TEMPERANCE RIVER STATE PARK
CROSS RIVER WAYSIDE
The Cross River drains 91 square miles of the North Shore along the border of Cook and Lake counties. There are five major falls in the last six miles of its dash to Lake Superior. Along a section of the river followed by the Cross River Trail that is a part of this circuit hike, the river has cut a deep, narrow gorge through the layers of lava flows underlying the region. The Ojibwa called the river Tchibaiatigo zibi or wood of the soul river. Trying to look at the river from the rim of the gorge can be as difficult as trying to look into a person’s soul. Although in places you can hear its roar, it’s not possible to see the river far below because the gorge is deep and narrow and the walls steep.
For a time, loggers used the Cross River to transport timber to Lake Superior where they then made large rafts of the logs and towed them to a sawmill. In the winter, lumberjacks stored the logs in a reservoir. In the spring, with the reservoir swollen with meltwater, they opened the dam. The result was a flood of water and logs rampaging down the river. However, the use of Cross River for this purpose was short lived after too many logs reached Lake Superior with their ends splintered like well-used toothpicks from repeatedly ramming the gorge walls and rocks along the way.