Lake Superior’s North Shore

For our anniversary in August, Steve and I took a couple days off work and headed to Minnesota. Our plan was to use Duluth as a “home base” to explore the north shore of Lake Superior. We wanted to make the most of the time we had and it was difficult to decide what was a “must see” or “must do”. Knowing my love of waterfalls and lighthouses, Steve came up with a plan. We would drive up highway 61 and see as much as we possibly could.

Pallisades Head

Our first stop was Pallisades Head. With little more than a small highway marker to signal our arrival, we drove up the narrow road to the parking area. My jaw dropped as I stared out at the scenery…

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Several people have died falling from these cliffs. With no safety rails, Steve wasn’t taking any chances as he photographed the landscape…

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Walking back to the Jeep, I stopped to examine the sap covered pine cones…

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We could have spent much more time there, but then we would have had to miss out on something else.

Tettegouche State Park

The furthest north we drove was Tettegouch State Park. After paying for our day pass (which turned out to be valid at all the state parks we visited that day), we got directions for the trailhead to High Falls. It would be a 3+ mile round trip hike, but the ranger assured us it would be worth it. The trail started out rather steep and I was thinking how sore I would be the next day. Eventually the gravel trail turned into boardwalk and the hiking became a bit easier…

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We debated whether or not to climb down the 135 stairs to get the best view of the waterfall because, after all, you have to climb back up! In the end, I’m SO glad we did…

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With a little patience and wading into the river, you can get a picture of the falls without crowds of people. But then, we had to climb those 135 stairs…ugh…

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Again, we could have spent days exploring the trails and waterfalls!

Split Rock Lighthouse

Next we stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. There is an extra fee to visit the lighthouse, but we were determined to see it all. Luckily, it sits on a high cliff so there were only a few stair to climb to get to the top…

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But the best view of the lighthouse is further down the road at a scenic overlook…

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Moving on, we stopped at one of the places everyone said was a “must”

Gooseberry Falls State Park

After finally finding a parking space we headed down the trail to see Gooseberry Falls. It is actually a series of falls. Again, with patience, we were able to come away with uncrowded pictures…

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The afternoon was quickly slipping away from us as we headed to our next stop.

Two Harbors Lighthouse

We barely made it to Two Harbors Lighthouse before they closed for the day. It is the oldest, continuously operating lighthouse on the north shore. It has been converted into the Lighthouse B&B, but you can still tour the grounds and climb the tower…

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We walked down by the jetty to get a view of the lake…

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The waters were calm and the setting was so incredibly peaceful. I didn’t want to leave, but we still had an anniversary dinner ahead of us!

We were exhausted by the time we got back to our hotel room! We managed to stay awake long enough to drink a bottle of champagne we had brought with us before drifting off to sleep. The next morning, we checked out and tried to decide how much we could see of Duluth before starting the 5 hour drive back to the campground. One thing Steve really wanted to see was the Peterbuilt Boat…

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Yes, you are seeing that right. It’s a pontoon boat, how cool is that!?!?! What I wanted a better look at was the Duluth Ariel Bridge. The bridge spans the Duluth ship canal and is flanked by three lighthouses…

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We were lucky enough to have time to visit the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. Here we checked out the shipping schedule and were delighted to learn we’d get to watch the Duluth Ariel Bridge in action…

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At nearly 740′ long and 78′ wide, the cargo ship Whitefish Bay sailed under the bridge, through the canal and out into Lake Superior with its load of iron ore in under 15 minutes. In less than 3 minutes, the bridge was back in the down position and cars were driving over it!

After a quick bite to eat, it was time to head back to Waldo 😦 We absolutely loved the north shore!!! While we managed to cram a lot into our 3 days, we barely scratched the surface of what the area has to offer. That just means we’ll have to plan to find work up there one of these summers so we can see it all!!!

Have you ever visited the north shore of Lake Superior? What was your favorite thing to do there?

19 thoughts on “Lake Superior’s North Shore”

  1. Thanks for taking me back to Minnesota’s North Shore! Yes, we have visited there and you captured it’s beauty wonderfully. I love all the lighthouse photos. We camped st Temperance River State Park, walked down a trail to the lake, saw waterfalls and the highlight was Split Rock Lighthouse.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! I had no idea there were such enormous cliffs up that way! Beautiful photos and, I agree, best to stay far back when taking them. Love the lighthouses and waterfalls too. What a scenic area! Glad you guys had a nice anniversary trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy anniversary! And what a wonderful anniversary trip! 10 years or so ago I befriended a blogger in Duluth, and was so surprised when she posted pictures of her hometown and the Lake Superior shoreline. It is breathtaking! Your pictures are fantastic and should be used in a tourism ad campaign. 🙂 That said, I think that the locals like keeping this gorgeous stretch of coast a bit of a secret.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your photos are jaw dropping! I had no idea about this area or the beauty it contained. Looks like you had a very memorable anniversary celebration. That boat that looks like a truck is fabulous. some people are seriously creative.

    Liked by 1 person

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