North Shore Drive - Lake Superior

United States Travel
North Shore Drive - Lake Superior
The North Shore of Lake Superior is considered one of the Great Lakes regions most scenic drives. It's part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour, which goes on through three states and Canada. The North Shore tour covers 150 miles from Duluth to the Canadian Boarder. Along the way are tall cliffs, lighthouses, waterfalls, charming small towns, state parks, gift shops, and visitor centers. Visitors are hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and taking photos everywhere. One could zip down the road in just a few hours but stopping at the many natural and tourist sights is why you are there. The North Shore is popular, so in summer or during fall colors, have reservations in advance with hotels or vacation rentals. Many campgrounds exist just off the highway in the Superior National Forest. The Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness is also close, you'll see many vehicles with canoes on the top.
The cobblestone streets of Duluth are located at the westernmost tip of Lake Superior. It has many attractions which include watching the ships in Canal Park, the iconic Lift Bridge, a tour of Glesheen Mansion, Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, the S.S. William A. Irvin Museum, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, the Duluth Children's Museum, a zoo, Leif Erikson Park, and the Great Lakes Aquarium. You can also take a cruise with the Vista Fleet Harbor Cruises. Duluth boasts more than 11,000 acres of open and wooded land within the city limits.


Be sure to take the scenic route out of Duluth as you head north. You have the 4-lane Highway 61 which isn't scenic or old Hwy 61 (North Shore Drive). Along the scenic drive are views of the lake, tourist attractions and many pull-outs to take pictures. A few spots have access to the rocky shoreline. It's an easy 19 mile drive between Duluth and Two Harbors.

North Shore Drive

Two Harbors is a busy harbor along the way that has gift shops, cafes, and some nice waterfront parks like Agate Bay Beach Lighthouse & Pier.

Two Harbors

This high bluff rises directly out of Lake Superior. Although a tunnel now bores right through it, the original builders carved Highway 61 out of the cliffside 125 feet above the lake. There is a wayside area to visit the old road and cliffs.

Silver Cliff

Right along the road is Gooseberry Falls. Easy trails take you down to the viewing area where inviting pools of water attract visitors. The state park has a large visitors center and also offers dozens of miles of hiking trails. Hike down to Lake Superior or up the creek to more waterfalls and distant views.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

This small town has a visitors center at the Northshore Mining taconite plant, and offers free tours. An overlook alows you to view the taconite operation and read signs explaining the process.

Silver Bay

For a charge, you can tour the historic lighthouse and visitors center. Many come to this park for the kayaking, some of the best on Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Palisade Head's cliffs rise 350 feet straight up from Lake Superior. There is a little road at mile marker 57 that leads to the top for a spectacular view.

Palisade Head

Running along the Lake Superior shoreline, Cascade River State Park has 18 miles of hiking trails and a campground.

Cascade River State Park

Find rugged coast, waterfalls, several hiking trails, and camping.

Temperance River State Park

Grand Marais has a thriving arts and culture center, and many restaurants. It is also basecamp for all the wilderness activities to the north in the National Forest and wilderness areas, so most outfitters are here.

Grand Marais

Here find the famous Devil's Kettle Falls and 9 miles of some of hiking trails.

Judge C R Magney State Park

Location of High Falls, the state's highest waterfall which drops 120 feet above the Pigeon River. To see the falls is a half mile paved trail to observation decks.

Grand Portage State Park

Big lawn chairs Gooseberry Falls Duluth High School Split Rock Lighthouse Lighthouse Twin Harbors Twin Harbors north shore map
Agate Bay Beach Lighthouse
Gooseberry Falls State Park
Old Duluth High School
Split Rock Lighthouse
Big lawn chairs on the side of the road
Twin Harbors
Twin Harbors