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Temperance River ‘Swimming’ Hole Safety First - No Life Guard On Duty

Temperance River ‘Swimming’ Hole

temperence river

Be vary carful swimming here, especially when the water is high. A number of people have lost their lives slipping from rocks near the edge on the various North Shore rivers. This spot can be very dangerous as well, but a wonderful place to make a stop and have a picnic. If the water is not high and flowing to fast, people swim in the narrow gorge and at the end where the water runs up into a shallow hole. Remember, each year the spring water is strong and can make big changes to pools that previously were safe to swim in. Check the water depths and areas before jumping in! Rocks are pushed down and fill holes that were safe to swim in years before.

Parking available on Temperance Rd/343

Temperance River State Park Quick Stats

  • 5,007 acres
  • 275,931 annual visits
  • 22,720 overnight visits

Temperance River History

Pierre Esprit Radisson and Medard Chouart, Sier des Groselliers, were probably the first white visitors to the North Shore when they traveled up the shore of Lake Superior during 1660. Along with the Ojibwe Indians, the French controlled the North Shore area until 1763. The first white settlers in the area were probably clerks at American Fur Company posts located along the shore in the 1830s. It is said the park got its name because, unlike other North Shore streams, the river had no bar at its mouth. At one time, the waters of this particular river flowed so deep and so strong into Lake Superior that there was no build-up of debris. This meant that there was no “bar.” What could you call a river without a bar? For an appropriate, if slightly tongue-in-cheek selection, “temperance” fits perfectly. The area became a state park in 1957. Campsites on both sides of the river, plus the park’s hiking trails and picnic areas, draw a steady stream of visitors to this North Shore park.

Temperance River Geology

The bedrock in this park is all igneous (solidified from the molten state), and formed about 1.1 billion years ago. One of the most interesting features in the park is the narrow Temperance River gorge with its many waterfalls. The steep-gradient river has cut through the fractured, ancient lava flows of the river bed. Swirling water carried gravel and rocks which wore away the basalt and created large potholes. Over thousands of years, these potholes were dug deeper and wider, eventually connecting and creating the deep, narrow gorge. Nearby, more potholes were left high and dry as the river found its new, lower channel. Carlton Peak, the high knob in the northeastern part of the park, is made of a hard, massive rock called anorthosite. It consists of several huge blocks of this rock, which were carried up from many miles below the surface by the molten basalt lava.

Temperance River Park Page
Temperance Fishing Forum Tips
Minnesota Finest Fishing Article


All State Park Information the property of the Minnesota DNR.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Great Lakes Drive, affiliates, and site resources are not responsible for any incidents attributed to the use of this information. All information provided on this site should be considered a simple bit of information that informs the average individual on activities or available lodging that others have participated in, and in many cases warns them of dangerous aspects of a location, and should not be considered a promotion for taking part in the activity or a recommendation to use, stay, or support. Some of these pages represent extremely dangerous activities and should not be considered by individuals and families as normal activities. Many of the links provide information contributed by professionals or adrenaline junkies and are meant only as interesting points. Other information would probably never be heard about and represents wonderful historic facts and fiction about places that have disappeared. All activities from driving a car to entering the water can be hazardous and should be taken on at your own risk. Take responsibility for your actions and be very careful when exploring this wonderful fast land that is available to us all. Ads on the site may be from awesome companies but for legal reasons they do not necessarily represent the beliefs or receive the support of By reading the information on a page, and/or clicking on any of the links, you agree to take full responsibility in the result. Drive Safely! Stay on the path if you are concerned about the results of stepping off the edge. Discover a wonderful place right in your own backyard! You will never forget it.