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“Family fun, beautiful views... and a little history mixed in.” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse
Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in Two Harbors
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Owner description: Shipwrecks from a mighty 1905 November gale prompted this rugged landmark's construction. Completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910, Split Rock Light Station soon became one of Minnesota's best known landmarks. Restored to its 1920s appearance, the light station offers a glimpse of lighthouse life in this remote and spectacular setting. Split Rock Lighthouse is a National Historic Landmark.
Blaine, MN
Level Contributor
88 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
“Family fun, beautiful views... and a little history mixed in.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 8, 2014

We own a cabin just ten miles from here, but have never visited the lighthouse. What a mistake... our visit was well worth the time and the $9.00 admission. I would recommend you take the time to watch the short video before touring the lighthouse and grounds, as it allows you to better appreciate things.

Back in November of 1905, a terrible storm on Lake Superior destroyed twenty-nine bulk ore carriers and took the lives of thirty-six seamen, the need for a lighthouse on the rocky northern shore of Superior was evident.

In 1906, a delegation went to Washington D.C. to convince Congress to allocate funds for the construction of a lighthouse on the dangerous northern shore of Lake Superior.

In 1907, $75,000 was appropriated and plans were put in place to build the much-needed lighthouse (and a fog horn). The location for the lighthouse would be near the area where the Split Rock River flows into Lake Superior.

In 1909, as there was no road leading to the building site chosen for the new lighthouse, the first challenge was to figure out how to get building materials to the site and up the cliff. A steam-powered hoist and derrick was built for lifting supplies off the boats on the lake more than 110 feet below the construction site. This method was used during the entire construction period. Over three hundred tons of building materials were lifted over a period of thirteen months without a major accident.

On July 31, 1910, the lighthouse was first lit and it stood not only as an aid to navigation, but a monument to the will of the men who built it.

There is a guide that will take you on a short tour, explain some of the history, and then you are on your own. People are in period dress and answer any questions you may have in the lighthouse as well as the light keeper's house. The views are spectacular from the grounds, but hike down the path to the shoreline of Lake Superior. The vistas from the shore back up to the Lighthouse on the cliff are unforgettable. There is also a nice gift shop and parking area.

Be prepared to spend at least two-three hours at the lighthouse. There is much to see and many wonderful photo opportunities. There are also some great hikes at Split Rock State Park, but you will need to purchase a park pass for those. You do NOT need the Park passes to view the lighthouse.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank bigdaddy73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Olalla, Washington
Level Contributor
289 reviews
65 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“No more foghorn!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 7, 2014

I can only give Split Rock Lighthouse a 4 because there is no more foghorn! How can that be? I heard a rumor that Split Rock's neighbors complained about the noise - and got their way! Is that true? What power one must have to turn off the lighthouse foghorn. I know I sound resentful, but it's warranted. The foghorn at the lighthouse now is a recording that comes over the speakers in the little building adjacent to the lighthouse, audible only in that room. They had forgotten to turn on the recorded foghorn the day we came, so we didn't hear it at all.

Moving on...when you drive into Split Rock, you first stop at the State Park building. You do not have to pay for the State Park unless you are entering the State Park. This is separate from the lighthouse. If you drive past the park building up to Split Rock Lighthouse, you will find the gift shop and restroom facilities. To go further, including into the lighthouse itself, the museum, and on the grounds, you have to pay. Adults are $9 per person.

The staff are friendly and knowledgeable. The lighthouse is small inside, and you can climb the winding staircase (single file) to get up closer to the light. The keeper's house is lovely and furnished as it might have been in the 1910s-20s. Walk down to the pumphouse along the shore. Learn the history of the light and the keepers and their families who have lived there. The view, of course, is great.

Visited May 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watertown, South Dakota
Level Contributor
206 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Great views”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2014

We went on a day when it was very chilly and extremely windy so we were not able to stay on top as long as we would have liked but the views were amazing! If you are able to, take the stairs down to the bottom so you can look up at it for the best views. It is so worth a visit

Visited June 2013
Thank tfi22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
Level Contributor
85 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Must-Visit Lighthouse!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 27, 2014

Words won't do justice to the beauty and the ingenuity of this Lighthouse! The first time I visited it, it was March and the place was snow-covered, the lighthouse was closed for the season.
But even then, the beauty was mesmerizing.

This time, we went in during the Memorial Day Weekend and not only the Lighthouse was open to public, but the beauty of nature that surrounds it was equally breathtaking! They have even included a 20 minute film about the Lighthouse and be sure to watch it before you take the tour as it will make you appreciate the tour even more!

We opted for a Guided Tour and it was an enlightening experience. The in-costume Keepers and their families, the tour of their homes gave a beautiful slice of history of the bygone-era.

Must must visit for everyone!

Visited May 2014
1 Thank SeemaTiwari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Very Nice”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 26, 2014

Beautiful view, but not too much things you can do there, and it's a bit expensive, but worth the money

Visited May 2014
Thank Ph0t0trip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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