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  Lake Superior North Shore
From Two Harbors to
Grand Marais

Lake Superior North Shore

The stretch of highway along the Lake Superior North Shore from Two Harbors to Grand Marias brings you to some of Minnesota's favorite state parks and campgrounds, most famous waterfalls, and best known Minnesota tourist attractions. Here are some of the highlights:

Lake Superior's Historic North Shore: A Guided Tour

Top 10 North Shore Attractions: Not to be missed!

  • Gooseberry Falls State Park: A short walk down a wheel chair accessible trail gets you to views of this beautiful falls and to the visitor center.
  • Hiking Trails: Two hiking trails follow the Gooseberry River down to Lake Superior. The River View trail starts below the falls and takes you to a ridge where you can view the lower and middle falls, then continues down to Agate Beach. Or you can hike the Gitchi Gummi trail to a much higher ridge that offers views of the mouth of the river. Upstream uou can hike the two mile Fifth Falls trail which is part of the Lake Superior Hiking Trail.
  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park: Tour the historic lighthouse and visitors center. Don't overlook what the rest of this state park offers on its 2,075 acres. This is one of the North Shore's best kayaking spots. There is a beautiful lakeshore overlook at the top of the Day Hill trail. Or hike the more challenging segment of the Lake Superior Hiking Trail and view a wealth of waterfalls. The Split Rock campground is one of the most popular on the shore.
  • Beaver Bay: A tiny town where you can learn some amazing North Shore history, take a Lake Superior excursion cruise, and stop at the Lake Superior Sausage Company and the Beaver Bay Agate Shop.
  • Silver Bay: This town, built by Reserve Mining Company, offers some great history of the taconite industry in North America. Schedule a free tour of the Northshore Mining taconite plant at the Visitor Center on Outer Drive. Nearby is a scenic overlook where you can view the taconite operation and read signs explaining the process.
  • Palisade Head: Many would agree that this is one of the single most beautiful spots in Minnesota. Palisade Head's cliffs rise 350' straight up from Lake Superior. You'll find a little road at mile marker 57 that leads to the top. Take care but, as you approach the rim, you will have a spectacular view. The Apostle Islands are visible in the distance and Shovel Point closer by. Palisade Head is part of Tettegouche State Park.
  • George H. Crosby Manitou State Park: one of the least known and best wilderness areas on the North Shore. Getting to this park requires a long detour from Highway 61.
  • Taconite Harbor: Pull off at an overlook to watch ore boats load at the massive LTV Steel dock.
  • Temperance River State Park: Even a short stop here will give you the flavor of the best of the North Shore. Experience rugged coast, rushing waterfalls, several hiking trails...including one that leads to the highest point on the North Shore. Some of the camp sites here are close to the highway, however many of them overlook the lake and have been our favorite camping spots for years.
  • Tofte: Stop here to visit the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum housed in a replica of a fish house. Tofte also provides a link to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wildernes via Highway 2. You can arrange for BWCA outfitting here. Tofte is also close to the Lutsen Ski area.
  • Lutsen: Though the town itself has few amenities, the area is one of the busiest on the North Shore. Lutsen Mountain is the midwest's largest downhill ski area. Another area attraction are the 27 beautiful holes of golf at Superir National. Also located in the area is Wild Country Maple Syrup, a place to take the family in springtime to see how maple syruping is done and to taste their products.
  • Cascade River State Park: This 2, 865 acre park stretches along the Lake Superior shoreline. Within the park are 18 miles of hiking trails. You can hike along the shore or climb into the Sawtooth Mountain Range. (what is left of Minnesota's only mountains.) Some of the campsites here are close to the highway.
  • The Superior National Forest: Part of the forest extends from the North Shore area on up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. You'll find many day hikes and some canoeing that is not part of the BWCAW. There are lots of ranger interpretive programs available. This is also a great area for blueberry picking; you can get maps and tips from the Forest Service.
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Lake Superior North Shore
Visit Grand Marais: Though claiming only about 1,350 year-round residents, Grand Marais is far from a "typical" small town. It is both a thriving arts and culture center and the "jumping off" place for much of the wilderness activity in this part of Minnesota.

There are several Boundary Waters outfitters to help you with a visit to the BWCAW. The Gunflint Trail begins in Grand Marias and runs 63 miles through the Superior National Forest to the Canadian border.

Lake Superior North Shore:Duluth to Two Harbors

Lake Superior North Shore: Grand Marais to Grand Portage

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