Temperance River

Temperance River ca. 1930s. (Image: Zenith City Press)

A mile up Highway 61 from Cross River the Temperance River, the focal point of Temperance River State Park, plays host to the dangerous beauty of Hidden Falls. A series of cascades brings the river down 162 feet through a rocky gorge within the space of only half a mile. The last cascade drops just one hundred feet from the river’s mouth. Along this span, the river’s erosive power has carved deep cauldrons into the native rock, thus “hiding” the falls (also called the Temperance River Gorge). Missteps have led to tragedies over the years, as hikers have accidentally dropped into the gorge.

The area surrounding the river became a state park in 1938. The Ojibwe name for the river is Kawimbashzibi or “Deep Hollow Water River.” The name “Temperance” is actually a play on words: the river’s sheer drop allows it to empty into Lake Superior without leaving behind much sediment or vegetation, and therefore the mouth of the Temperance has no “bar.”