On Friday we decided to drive from Duluth on what is called the North Shore Scenic Drive on Rt 61 along the shoreline of Lake Superior. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the drive and the gorgeous scenery.
The Drive is 150 miles long from Duluth to Thunder Bay, Ontario with views of Lake Superior, glacier carved Sawtooth Mountains and Superior National Forest. Along the way we suddenly spotted Bigfoot!!
We decided to only drive 55 miles and work our way back while stopping at points of interest. Our first stop was at Tettegouche State Park where we took a short hike to an overlook with views of Lake Superior.
Next we passed through the tiny towns of Silver Bay and Beaver Bay before stopping at Split Rock Lighthouse. The lighthouse, said to be the most visited spot on the North Shore, sits atop a sheer cliff 150 feet above Lake Superior and is one of the best preserved and most visited lighthouses in the country. Split Rock Lighthouse was put into service in 1910. It was built by the federal government because of a disastrous 1905 storm that sank or damaged 29 ships on Lake Superior. This lighthouse was completely built from the lakeside because there were no roads at that time.
In 1969 the lighthouse was decommissioned and deeded to the state of Minnesota. It is a National Historic Landmark. For a fee you can tour the lighthouse, a fog signal building, an oil house, three keepers’ houses, and storage barns. The lighthouse and buildings appear as they did in the 1920’s.
Split Rock is also a 2,057 acre Minnesota state park but the lighthouse is maintained by the Minnesota Historical Society.
On the way home we stopped at the Two Harbors Lighthouse which is now a bed and breakfast and the only operating lighthouse in Minnesota. Built in 1892, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was a really great day with three state parks, two lighthouses, a beautiful overlook and some amazing scenery.
Saturday, our last day in Duluth, we drove across the bridge to Wisconsin. We wanted to visit Pattison State Park thirteen miles south of Superior, Wisconsin. The park is the location of Big Manitou Falls, which at 165 feet is the highest falls in Wisconsin and the fourth largest waterfall east of the Rockies. It is said to be the same height as Niagara Falls, just a lot skinnier.
Here is a video below we made of the falls.
This state park was very pretty with 80+ handcrafted stone and log buildings and structures built in the 1930’s by the CCC. We really enjoyed this park, as well as the three Minnesota state parks we visited the day before, all possible because of the hard work of the young men of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).
We enjoyed our six days in Duluth. There were lots of things left to do. Until next time!
Lake Superior facts:
- Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the country, bigger than all the other Great Lakes combined. It is 350 miles long, 160 miles wide and has a surface area of 31,700 square miles
- It contains 10% of the world’s fresh water with a volume of 440 trillion cubic feet
- Average depth is 439 feet, with its deepest depth at 1,333 feet
- Average water temperature is 42 degrees
- There has been over 350 shipwrecks with more than 1,000 souls lost
- Last time Lake Superior completely froze over was 1997, it was 90% frozen in 2013
Next stop:. Grand Marais, MN