Palisade Head is without a doubt one of the most beautiful locations in Minnesota. The sheer cliffs that drop off into incredible views of Lake Superior are a sight to be seen. It is also a gorgeous location for engagement photos for the adventurous, nature-loving couple. Keep on reading to learn more about how to plan the perfect Palisade Head engagement!
One hour north of Duluth
Three hours and 20 minutes north of the Twin Cities metro area.
Technically it is located within Tettegouche State Park in Minnesota, but it is not accessible from the rest of the park. If you are driving north on Minnesota State Highway 61, you will see a small sign indicating a parking area for Palisade Head on the right side of the road at milepost 57. There is a small parking area right at the top of the cliffs that is open starting at 8am. The drive to this parking lot is narrow and steep, but not very long. If the gate is closed, or the lot at the top of the cliffs is closed, there is also a small parking area at the bottom of the road you can park in and walk to the top. This is not recommended for those who have mobility issues, as the road is quite steep. If you do choose to walk to the top, please be mindful of vehicles on the road, as it is narrow.
Other nearby locations include:
Black Beach in Silver Bay
Shovel Point in Tettegouche State Park
Cascade Falls in Tettegouche State Park
Bean & Bear Lakes
The best time of day to have your engagement session at Palisade Head is sunrise! I know, not everyone is a morning person, but I promise you it will be worth it. Because the cliffs face east, you can watch the sun rise over Lake Superior from this location. Sunset is also beautiful, but you do not get the same intensity of colors in the sky at this time. However, there is no time of day that isn’t beautiful at Palisade Head!
Palisade Head is not for the faint of heart if you have a fear of heights. Of course, I would never ask you to go close to the edge (although some people are more willing than others).
The terrain is pretty rough here. Make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes you can move around in. Definitely avoid heels due to instability as well as crevasses your shoes could get caught up in.
It is often windy and chilly at the top of the cliffs. I personally love the windswept look, but if this isn’t your style, you might want to consider another location. Longer dresses do well here, as the wind provides a lot of movement! If you are someone who gets cold easily, or just prefers to be warm, dress in layers. A cozy sweater is always a good choice!
If you have mobility issues, please be aware that the terrain here is not very accessible. There are not many flat areas or trails. The parking lot at the top is accessible to enjoy the view, but moving around the cliffs may be difficult.
If you choose to bring your dog, they must be leashed at all times. Please be mindful of the fact that there are many drop-offs and crevasses that your dog could easily step in and get hurt. I will always be mindful of this in choosing paths to take if you bring your dog.
You may want to choose to stay overnight close by, especially if you are choosing to have your session here at sunrise!
*Prices vary depending on the time of year
AmericInn Silver Bay is an option close by (only about 3 minutes by car). They have a complimentary breakfast, as well as a pool, hot tub, and water slide!
Red Raven North is just a little further south in Beaver Bay (about 8 minutes by car). The motel recently opened in the summer of 2021. They will soon have a bike/gear shop and restaurant/bar opening as well!
Wild Pines Cabin is a beautiful little A-frame cabin with views of Lake Superior, a full kitchen, fireplace, and more! It has 3 bedrooms, with 4 beds and 2 bathrooms. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your engagement session, this is the spot! This could also double as an excellent back-up location for your engagement session if the weather does not cooperate. It is located just south of Beaver Bay, approximately 10 minutes from Palisade Head.
In an effort to protect the beautiful places that we love, I do not encourage the use of confetti, flower petals, champagne pops, etc. There are more sustainable options if you’re interested in a similar look. We can often collect leaves from the ground in place of flower petals or confetti, and use sparkling water for the same effect as champagne. Bonus: you actually get to drink the champagne! I also encourage sticking to the trail to prevent crushing all of the lovely and vital flora and fauna of the area.