Jay Cooke State Park is a state park of Minnesota, United States, protecting the lower reaches of the St. Louis River. The park is located about 10mi southwest of Duluth and is one of the ten most visited state parks in Minnesota. The western half of the park contains part of a rocky, 13mi gorge. This was a major barrier to Native Americans and early Europeans traveling by canoe, which they bypassed with the challenging Grand Portage of the St. Louis River. The river was a vital link connecting the Mississippi waterways to the west with the Great Lakes to the east.Today Minnesota State Highway 210 runs through Jay Cooke State Park. The 9mi of the route between Carlton and Highway 23—which include the park—are designated the Rushing Rapids Parkway, a state scenic byway.The park is named for Pennsylvania financier Jay Cooke, who had developed a nearby power plant, which is still in use. The Grand Portage trail and three districts of 1930s park structures are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.HistoryThe first 2350acre of land on which the park is situated were donated to the state by the Saint Louis Power Company in 1915. The park remained generally undeveloped until 1933, when a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was established on the site. The CCC camp built a rustic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River just slightly downstream from some torrential rapids and waterfalls. This camp also built a picnic shelter. The camp was disbanded in 1935, but a second camp was set up in 1939. This camp rebuilt the swinging bridge and built the River Inn, which now houses the visitor center. This camp was disbanded in 1942, shortly before the federal government ended the CCC entirely. In 1945 the state began to add more land to the park, eventually giving it its current size of 8818acre.Plan your visit to Jay Cooke State Park and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Carlton itinerary planner.
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Only a short jaunt off of the interstate, this State Park offers a wide variety of activities. There are a ton of hiking trails and the camping spots are very well maintained. I would definitely recom... more »
We were heading back to the Twin Cities from Duluth, and decided to stop. The last time I had been here, I was a little girl, and still remember the striking rocks - the way they are at an angle in th... more »
After driving past Jay Cooke for years on our way to the North Shore, we decided to camp there one night. It was such a great experience that not only is it one of our favorite state parks, we make a ... more »
Jay Cooke is a special place for me. It was the first Minnesota state park that I camped in as a transplant from Wisconsin. It was where my partner and I got engaged. This park has some similar scenery as the North Shore parks (minus the lake) and has the advantage of (relative) proximity to the Twin Cities. Great hikes and plenty of camping space. Check it out in autumn to see some great fall colors.
This, like any state park, is majestic and worthy of touring. Start at the contact station. Get a map. Discuss with the staff the length and difficulty you'd like to hike then go exploring.
Love the swinging bridge! Paths well maintained. Many beautiful sights!
Jay Cook is a beautiful place to go and drive through, you can hike if you choose to, there is tall mountains here and a lot to see off the scenic overlooks. Its beautiful when it snows too. Another thing I really enjoyed about this park is the big metal and rope swing bridge outside of the party and picnic area where there are weddings too. You can get married here too. There are restrooms and a travelers center run by the national forrest service i believe. Nice friendly people. Great place for hiking.
They take great care for the tent camping sites. We'll maintained and beautiful location
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Side trips from Carlton
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
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Pattison State Park
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Gooseberry Falls State Park
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Temperance River State Park
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Tettegouche State Park
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Split Rock Lighthouse
Visit for: 1h 30min
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