
Split Rock River Loop Trail
Partway up the river you will find these red rhyolite rock towers. While it is not known whether these are the source of the river's name, they certainly hint in that direction. This spot is near the boundary of the park, but the Superior Hiking Trail continues upstream to a bridge crossing the river.
Split Rock River Overlook
On the east side of the Split Rock River loop trail, you will find this location overlooking Lake Superior and the river valley. There is a small trail shelter here, so take a few minutes to enjoy the magnificent view!
Gold Rock Point
Gold Rock Point, the large rocky cliff north of the lighthouse, has a small parking lot for scuba diving enthusiasts that want to visit the Madeira shipwreck. The Madeira sank at the base of Gold Rock Point in one of the large 1905 storms that prompted the development of Split Rock Lighthouse. For non-divers, this area can be visited by following the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.