Classic Roads: Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive

Classic Roads: Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive

North Shore Scenic Drive, which has been designated an All-American Road by the Federal Highway Administration, charts a course from Duluth, MN, to Grand Portage, just before crossing the border into Canada. The route provides access to eight state parks and Superior National Forest. Tracing along part of Lake Superior’s shoreline, it’s one of the most scenic sections of the much larger Lake Superior Circle Tour—and it doesn’t require a passport.

The road is 150 miles one-way and will take three hours to a full day to ride, depending on the number of stops. Traffic is usually light and there are limited curves. But what this road lacks in curves, it makes up for with scenery. This route boasts spectacular panoramic vistas of Lake Superior.

Points of Interest

Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

This bridge was built in the early 1900's and spans the Duluth Ship Canal. The bridge lifts vertically in order to allow ships to pass. The bridge is located near the Duluth North Pier Lighthouse, where you can sit and watch the ships pass.

Two Harbors Lighthouse

This lighthouse has stood since 1892, built originally to guide ore ships moving through Agate Bay. This lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic places, and is a fun spot to visit while riding the north shore.

Grand Portage State Park

This state park is known for it's beautiful views that are easily accessible. High Falls, for example, is an easy half mile walk from the parking lot. This is a great place to stop and stretch your legs after a long day of riding. The park is only open for day use.

Facts & Information

Distance: 150 miles

Located in Grand Marais, the Thomsonite Inn is one of the last places you can stay before you reach the end of North Shore. It is located on Lake Superior with fantastic views of the lake. This inn is nestled amongst evergreen trees and is quite a relaxing spot for a motorcycle getaway. The offer free bicycles to ride during your stay.

Located in the Duluth Boat Club, Park Point Marina Inn is a great place to start your journey in the North Shore. Watch the boats come and go from the window of your room. There are lots of options for shopping and restaurants within walking distance.

Best Time to Travel

Due to the extreme weather conditions in the winter, the best time to travel North Shore will be in the summer. Spring and fall can be iffy, depending how early or late in the season you plan to travel.