North Shore Scenic Drive
From Duluth’s Canal Park, the North Shore Scenic Drive (Hwy. 61) travels northeast to Grand Portage and the border with Canada. The route parallels the inland coast of the world’s largest freshwater lake, bisecting the shore and the ancient inland rock formations and thousands of acres of forests rising above the coast. The byway winds through the communities of Two Harbors, Beaver Bay, Silver Bay, Schroeder, Tofte, Lutsen, Grand Marais, and Grand Portage, paralleling the majestic shoreline of Lake Superior. Driving the route will connect the traveler with endless breathtaking views, opportunities to stop and explore the lakeshore, tumbling waterfalls, hiking and biking trails, historic sites, attractions, parks, events, shopping, lodging, dining and local culture. The North Shore Scenic Drive was designated by the Federal Highway Administration as an “All-American Road” on June 13, 2002, Minnesota’s highest and only such scenic byway designation. Visit www.superiorbyways.com for more information.
Highlights and Key Points Along the Route
The North Shore Scenic Drives offers a wide array of unique recreational and interpretative opportunities along the entirety of the route. Highlights and key points along the scenic byway include:
- Multiple access points to the Gitchi-Gami paved bicycle trail, the Superior Hiking Trail and Lake Superior Water Trail (all run parallel to the byway). Additional recreational facilities (hiking, mountain biking, etc,) can be found at various waysides and parks along the scenic drive’s route.
- The scenic byway provides access to 8 State Parks (Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, George Crosby Manitou, Temperance River, Cascade River, Judge CR Magney, and Grand Portage) and many other interpretive/historic opportunities and facilities all along the route.
- There are marinas or safe harbor facilities in Duluth, McQuade Harbor, Knife River, Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor, Grand Marais and Grand Portage. Recreational boaters can commonly be found cruising along the shoreline
- Unique shopping, lodging, and dining opportunities throughout the route, specifically in the communities of Two Harbors, Beaver Bay, Silver Bay, Schroeder, Tofte, Lutsen, Grand Marais, and Grand Portage.
- 65 separate waysides throughout the byway to pull off and enjoy the unique natural landscape features the North Shore offers.
- Spring and summer aren’t the only time to visit the Scenic Drive, winter offers snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling opportunities all along the shore. Additionally, some of the region’s top downhill skiing is located at Lutsen Mountains.
Length of Scenic Drive
154 Miles (one way)
- From Canal Park in Duluth follow Canal Park Drive over Interstate 35 to Superior Street.
- Take a right on Superior Street.
- Follow this road through a portion of historic Downtown Duluth past the refurbished Fitger's Brewery Complex, with its many fine shops and restaurants.
- To continue along the byway, take a right onto London Road from Superior. (This intersection is at 10th Avenue East and Superior Street.)
- Follow London Road for the next 5.4 miles, driving past Leif Erikson Park, which contains the Rose Garden.
The Way to Two Harbors
- To continue on the route, follow the signs for the North Shore Scenic Drive. (The route proceeds along the lake, passing through small settlements and stunning lake vistas. There are six main rivers that cross under the byway during this 19-mile segment to Two Harbors.)
- Connect with the byway loop in downtown Two Harbors by turning right onto Highway 61 just west of town.
- Follow Highway 61 to 6th Street (Waterfront Drive), where you take a right and pick up the byway once again.
- Follow 6th Street to South Avenue, where you take a left. (Prior to taking a left, be sure to stop at the 3M Museum.)
- As you drive down South Avenue, notice the massive ore docks that extend from the waterfront.
- Continue on the route by taking a left onto First Street (Park Road) and follow it to Highway 61. (First Street takes you past hiking trails along the shoreline.)
- Take a right on Highway 61.
- Continue on that route as it takes you along the remainder of the North Shore Scenic Drive All-American Road, which ends approximately 122 miles later at the Canadian border.