Illgen Falls may not be the most well-known waterfall on the North Shore, but this waterfall makes the top of our waterfall list because of the great vantage point for viewing the falls. This waterfall is viewed from the top and, if desired, visitors are able to walk right up to the river and falls. From this viewpoint, you can experience the power of Illgen Falls. Even during dry periods, you’ll likely find water rushing down the falls.
When visiting the falls, you will notice that they are surrounded by huge, round boulders that follow the plummeting water to the bottom. Explore the top of the falls, if the water level permits, and you will find ancient potholes that were carved by the constantly running waters and the huge tumbling stones.
Illgen Falls is found next to the location where Illgen City once stood. The city came to be when a man by the name of Illgen built a hotel that was said to be the finest hotel from Duluth to Thunder Bay. The hotel resembled the inns of Old Mexico and included a large bar complete with slot machines and expensive alcohol. These things supposedly attracted Chicago’s criminal elite, including Al Capone and company, who stopped by on their way to secret northern lodges.
How to get there
From Silver Bay: Turn left (north) onto Highway 1, about 6.5 miles north of Silver Bay. About 1.6 miles up the road you will see a parking area on the left (west) side of the road. Park in the parking area and follow the trail that leads hikers away from the road and toward the sound of the falls. The area is easily accessed by following the trail past the cabin to the waterfall (it takes less than five minutes to walk from the parking area).
Tettegouche State Park, 5702 MN-61, Silver Bay, MN
The 60-foot High Falls are downstream from the 40-foot Illgen Falls on the Baptism River. Enter Tettegouche State Park and continue past the Visitor Center. Start the hike to the High Falls at the park trail center.