Author Topic: Beautiful Lake Superior  (Read 4325 times)

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Offline SusieJ

Beautiful Lake Superior
« on: December 03, 2008, 02:47:56 pm »
Hi all:

Has anyone ridden around Lake Superior?  Any route preferences?  Time to fullfill a 50th birthday pledge!

thank you,

Offline Rep

Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 05:48:46 pm »
I know somebody that finished the circle tour last summer.  I will see if he will pop in and offer advice.

Where will you begin your trip?

Drink beer, gain weight.  Ride bike, lose weight.
Bicycling, Brewing & Backgammon...What a life.

Offline SusieJ

Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 07:50:17 pm »
Oh, I don't know; we live in Indiana, have friends in WI, so I suppose in WI somewhere.  

Offline raybo

Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 10:44:04 am »
You might find this website useful:

It is a route around Lake Superior.


Visit the on-line bike touring archive at
Visit the on-line bike touring archive at

Offline SusieJ

Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 09:12:33 pm »
Thank you Ray!

I knew I would find sage advice here; time to start planning.  

Cheers, and happy riding,

Offline jaypee

Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2008, 10:54:24 am »
Hey Susie,

I'm the someone that Rep knows.  ;-)

I did the trip this past June, starting and ending in Menomonie, WI.  
Once you get into Minnesota and Ontario, there aren't really that many
options if you want to stick close to the lake.  Along the North Shore in
Minnesota there are a couple of paved paths that you can take and I
recommend that you do so as some of the views are gorgeous.  Other
than that, it's Highway 61 all the way across the border and into
Thunder Bay.  Highway 61, for the most part, is decent enough with
generous paved shoulders.  There are a few sections where it's a bit
narrow but autos were respectful, even though when I was going
through that section the weather was hellacious with cold 40º rain for
days and even a couple tornadoes.  Some sections of Hwy 61 were even
washed out!

Once into Thunder Bay, you'll have to go through the city as bicycles
aren't allowed on the expressway.  Seems an interesting enough city
but I was a bit disappointed in the downtown, as it seems like their
economy is hurting and business were closing everyone and many
buildings were vacant, hopefully it better when you go through.  Once
out of Thunder Bay, it's Provincial Highway 11/17 all the way to
Nipigon where they split and you'll take Hwy 17 all the way to Sault St.
Marie.  Canadian highways are a bit narrow with almost no paved
shoulders over 6 inches.  That said, Canadian drivers were amazing
and VERY courteous, always giving me as much room as possible.  
Once you get into the hilly country past Nipigon, Rossport, Scriber, etc,
be careful as the hills are so steep that semi trucks have a hard time
getting up the hill and they'll not be able to move to pass you as other
people will be passing them.  In those situations, I would get off and
let them pass, the drivers always appreciated that and would give me a
wave.  Be sure to carry enough water and some snacks when you get
into Lake Superior Provincial Park as there aren't really any services.  I
got into the habit of filling my bottles whenever the opportunity
presented itself to me and I always carried three days worth of food.

Michigan was gorgeous as well and the people were as friendly as the
Canadians.  Out of Sault Ste. Marie there's a bike path that'll connect
with Lakeshore Drive, though I wasn't able to find it and was running
late so I took some back roads to get where I needed to be.  Highway
28 across the U.P. until you get to Munising is one of the most
godawful boring roads ever, but the drivers were courteous.  41 up to
Barraga, Houghton, and Copper Harbor is pretty as well.

Let me know if you'd like more information, here's some links to the
Wisconsin and Michigan Department of Transportations sites which
have nice PDF maps for cycling-related information:

I used these, combined with the
me Gazatteer
maps to figure out my routes on a day to day basis.  
The Adventure Cycling maps are also quite good.


Whoops!  I forgot, here are my
photographs and my half-arsed

This message was edited by jaypee on 12-9-08 @ 7:56 AM

Offline wildandcrazy

Re: Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 03:48:57 pm »
My wife and I toured around Lake Superior last summer (2008).   We started at home in Bay City, MI and went through the U.P. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and then up to Thunderbay, ON.  In Michigan, we tried to ride along the lake as much as possible, but the roads along the lake shore don't often connect.  We had to shorten the trip by taking Greyhound from Thunder Bay across part of the north shore back to Sault Ste, Marie because my mother was ailing.  We took our time to see the sights.  Munising and Marquette were nice in Michigan, the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.  Superior/Duluth was great as is route 61 on the North Shore.  Our Journal is on CGoaB, "Lake Superior - Clockwise" and may give you some ideas.  Just do it.

Offline biker_james

Re: Beautiful Lake Superior
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2009, 07:04:36 am »
I haven't rideen around it, but my wife did ride along its north shore from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie as part of our tour a couple years ago. The roads were definitely not great-very limited shoulders, and a lot of cracked and broken pavement. We found the truck drivers to be very considerate and they gave us as much room as they could. The only times we had to actually get off the road is when some extremely wide loads (parts for wind generators at Sault) came by with pilot car and police escort. I wouldn't rate it as an easy ride, with the number of hills there either.
The scenery is awesome. I'm from BC and I was really not expecting to be blown away by the scenery, but I was. It doesn't have big mountains, but it has everything else scenery wise. Enjoy the trip.