Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse

Photo by Randen Pederson, Flickr Creative Commons

Minnesota Lake Superior 1 Day RV Itinerary

High Falls of the Pigeon River - Photo by Sharon Mollerus, Flickr Creative CommonsHigh Falls of the Pigeon River - Photo by Sharon Mollerus, Flickr Creative Commons

Day 1

Start: Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

Directions from previous place:      The Visitor Center is located at 600 Lake Avenue in Duluth.
Suggested Time at This Site:          45 minutes

The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, located at the beginning of the North Shore Scenic Drive on Canal Park Drive in Duluth, is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The museum offers an excellent introduction to the shipping industry for a new visitor to the North Shore.

After your tour of the visitor center, spend some time watching the one-of-a-kind Aerial Lift Bridge and Duluth Ship Canal and see giant freighters pass within mere feet of the elevated steel beams.

Stop 2: Glensheen

Directions from previous place:      From the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center:

    * Head northwest on Lake Avenue for 0.4 miles towards I-35.
    * Turn left onto Canal Park Drive.
    * Turn right onto Superior Street and continue for 0.8 miles.
    * Turn right onto 10th Avenue.
    * Continue for 2 miles to Glensheen, located at 3000 London Road.

Distance from Previous Site:            3.5 miles / 5.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     11 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          1 hour 30 minutes

Glensheen, featured on the popular A & E program, "America's Castles" was built between 1905 and 1908 by Chester Congdon. The house, located on tree-lined London Road, resembles an early seventeenth century English country estate. Most of the original furnishings of 1908 are still in the home. Take a tour through 1908 luxury, including a dark-paneled billiard room, an elegant formal dining room, and carefully manicured grounds.

Stop 3: 3M Museum

Directions from previous place:      From Glensheen:

    * Turn north on London Road/MN-61.
    * Continue to follow MN-61 for 23.8 miles.
    * Turn right onto 6th Street in Two Harbors.
    * The 3M Museum is located at 201 Waterfront Dr, Two Harbors.

Distance from Previous Site:     24.22 miles / 38.8 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     35 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:     30 minutes

Next along the route is the birthplace of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing (3M), and the world's only museum dedicated to sandpaper. John Dwan was one member of the board of trustees who started a business to mine corundum, a mineral used in abrasives. After mining commenced, however, they found that there wasn't any corundum after all.

From the brink of bankruptcy, 3M emerged as one of the most innovative corporations worldwide, developing items such as Scotch tape, reflective paint for road lines, plastics for hospitals, and much more. Tour the 3M museum to see how great ideas can come from humble beginnings.

Stop 4: Edna G. Tugboat

Directions from previous place:      From the 3M Museum, continue down Waterfront Drive to the marina on Agate Bay, where the Edna G. Tugboat is docked.
Distance from Previous Site:          0.3 miles / 0.5 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     1 minute
Suggested Time at This Site:        20 minutes

The Edna G. served Two Harbors from 1896 to 1981. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1974, as the only steam powered tug still operating on the Great Lakes.

Now retired, the Edna G. features seasonal tours where visitors can see her beautiful interior decor of wood paneling and brass fittings. Visitors will get a look at the captains quarters, the engine room, the crew's quarters, the galley, and the pilot house.

Stop 5: Split Rock Lighthouse

Directions from previous place:      From the Edna G. Tugboat:

    * Head back north on Waterfront Drive for 0.6 miles.
    * Turn right onto 7th Avenue, which will become MN-61.
    * Continue to follow MN-61 for 17.2 miles.
    * Turn slight right onto MN-61 to access the Split Rock Lighthouse at 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors

Distance from Previous Site:          18.5 miles / 29.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     26 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          45 minutes

As one of the best known landmarks for the North Shore Drive, Split Rock Lighthouse is a beacon in more ways than one. Built in 1909 as a result of so many shipwrecks resulting from storms, the lighthouse now operates a historical site where you can tour the structure and learn more about life in a lighthouse.

In addition to this intriguing historical site, sites are provided for camping and picnicking. You can try your luck at fishing, or take some time to explore the Superior Hiking Trail.

Stop 6: Little Marais

Directions from previous place:      From Split Rock Lighthouse, continue along MN-61.
Distance from Previous Site:           21 miles / 33.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     27 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:         30 minutes

As you leave Two Harbors and the Split Rock Lighthouse, enjoy the quiet solitude of the northern woods as you journey along the North Shore Scenic Drive. The route passes several opportunities for further exploration, including Tettegouche State Park.

Stop 7: Grand Marais

Directions from previous place:      From Little Marais, follow MN-61 until you reach Grand Marais.
Distance from Previous Site:           44.2 miles / 70.7 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     55 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:          1 hour

After enjoying the drive to Grand Marais, take some time to experience some of the local art galleries and shops. Grand Marais is one of the cultural centers of the North Shore.

End: Grand Portage State Park

Directions from previous place:      From Grand Marais, continue along MN-61 until you reach Grand Portage.
Distance from Previous Site:           41 miles / 65.6 km
Travel Time from Previous Site:     51 minutes
Suggested Time at This Site:         45 minutes

Grand Portage State Park features the tallest waterfall in Minnesota, which makes a suitable finale for our tour of the North Shore Scenic Drive. Hike the Grand Portage, or the trail from the top of the High Falls to the Pigeon River below.

Totals for Day 1

Total Distance Traveled:     152.72 miles / 244.4 km
Total Travel Time:               3 hours 26 minutes
Total Stopping Time:           6 hours 5 minutes

Featured content and image from www.byways.org

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