Illgen Falls is the upstream relative of High Falls on the Baptism River. While it is not as interesting as High Falls, it is much easier to visit, and that’s a good reason to stop and visit the falls.
High Falls requires a hike that is of moderately easy difficulty. It’s not really long, but it still does take some time to get to the falls. When you are there, though, you can get an absolutely great view from the base of the falls. Illgen Falls, on the other hand, requires very little hiking. It’s about 0.15 miles from the road right down a trail. When you get there, though, you will be at the crest of the falls, not the base. This viewpoint of the falls isn’t the greatest, and in pictures, it leads to the perception that the falls aren’t really that large…when in fact Illgen Falls is taller than it appears. There might be a way to get down the base, but I really didn’t care enough to hunt that option down. Sometimes you just have to enjoy what’s in front of you!
- From MN-61 heading north or south, you will turn onto MN-1. If you’re heading north, it will be a left turn.
- Head 1.6 miles on MN-1 to the gravel pulloff that will be on your left. I wasn’t sure if I was at the pulloff, so I ended up passing it, and then turning around. There is a sign indicating Illgen Falls, but I’m not sure that it’s very obvious at first. I think it was rather small.
- From the parking area, head down toward the river. You’ll be able to tell which direction it is because you can definitely hear it!
- Along the way, you will pass a house, but stay on the designated trail to the base of the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Length of Hike: 0.3 miles round-trip
Illgen Falls in May 2010
Where in the World is Illgen Falls?
High Falls of the Baptism River (August 2015)
The High Falls of the Baptism River is a definite must see for North Shore waterfalls. It’s a truly powerful waterfall that is accessed by a beautiful hike. I hadn’t planned on visiting this waterfall until later, but since I was passing Tettegouche State Park, I decided to check out the falls. I had already walked some distance, and my feet were hurting after changing to a new pair of shoes.
At first, I was slightly confused about where to access the falls. I was using the book “Waterfalls of Minnesota’s North Shore”, and the book is rather useful, but I think that in the last year or so, some changes must have been made to the way to access the falls? I would check out the website for directions, but essentially you should enter the rest area for Tettegouche State Park and drive past the visitor’s center (and pay the fee if you haven’t). You’ll drive under the M-61 bridge and you should just keep heading down this newly-paved road to the end of the road, where you’ll see a sign for the trail center. This is where you start your short journey.
After visiting the beautiful falls, you can continue on to Two Step Falls from either side of High Falls. I would suggest following the path that is on the south side of the river. You can cross the Baptism River and go see the falls on the north side of the river, but the only way to get back to the parking lot after visiting those falls is to retrace your steps, which is why I would just go on the south side. I ended up not visiting Two Step Falls because it was getting late. (I did get a chance to visit Two Step Falls in August 2015.)
- From M-61, enter the rest area for Tettegouche State Park. Head past the visitor’s center and drive down to the end of the road to the trail center. Consult the visitor’s center if you want better directions. It’s not that hard to access.
- Follow the signs to High Falls.
Accessibility: 5/10 (moderate, consistent up-and-down)
Length of Hike: 1.4 miles round-trip
High Falls of the Baptism River (May 2010)
Where in the World is High Falls of the Baptism River?