Skip to main content

Seasonal snowmelt and heavy rainfalls are pushing North Shore rivers to the highest levels recorded in years, causing damage to scenic bridges and washing out hundreds of trees. 

Bridges at the Lutsen Resort were overtaken by raging waters on the Poplar River and the Cascade River is reaching the top of the culvert under Highway 61 as it thunders into Lake Superior. 

"Unfortunately, our iconic red covered bridges have not been spared from the scathe of the ​high-water levels, however we will do whatever it takes to ensure they are repaired and remain part of Lutsen Lodge for many more decades to come," a resort spokesperson told Bring Me The News

The situation is so serious that the Minnesota DNR has issued a rare warning to travelers to the North Shore, noting that "many tributaries to Lake Superior are breaching trails, roads and bridges and have resulted in closures to portions of state parks and trails in the area."

"The majority of state parks along the North Shore are experiencing flooding," it says. "The public should also understand that these hazardous conditions along the North Shore are not limited to state parks and trails."

Parks and trails affected include Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, George H. Crosby Manitou, Temperance River, Cascade River and Judge C.R. Magney state parks and portions of the Gitchi-Gami and North Shore state trails and the Superior Hiking Trail.

"These waters are dangerous and unpredictable and have the power to sweep away anything. Please stay safe by staying away from these areas," said Ann Pierce, Parks and Trails Division director.

On Friday evening, the Minnesota Department of Transportation confirmed Highway 61 remains open but bridge engineers are continuing to monitor conditions, while there have been a number of roads closed in St. Louis County due to flooding and collapsed culverts.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The high waters, while potentially dangerous, are creating talking points for locals and waterfall season-visitors alike. 

"It's like a circus," said Thom McAleer, co-owner of Cascade Lodge and Restaurant

McAleer walked the 8-mile loop trail from Highway 61 to County Road 45 along the Cascade River on Friday. 

The Cascade River on Friday, May 13. Photo by Thom McAleer. 

The Cascade River on Friday, May 13. Photo by Thom McAleer. 

McAleer said the river is so wide it's cleaning the banks and shooting hundreds of trees out into Lake Superior, rolling giant boulders and snapping trees along the way. 

"It's just intense and incredible strength," he said. 

Anne Soash, chief financial officer of the Tettegouch Lodge, said there's been a lot of anticipation for how fast the rivers would be running this year. 

The Baptism River runs immediately behind the Tettegouche Lodge (formerly the Baptism River Inn) near Finland.

"Normally, you're a good 10-feet up when you sit on the cliffs overlooking the river," Soash said Friday. "Right now, it's almost to the top of those cliffs."

For now, the bridge that provides the only access to Tettegouch Lodge is still operating.

"Our bridge is still safe, but it was getting close," Soash said.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-25 at 9.34.43 AM

Video: Plane with blown tire makes emergency landing at MSP Airport

An aviation enthusiast caught the moment on video.

Pixabay - laptop computer dark screen

St. Paul man charged in online 'sextortion' scheme targeting at least 500 girls

Yue Vang, 31, was charged in U.S. District Court Wednesday.

Great Dane Rescue and Sanctuary

Emaciated Great Danes rescued after being found living in minivan

Great Dane Rescue of Minnesota and Wisconsin posted that two of the dogs are in "rough condition" and "barely hanging on."

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 10.28.52 AM

2 years since George Floyd's killing, Biden signs exec order on policing

The signing comes on the second anniversary of Floyd's murder by police in south Minneapolis.

earlyseason

Lutsen Mountains owner to buy Michigan ski resort

The Skinner family has operated alpine ski areas in the Midwest for 60 years.

covid

Mayo Clinic, CDC address concerns over monkeypox in the US

The CDC does not currently think there is a significant threat to the general public.

police tape

Charges: Man killed brother, left body in homemade camper for 7 months

James Robert Hess, 48, faces second-degree murder charges for the death of his 52-year-old brother, William Harold Hess Jr.

storm

Minnesota forecast: Hot, humid and severe storm chances

Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard says right now the best chance for storms looks like Sunday/Sunday night.

Thai Cultural Council of Minnesota

Minnesota's biggest Thai festival to be hosted in front of State Capitol

The Thai New Year, or Songkran, is one of the most celebrated holidays in Thailand.

police tape, crime scene

Man dies after being shot in the head in St. Cloud

Investigators believe the suspects fled the scene in a vehicle.

USATSI_18349907

Uvalde school massacre: MN Democrats call for action, Republicans prayers

The tragedy in Texas has sparked different reactions from Minnesota's congressional delegation.

Related

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Lake_Superior_North_Shore

Lake Superior is at record high level, causing problems on North Shore

A combination of snowmelt and heavy rain is behind the problem.

North Shore camping

Reports of North Shore campsites trashed, 'disrespectful' visitors

Locals say most people have been great, but there are higher levels of disrespect this year.

duluth harbor cam

Videos: Winter storm creates massive waves on Lake Superior

Surfers even took to the icy waters on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2019-05-30 at 8.22.02 AM

6 North Shore resorts bought by Minnesota investment group

The investors were only looking to buy one resort, but ended up buying an entire portfolio.

Cook County

Someone chopped a tree down to keep COVID-19 out of Cook County

MnDOT had to respond in the middle of the night to open the highway.