The North Shore Scenic Byway Route
The North Shore Byway is a spectacularly scenic route that includes seven state parks and is designated as an "All-American Road".
Our journey began just north of Two Harbors at Betty's Pies. It was a beautiful day and the cool crisp breeze coming off Lake Superior really got us excited for the ride north.
If you've never been to the North Shore (by motorcycle or car) you'll be amazed at the scenery, and you'll wonder if you're even in Minnesota. The big lake Gitche Gumee feels like you're on an ocean coast.
Our first stop on the route was the Split Rock Lighthouse. Built in 1910, Split Rock is a fabulous piece of history that takes you back to the time when the shipping industry first started in Duluth and they began settling the North Shore.
After Split Rock we took a sweet little side road that wrapped us back behind Silver Bay. The route included Cty Rd #5, Lax Lake Road and Hwy #1. The traffic was much lighter on this route and there were a number of nice twisties and elevation changes that provided some wonderful views of the lake on our way back down to Hwy 61.
We then stopped at Palisade Head, which is a huge rock formation within the Tettegouche State Park. The formation is "only" 1.1 billion years ago, and at over 300 feet above the lake you can imagine the views.
After some serious cliff gazing, we set out to find a place for lunch. The Coho Cafe in Tofte offered some great fare and comfortable outdoor seating. Then it was north again through Lutsen and the Cascade River State Park and up to Grand Marais.
Grand Marais is a wonderful little tourist town with great shops, restaurants and the famous Joynes Ben Franklin. It was a nice break for us as we prepped for the last leg of our ride up to Grand Portage and the National Monument.
In a quick 40 minutes of more scenery and great riding, we were off the bikes and exploring the Grand Portage National Monument. The Heritage Center, Historic Depot and Voyageur Encampment were all another stop back in time and a great educational experience for us.
All in all, the North Shore was another great motorcycle trip on an absolutely beautiful Minnesota Scenic Byway. If you haven't done it, we couldn't be more confident in saying that once you do, you'll be glad you did.