Overnight Parking in State Parks
Thanks to the Superior Shuttle staff of 2016 for compiling this information!
If you are planning to park overnight at one of the state parks along the Superior Hiking Trail, this information will help you plan. You must have a State Park Permit (daily/yearly fee) AND also have the vehicle registered (no charge) to park within a state park after 10:00 PM. Here are the steps to take to make sure you’re ready to go:
1. Get a State Park permit:
If you don’t already have one, there are two options for obtaining a park permit: a Minnesota State Park yearly permit ($25, good for 12 months after purchase) or a daily sticker ($5 for every day your car will be parked inside the park – parking overnight constitutes 2 days).
Upon arriving at the state park you may find that there are no state park staff available to take your money and issue your permit. If staff are available…Great! But don’t count on it. If staff are not available, fill out the Minnesota State Parks Payment Envelope which can be found at the same place you register your vehicle (see below). If you need/want the year-round permit put $25.00 in the envelope and fill out your mailing address in the space provided. Your yearly permit will arrive in the mail. If you choose to pay by the day, put in the appropriate amount. You may also pay by credit card and there is a space to do that.
2. Register your vehicle:
Staff may be available to register your vehicle. It is free and they just need to know how long you intend to park and your license plate. However, staff are often not available, so if you are on your own to register your vehicle, fill out your vehicle license plate number on the Minnesota State Parks Payment Envelope and the rip-off tab. The envelope is put in the “night deposit” box and the rip-off tab gets put on the dashboard of your vehicle. To find the building (or kiosk) where campers self-register, follow these directions:
-Jay Cooke SP: Go 1.5 miles from the west park entrance on Highway 210 out of Carlton/Thompson to the Jay Cooke SP headquarters lot. This is where you can register with park staff or use the self-service registration envelopes if building is closed.
–Gooseberry Falls SP: There is a camper registration building (as well as the main big Visitor Center). After entering off of Hwy 61, take the first right heading toward the campground and you will see the registration building about 200 yards down the road. There is a stop sign right in front of it.The main visitor may be closed and of no value to you.
–Split Rock Lighthouse SP: There is a registration building about 300 yards off Hwy 61 (up a big hill) with a stop sign in front of it.
-Tettegouche SP: There are both the big main visitor center and a small kiosk to the right of the visitor center directly next to where firewood is sold. You can register at the little kiosk or go into the visitor center if it is open. You can also get what you need for Crosby-Manitou SP here.
-Crosby-Manitou SP: There is a kiosk about 300 yards down the entry road. No Stop sign present.
-Temperance River SP: The main entrance is well marked on the Grand Marais side of the river and on the lake side of the road. The building you are looking for is about 150 yards within the park with a stop sign in front of it.
-Cascade River SP: Drive beyond the Cascade River about 1/2 mile and the park entrance is on the inland side of Hwy 61. The building you want is about 400 yards inland and it has a stop sign in front of it.
-Judge Magney SP: The registration building is only about 100 yards off Hwy 61. Most often there are no staff present, but this is where you self register anyway. There is a stop sign here also.
3. Park at the designated overnight parking lot:
Staff will direct you to the parking area but if staff are not available, here are the overnight parking lots:
-Jay Cooke SP: You may park in the lot directly in font of the park headquarters building. Please also put your intended date of return on the self registration envelope and the tear-off tab that you put on the dashboard of your vehicle.
-Gooseberry SP: Continue past the “stop sign” where you and the campers registered and drive straight in (not right into the campground) to a very big oval parking lot that can hold about 100 cars. It is about 1/4 mile going toward Lake Superior. This is also where the Gitchi-Gami Bike Trail terminates (between two Handicapped Parking signs). This lot is called the “Picnic Flow”lot on the SP maps. For hike planning purposes, this overnight parking lot adds about a mile of hiking to any trip, since the SHT Trailhead is at the Visitor Center (where no overnight parking is allowed).
-Split Rock SP: Continue past the stop sign about 35 yards and turn right down a long hill. A sign will be directing you toward the “campground” and “picnic area”. The middle of 3 lots is Pebble Beach and it is well marked with a “Pebble Beach” sign. Please note that there is no overnight parking allowed at Split Rock River Wayside.
-Tettegouche SP: The “Trail Center” lot is about one mile inland. You actually drive alongside the parking lot in in front of the big visitor center (dayhike/visitor parking only), go down a hill, cross over the Baptism River on a very narrow bridge and then drive under Hwy 61 to get there.There is a sign that says “Trail Center” which is then about 40 yards further up the road. There is about a 200 yard spur trail going from this lot up to the SHT. Please note that State Hwy 1 Trailhead is right next to Tettegouche on the east side and is also an excellent choice for starting your hike – no permits required there.
-Crosby-Manitou SP: The overnight parking is about 1/4 mile past the entry kiosk. The road splits just beyond the kiosk. Go left. Please remember you can register for this park at Tettegouche more easily; there is virtually no staff present at Crosby-Manitou SP.
-Temperance River SP: After getting your registration taken care of below the highway, turn around (at the little stop sign) and drive back to Hwy 61. After stopping for traffic, drive directly across Hwy 61 and go inland (across the bike trail) and about 150 yards beyond the bike trail is a maintenance area. There is usually some sort of gravel pile there. Park beyond the gravel pile along a sort of fence line.
-Cascade River SP: Drive into the campground and park on either side of the “Trail Center” cabin.
-Judge Magney SP: Continue in beyond the registration building and about 200 yards ahead to the only parking area in the park (besides the campground itself).
Although very safe, parking within state parks is at your own risk.
If you are using the Superior Shuttle, check their website for specific pick-up instructions for each park. Many of the above locations are reservation-only! Thanks to the Superior Hiking Trail Shuttle Service Staff of 2016 for these directions.