Aerial View of Split Rock Lighthouse - Paul M. Walsh, Photographer
Two Harbors is considered by many to be the gateway to the North Shore. Between here and Beaver Bay are two excellent north shore state parks, some nice day hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic views of Lake Superior.
Scenic Highway 61 Waterfalls & Hiking
The hiking trails, picnic areas, exhibits and scenic attractions at Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock State Parks could easily occupy several days. If you plan to stay more than a day in this area, book your accommodations early whether that be a motel or campground . . . this is a popular north shore destination area. If you haven't booked in advance, start looking at Two Harbors because that may be about as close as you'll get to finding something on short notice (during the peak season).
~~~"Click" on smaller images for a larger picture~~~
A good place to gas up and get groceries. . . because from here on up the North Shore the prices rise. Some nice cafe's in town for breakfast or lunch.
Hikers, trekkers, skiers, snowshoers stop at the office/store of the Superior Hiking Trail Association for books, maps, guides and a nice selection of t-shirts and sweatshirts. These folks take care of many of the trails you will use along the Minnesota North Shore . . . so support them with some purchases or join the Association.
Two Harbors Agate Bay harbor area offers a close up view of the big ship loading docks plus a nice lakewalk near the lighthouse for some scenic exercise. Belying its name, Agate Bay is not a fertile area for rock picking. Try Burlington Bay on the northeast side of town for beach combing and rock picking.
Gooseberry Falls is the featured attraction of the first Minnesota state park along the North Shore. The gooseberry river drops a total of 90 feet as it cascades over the upper and lower falls. Many stone structures remain from the park's original construction by CCC work crews in the 1930s.
Short term parking in the Visitor Center parking lot is free. There are a number of hiking trails around the falls and along the river, including some that are handicap friendly. Make time for a visit. If you plan to camp here, get a reservation as it is a very popular park.
See below. One Memorial Day Weekend Gooseberry Falls exploded after a torrential downpour of rain (click on photos for a larger view).
Split Rock State Park
A few miles down the road is the Split Rock River and the Split Rock Lighthouse - probably the most photographed scenic view along the north shore.
From the parking lot by the bridge crossing the Split Rock River, there is a spur trail of the Superior Hiking Trail that eventually leads to this attractive little waterfalls. The round trip is about an hour. For a longer day hike you can continue along the trail, cross a footbridge over the river and return down the other side. I've heard there are some nice scenic views along this section.
We hiked this same trail one winter. Click here for a view of the Falls in winter and some other Split Rock winter scenes.
In addition to tours of the historic lighthouse, Split Rock State Park has some great hiking trails and a terrific "cart-in" campground with large private campsites, many of them on the lake. This site we occupied (that's Jo covering up her "camp hair" for the photo) had a panoramic view of Lake Superior and a nice view of the lighthouse too.
SuperiorTrails.com - Reinhold Development - 2017
Visit the Silver Bay region of the North Shore for hiking, biking, golfing. lodging and relaxing . . . just a wee bit off the beaten path.
Enjoying lake breezes and views at the Canal Park Brewery Beer Garden - Canal Park.
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory
Lake Superior Circle Tour Route