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lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Lake Superior Circle Tour by Motorcycle

Riding the lake superior circle tour.

There are many ways to travel the Lake Superior Circle Tour but one of the most popular is by motorcycle! This 1,300 mile/2,000 km ride around Lake Superior is an amazing adventure when travelling on motorcycle. It is one of the best Motorcycle Rides in North America. When riding Lake Superior there are many things you need to plan ahead of time and we want to help you with the process. It is common for motorcyclists to travel Lake Superior in individual sections but when eager to gain your certification of completion, or to acquire the ultimate bragging rights, it is just as easy to do the whole thing at once. How long does it take to ride the Lake Superior Circle Tour? It can be completed in as little as a few days or as long as a month. It is all up to you! Our resources, including the  Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure Guide , and  Online Trip Planner , will help you plan the best trip around Lake Superior!

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Motorcycle Trip Planning Tools

Planning to ride Lake Superior can seem like a daunting task but we have you covered. Between the Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure Guide and our Online Trip Planner (which allows to filter locations by motorcycle accessibility) you’ll have everything you need to plan the perfect ride around the world’s largest fresh water lake! They don’t call it North America’s Best Road Trip for nothing!

Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure Guide

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Looking for a Lake Superior Circle Tour Map and information perfect for planning an epic ride around the lake? Make sure to order a copy of our Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure Guide ! This is the official and ultimate magazine and trip planning guide to Lake Superior. It contains countless amounts of information and a map in its center to help you plan the best Lake Superior ride possible. It also contains great Travel Games , like the  Certificate and Stamp Collection , as well as the  Lake Superior Ale Trail  and the  Lake Superior Circle Tour Java Journey !

Lake Superior Circle Tour Trip Planner

Lake Superior Circle Tour Trip Planner

Utilize our online  Lake Superior Circle Tour Trip Planner ! Our online trip planning map has everything you need to plan an epic ride around Lake Superior. Make sure to select “Motorcycle Accessible” in the map filters. This way you will only see those attractions and destinations that are motorcycle accessible. Locations on the map have only been classified as motorcycle accessible if it is accessible by paved road or a very short gravel road. Calling ahead to locations is still recommended. For tips on how to use the trip planner click HERE .

Riding the Lake Superior Circle Tour by Motorcycle

Make sure beforehand to order the  Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure Guide and research what you want to see and where you would like your stops to be along the Lake. For example, specific attractions, B&B’s, restaurants, landmarks etc. One of the earliest decisions you will have to make is to ride the Lake Superior Circle Tour Clockwise or Counter Clockwise ! Another great tip for riding Lake Superior is to plan how many miles/kilometers you would like travel each day. You want to plan your route and have an accurate estimation of how long your journey will take you as a whole and by each day. You don’t want to be rushing and cramming in as many miles/kilometers as you can each day in order to get back home on time. Doing so can cause you to miss some of the beautiful sights and attractions around Lake Superior. So planning is key!

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

The biggest difference when travelling by motorcycle is being exposed to the weather conditions and being out of the protection from an enclosed vehicle. This is why it is extremely important to research the different climates around Lake Superior. While traveling the more northern parts of Ontario you may experience much more rain and colder weather than in the US portion. Because you have less space you need to make sure you plan on packing the appropriate attire. Make sure to visit our Lake Superior Weather Page for general information on what weather you can expect during your Circle Tour. Another tip is to read up on the Traveling Seasons of the Lake Superior Circle Tour . Remember that Canada and the US measure temperature differently. To familiarize yourself with Celsius and Fahrenheit visit our Conversation Calculator Page .

Wearing a Helmet

Remember that while riding in Ontario you must wear a helmet. You only need to wear a helmet in Michigan if you are under the age of 21 and in Wisconsin and Minnesota if you are under the age of 18. If you attempt to cross the Canadian border into Ontario without a helmet in your possession you will be denied entry. It is highly advisable to have your helmet on prior to arriving at the Canadian border. Remember that you will have to remove your helmet while talking to the border guards. For more information on border crossings visit our Border Crossing Page .

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Additional Information

The Lake Superior Circle Tour Website is full of useful information about the lake, the tour, things to do and see, and much more. Here are some additional resources, that we haven’t mentioned so far, that you may find useful: Border Crossing Information , Lake Superior FAQs , Lake Superior Circle Tour FAQs , Lake Superior Wildlife , Lake Superior Facts , Lake Superior Campgrounds , and Lake Superior Cell Phone Coverage .

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Posted by Dan Bevilacqua

As the Executive Director of Ontario’s Superior Country, and the Editor of the Lake Superior Circle Tour Adventure Guide, Dan loves the region and is constantly looking for ways to promote it. Dan can often be found fishing and camping along Lake Superior!

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Still unsure about the tour? Order the Guide!

The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

Lake Superior Circle Tour – Ultimate Two Week Itinerary

Written By: The Planet D

Canada , Road Trips

Updated On: April 22, 2023

The Lake Superior Circle Tour is one of those great road trips that you always hear about. People dream of circumnavigating the world’s largest freshwater lake. The Lake Superior circle tour crosses through three US states. Michigan ,  Wisconsin & Minnesota, and a huge portion of northern Ontario, Canada. Driving around Lake Superior offers an array of activities, sights, and diverse landscapes to look upon in awe.

Table of Contents

the Lake Superior Circle Tour

motorcycle trip lake superior honda

Lake Superior can be driven around in as little 4-5 days. Seven days will showcase the highlights. But two weeks is really the optimal time.

We drove around Lake Superior on our Honda Motorcycles and couldn’t believe how much the landscape changed before our eyes. Some people decide to do the Lake Superior circle tour in 5-days. And while we added a couple of extra days, we feel that to truly appreciate the beauty and sights of Lake Superior one should plan on two weeks to circumnavigate this natural wonder of the world. Here’s a guide to all the sights to see on the Lake Superior Circle Tour to help you plan your next epic motorcycle ride.

  • The Lake Superior Tour one of The Best Road Trips in the World!
  • Read about another great drive: T he California Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1 Start: Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

lake superior circle tour map

We started our tour in Sault Ste Marie in Canada and worked our way clockwise around the Lake. Sault Ste Marie is a twin city with Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. There is more to do on the Canadian Side, so we suggest spending a day or two exploring here.

Canadian Bush Plane Heritage Centre

lake superior circle tour bushplane museum

The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre  is definitely the highlight of visiting Sault Ste. Marie with a collection of vintage planes located in a giant hanger. It traces the history of Ontario.

There’s a forest fire management display, an area showing motors and all the bits and parts of a plane, and you can go in many planes to check out the cockpit. Our favourite was to see the huge interior of planes such as the water bomber for forest fires. After you are finished at the Bushplane Museum, take a stroll on the newly refurbished waterfront in Sault Ste Marie and look over at its US twin city.

Where to Eat – Enjoy a delicious meal at Embers Smokehouse Restaurant. It had a fabulous atmosphere offering a wide variety of smokehouse meat.

Where to stay in Sault Ste Marie:

The Days Inn – An affordable choice with jacuzzis in the rooms, excellent WiFi, and a hearty breakfast included. It has a covered parking lot too which is perfect for motorcyclists.

Day 2 – U.S. Border to Grand Marais Michigan

Lake-Superior-Circle-tour-Tahquamenon-Falls

This route follows Lake Superior in a counterclockwise direction. After crossing the border, we stay on I75 for a short drive to highway 28 to Whitefish Point.

Whitefish Point

Whitefish Point is one of those places in Michigan that needs two days to explore. Jutting out on a long peninsula of Lake Superior we took a detour from our route to see the lighthouse museum. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is an excellent stop to learn of the maritime history of Lake Superior. It’s beautiful here and is home to the oldest operational lighthouse on Lake Superior and it’s a great spot to take in the sandy beach of Lake Superior’s South Shore.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a busy park with excellent waterfalls. One looks like a mini Niagara Falls . I could see us sticking around for a day or two for hiking, swimming and simply enjoying the scenery. There were a lot of people visiting the Falls. There are two entrances, an upper and lower falls. The upper is the larger and more beautiful of the two, but the lower had an option to take a boat or go for hikes so they are both a must-stop.

Overnight in Grand Marais

Grand Marais is a good spot to spend the night before heading on the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Grand Marais bills itself as “The Gem of the Upper Peninsula” and with good reason. The beaches are spectacular. When driving along the shore of Lake Superior, one would feel as if you are in the Caribbean. (albeit the water is freezing!)

Day 3 – Pictured Rocks Michigan

northern michigan

Pickle Barrel Museum

While in Grand Marais, be sure to check out the Pickle Barrel House Museum. A Giant Pickle Barrel dating back to 1927 was built as a summer cottage for cartoonist William Donahey. It has been turned into a museum that is worth seeing as it’s been named in the National Register of Historic Places.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Michigan . With 100 miles of trails to explore, one could spend days camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It has extraordinary sandstone cliffs, sea kayaking, hiking, and other watersports, you could spend more than a day here if you wanted.

Painted Rocks Cruises – With limited time, we recommend the Painted Rocks Scenic Cruise. This is definitely the big draw of the area.

Evening – drive on to Marquette to make up some time.

Overnight in Marquette, Michigan

Lake-superior-circle-tour-landmark-inn

The Landmark Inn Marquette – We moved on a couple of hours to Marquette and stayed at this gorgeous hotel. It was an amazing heritage hotel downtown Marquette that made for a luxurious evening after a day on the bikes. It felt like a grand hotel with a European flair. Our four-post bed required a step to get into and our jacuzzi tub and fireplace were so inviting we didn’t want to leave. But there was plenty more to see, so we only had one night here.

Day 4 – Eagle Harbor to Copper Harbor, Michigan

Lake-superior-circle-tour-eagle-harbour

Eagle Harbor Light Station

We were up bright and early for the drive to Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Station. If you like Lighthouses, you’ll have the opportunity to see a lot of them on the Lake Superior Circle Tour. Lighthouse keepers played an important role in keeping ships afloat. Lake Superior is a treacherous lake that claimed many a sailor’s life throughout history. The Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Station probably has the best display of the lighthouse keepers’ quarters on the lake.

Copper Harbour

It was then on to Copper Harbor. The winding road made for a fun ride and the beautiful views helped to pass the time. Copper Harbour is a very scenic ride through winding tree-covered roads along the Keweenaw Peninsula so it is highly recommended that you take the trip out there for a night.

There are many things to pass the time in Copper Harbor from kayaking, cruises, hiking or simply walking along the beach to enjoy the sunset. When visiting Copper Harbor, it’s definitely worth taking a drive to the high lookout. Most people stop at the beautiful view near the bottom but make sure to keep driving for another 10 minutes or so. You’ll be treated to a view of a tree-covered valley with lake views on both sides as here you are sitting on a peninsula.

Where to Stay in Copper Harbour

Copper Harbor Pines. – This was very basic accommodation with non-air-conditioned cabins and very spotty wifi. We can’t recommend this place too high, but if you are on a budget, it is clean and comfortable. There are places to eat nearby. We went to a basic bar for dinner.

Day 5 – Bayfield Wisconsin

lake superior circle tour | motorcycle at bayfield

Today we leave Michigan and enter Wisconsin. We awoke early and had a very long drive so we didn’t make a lot of stops other than some scenic lookouts. Wisconsin is gorgeous, so be sure to take your time driving this route to Bayfield. And then give yourself two nights in Bayfield. Bayfield is a picturesque town on the water that one can spend a day or two relaxing in.

Maggies Restaurant Bayfield

We loved our dinner at the funky and retro Maggie’s Restaurant and a stroll through downtown is a must. There was a band playing in the gazebo on the waterfront when we arrived and the bar and restaurant overlooking the harbor was buzzing with people.

Where to Stay in Bayfield

The Bayfield Inn – It offered excellent and friendly accommodation that caters to motorcyclists. We had our own covered parking spot! The staff was courteous and helpful and the rooms were great with superb wifi and a sensational view of the harbor. This was one of the more urban centers and you can tell that it has catered to motorists, road trippers, and tourists for decades.

Day 6 – Explore Around Bayfield, Wisconsin

sea kayaking michigan

You are nearly halfway through your trip and this is an excellent day to stay put and take part in adventures. The top draw in this area is the Apostle Islands. Take a kayaking trip to the Apostle Islands to explore the sea caves of Lake Superior. The Sea Caves are gorgeous formations that are not to be missed.

There are sailing trips and scuba diving offered as well. But be prepared, Lake Superior is cold, and you will need to dive in a 7mm wetsuit or drysuit. If you want to stay on land, there’s golfing, hiking, shopping and dining.

Day 7 – Duluth, Minnesota

lake superior circle tour | duluth minnisota

The drive from Bayfield to Duluth is a scenic ride with picturesque towns and great isolated roads. We were excited to get to Duluth early to experience a bit of the city, and it surprised us immensely.

Things to do in Duluth Minnesota

It is only an hour and a half from Bayfield to Duluth, so you have the entire day and evening to enjoy this surprising town. Duluth felt very cosmopolitan.

  • Canal Park Drive is a cool area for shopping, eating, and sipping coffee and the lake walk is a gorgeous stroll along Lake Superior.
  • Be sure to watch the Aerial Lift Bridge go up and down as everything from large tankers to small sailboats go in and out of the harbour to the open waters of Lake Superior.
  • For an up close and personal view, dinner or drinks on the rooftop patio at Grandmas is an excellent choice.
  • There’s an excellent entertainment and convention centre and since you’ve parked your car or bike for the evening, why not join a brewery tour?

Where to Stay in Duluth

 We stayed at Canal Park Lodge  which was a fine hotel on the waterfront and close to all amenities.

Day 8 – Duluth Minnesota to Thunder Bay Ontario

Lake-superior-circle-tour-thunder-bay

It’s time to head north and make our way back to Canada. Get ready for a long drive from Duluth to Thunder Bay on this day. At 334 km including a border crossing, we were on the road for quite a long time. But before we leave Minnesota, there is one more stop to take in the extraordinary scenic views.

Split Rock Lighthouse Minnesota

Driving along Highway 61, you’ll run right into the Split Rock Lighthouse. Stop in at the Visitor’s Centre for a look. If you have time, take a tour and go for a short walk in the National Forest Dating back to 1910, this is one of the most scenic lighthouses on the route as it is built on a 133-foot (41 m) sheer cliff overlooking Lake Superior. After a stop here, the rest of the day is spent driving to Thunder Bay.

Day 9 – Thunder Bay, Canada

Lake-superior-circle-tour-dave-deb

After finishing up at the lighthouse, there isn’t a lot to see, so we drive directly to the border. Once you get to Thunder Bay though, it’s worth the drive. The 10 million dollar re-envisioned waterfront is filled with commissioned art from around the world and makes for a lovely walk to wind down.

Thunder Bay is starting to boom and the amount of restaurants and cafés popping up proves it. Speaking of the marina, it’s quite picturesque and you can take a sailing excursion out from downtown.

Terry Fox Memorial

A must-stop in Thunder Bay is the Terry Fox memorial. Terry Fox was a national hero who was a pioneer is campaigning for a cause. Long before it was “in style” he made a goal to run across Canada to help find a cure for cancer. This was in 1980 and a cancer survivor himself. He lost his leg to cancer and he ran with his artificial leg from Newfoundland to Thunder Bay.

Sadly, during his run, the cancer came back. He died a short while later, but his spirit lives on in all of us and we are inspired by his sacrifice to make a difference.

There is no charge to visit the Terry Fox Memorial. T he Fox family agreed to allow a monument only if nothing was sold and no admission fee was required. This is a monument that truly embodies the spirit of Canada.

  • Watch: One Week, A motorcycle movie that traces much of this route

Where to Stay in Thunder Bay

McVicar Bed and Breakfast – There’s no doubt about it, this is the place to stay in Thunder Bay. It is run by a lovely couple who have put a lot of thought and care into their B&B. It’s luxurious, comfortable, and relaxing. Our room was grand with a fireplace, jacuzzi, and sitting area.

Day 10 – Terrace Bay

lake superior

Kakabeka Falls

It’s a leisurely day today so enjoy a coffee and hearty breakfast in Thunder Bay. Before leaving the city, it’s a great idea to make a short detour to Kakabeka Falls. Those unexpected falls are a massive set of waterfalls dropping 130 feet (40 meters.) They are known as the Niagara Falls of the North. Located just 25 minutes from Thunderbay, they are a must-stop on any Lake Superior circle tour trip. It’s easy access to view them from the boardwalk.

Terrace Bay is the launching point for the Slate Islands. We had been here before when on a kayaking trip to see the Woodland Caribou that reside here. This is a good town to stop for a rest after Thunder Bay.

Where to Stay in Terrace Bay

The Drifters Motel – We were surprised with the accommodation in Terrace Bay at the Drifters Motel. The rooms were decorated with rustic elegance and the Internet was the best we had on the entire trip! The adjoining restaurant was quite good too.

Day 11 – White River, Ontario

lake superior circle tour | white river

We didn’t stay in White River during this trip, but if you want to split up the drive between Wawa, this is a good option. Or if you want to skip Terrace Bay, you can drive directly to White River instead. White River is a four-corner town famous for Winnie the Pooh. Even though it is small, it is one of the most iconic places to visit in Canada for a historical reference. Those beloved children’s books and Disney cartoons wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for White River.

Story of Winnie the Pooh

The story of Winnie the Pooh is a bit of a morbid story but it was a sign of the times. Remember, this all happened in 1914.

“A hunter shot a bear cub’s mother and brought the cub back to town to keep as a pet (as many people did in those days). A soldier who was on his way to Europe to fight in World War I stopped in White River on the train and bought the bear cub from the hunter for $20. He brought the bear with him to Europe where it stayed in the barracks with all the soldiers.

It became their platoon’s mascot. When they were shipped off to France to fight, the soldier gave the bear to a zoo in England and that is where the bear lived out its life. Writer A.A. Milne frequented the zoo and his son Christopher Robin liked the bear giving it the nickname Pooh. Thus Winnie the Pooh was born.” Kind of sad right?

Where to Stay in White River

The White River motel – While we didn’t stay here during our motorcycle trip around Lake Superior, we have stayed in White River in the past and this motel is a basic hotel that is clean, quiet, and comfortable. It’s a good place to stay before having to catch an early morning flight to a fly-in fishing lodge in the area as well.

Day 12 – Wawa, Ontario

Lake-superior-circle-tour-wawa-goose

Wawa is a fun little town known for its giant Canada Goose located high on a hill overlooking the Trans Canada Highway. There’s a good visitors center and scenic lookout here and it’s worth stopping at Young’s Family Store for fudge, ice cream, and a quick fill-up. The original goose statue is located here as well.

Where to Stay in Wawa

Best Northern Motel  – This is an excellent choice for accommodation that caters nicely to motorcyclists. They put towels on our bike seats in the morning to soak up the dew! They have an elegant restaurant, and the rooms are sophisticated and stylish. Set a bit off the highway, surrounded by forest, it’s a perfect night to relax.

Take Your Time Driving from Wawa to the Soo

There are several scenic stops along the route this day through the area known as Algoma Country . (where Lake Superior and Lake Huron meet!) Take your time and make sure to pull off at every single one of them. Once you drive it you’ll understand why. Giant sea cliffs, gorgeous beaches, and meandering rolling roads make for a drive you will never forget! It’s a stunning drive and known as one of the Top 10 in Canada.

Petroglyphs

Lake Superior Circle Tour - Petroglyphs

One of the best stops we took on the entire trip was a stop at the petroglyphs (pictographs) in Lake Superior Provincial Park. You’ll see a sign for pictographs on the highway. Not only were there ancient petroglyphs painted on the side of giant cliffs, but there was also a beautiful trail and scenery. It was the most beautiful scene we saw on Lake Superior. The walk is scenic and there’s a spectacular gorge with a giant rock wedged in at the top to see. But the big views are the giant cliffs with the painted rocks.

Day 13 – Batchawana Bay, Ontario

motorcycle lake superior bench

Our next stop took us to Batchawana Bay, located about an hour outside of Sault Ste Marie where it all began. Batchawana Bay feels like one of those places that were thriving in the ’70s or ’80s. I have a feeling many locals from “The Soo” (nickname for Sault Ste Marie) came out here to enjoy the beach back in the day. As the Northern towns begin to have their renaissance, I feel that this will pick up again soon.

Where to Stay

The Lakeshore Salzberghoff Resort was a great place to stay. The rooms have a retro feel. There are tennis courts, shuffleboard, and an excellent German restaurant serving many types of schnitzel and sausage and other German food . We highly recommend eating here.

Day 13 – Sault Ste. Marie

lake superior circle tour | final drive

Which takes us back to where it all began and the end of our journey. After a last look at the Soo Locks where we tried our hand at flyfishing. Hemingway called this one of the greatest places in the world for fly fishing. After a final night, we started the journey back to Toronto.

The Lake Superior Circle Tour is one of those epic drives that must be done at least once in your life if you ride a motorcycle. You can go as fast or as slow as you like.

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  • The Most Beautiful National Parks in the United States

MotorSoul Driving School runs motorcycle training courses for all skill levels all summer long. All motorcycle gear is provided by Parts Canada – the national distributor of aftermarket parts and accessories for the Canadian power sports industry. They are exclusive to many brands including our HJC helmets and Alpinestars boots, pants, jackets, and gloves. Find out more about planning your Lake Superior Ride  at RideLakeSuperior.com Motorcycles courtesy of  Honda Canada

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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29 thoughts on “Lake Superior Circle Tour – Ultimate Two Week Itinerary”

Dave & Debra, what a great read/trip!

This Circle Tour has been on my bucket for a few years. I thought we’d wait till my husband retired, he retired and covid showed up and shut life down.

You didn’t mention if COVID was a issue anywhere and you didn’t mention crossing the border being a issue. Were passports required?

I’d love to plan a September trip, 7-9 days just for the Circle Tour. We’d like to drive to Minnesota and start the Circle Tour in Duluth so we can end up where we started. You can’t be in Duluth and not stay for a few days to enjoy cold brews & Minnesota wild rice burgers from Fitgers.

I’m just trying to get info on covid travel outside of our countries.

Thanks! Janice B.

You forgot the northern lights inn near Wawa, nothing fancy but they make you feel like you stopped in for a night at your grandma’s!

Looks great I want to do the Lake Superior Circle Tour July or August can you help

Would anyone know where to find information on camping on circle tour

Its so awesome .Nice article. Terrace Bay is a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing this…

My husband and I did this on our motorcycles in August 2016. Took one week and saw every site mentioned here. It was an amazing trip and I am itching to do it again. Maybe next summer. Fingers crossed.

Hi Kat, that’s was amazing trip and great itinerary guide, it’ will be awesome if you show us more the videos of the trip, thanks for sharing

Do you prefer cars or bikes?

The ride between Duluth and Thunder Bay is excellent. Can’t see how you missed this. I do it every year.

Lake Superior looks amazing! We are avid motorcycle travellers and love finding out about new places to check out. Thanks guys!

Hello, My wife and I both have long haul Harley’s and are going this route in August 2018. Your journal left us with few questions as it was superbly written and we appreciate the effort. We do wonder about bugs though. Many of our cross country trips have placed us in some dreadful swarms near water. Any info on that issue on the loop? I am sure there are some no brainer answers here but am still curious in anticipation. We have experienced the Northern Minnesota bugs so we are not anticipating a no bug trip. Thank you, Ken

Hi Ken, have a great trip! We didn’t have problems with bugs. We actually have commented on this recently. Where have all the bugs gone? We used to have bugs on our windshields all the time and the past few summers have seen no bugs. That’s not to say they won’t be there. I guess it always depends on winters. I know it was a really harsh winter the year we did our trip and bugs weren’t an issue. From remembering how summers go in the North, Spring and early Summer are big for mosquitoes and black flies. (May – June) they die off by July and August. Horse Flies and Deer flies take over in July/Auguest, but I didn’t notice them at all. Hope that helps! Enjoy your tri!

Nice article. Terrace Bay is a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing this…

We are planning our tour September 24th taking two weeks starting at Saul ste Marie. Any must sees along the route? We are traveling in a fifth wheel. Thank you

Have an amazing time. You are going to love it!

Great experience of Lake Superior. LOved it

In your coments you say there is not much to do or see between Duluth and Thunderbay ont You didnt do your homework there are many falls and State Parks Gooseberry, Splitrock Lighthouse Tettagouch, many awsome overlooks historic towns likTwo Harbors Silver bay And Grand Marais this stretch i has alot to offer sounds like you missed one of the best parts I live in Duluth and never miss a couple rides a season to Grand Marais for Sven and Oles Pizza

wow! these places are superb,, thnx fr sharing.

Too bad you skipped by Nipigon, home of the new “Paddle to the Sea” Park, newly renovated downtown and the building of the only four lane suspension bridge in Ontario. Nipigon is on the move in Tourism and welcomes all visitors.

We definitely have to come back! So much to see around Lake Superior.

that sounds like a great trip.. and maybe, we’ll get over there to do it one day.. pleased to see that the motorbike training has been put to good use. And, we (and likely others) would appreciate some more info about the bikes you are riding. We’ve never seen those models in NZ.

Thanks for the heads up Vincent. I’ll be sure to write about the bikes in a later post. These were Honda motorcycles NC 750X and CTX 700. The NC750x was a great adventure bike that works for multiple terrains, the CTX 700 is a great starter bike for cruisers. Cheers!

We just did the Lake Michigan Circle Tour last month, however we went along the shores of Lake Superior when in the U.P. It was so beautiful up there. We spent a week camping around the lake. Such a great experience!

Glad you had a great time! What fun to camp around Lake Superior. Did you do it on Motorcycle as well?

No, we were in the car. We would have had to have greatly trimmed our packing list if we were on motorcycles.

This has been on my list for a long time, I really want to bike the loop around the lake. I’m from Duluth and it’s cool to see you travel through my hometown. As always, thanks for sharing your adventures and safe travels!

Hi Kat, if you are from Duluth, you definitely have to give this trip a try. You’re right on it! What a great city you live in. We were extremely surprised and delighted with it. Love the waterfront and the funky downtown. Cheers!

I love these photos and really appreciate the fact that you two take time to write such extensive posts. I’d love to visit Batchawana Bay

Thanks Ani. Yes, we thought we’d give a clear picture of what it is like to drive around Lake Superior. There is so much more to see and do, but this is how we experienced it and it was fantastic.

Lake Superior Magazine

The Circle Tour by Motorcycle: My Ride Around Lake Superior

by T.W. Day

May 1, 2012

Looping the Lake

Courtesy Algoma Region and Tourism Thunder Bay

Looping the Lake

A group of bikers on the Lake Superior Circle Tour glides along Highway 17 on Ontario’s Lake Superior coastline in this view from the Alona Bay Lookout.

Looping the Lake

Dave Wynd enjoys a moment on a stretch of Highway 17 headed toward Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Looping the Lake

Early in the summer of 2011, my brother, Larry, and I began to plan a weeklong motorcycle loop around Lake Superior.

I’d done at least a partial circle of Lake Superior a few times – always by myself, always in a hurry and always skipping most of Michigan’s shore by short-circuiting the return straight from Sault Ste. Marie back to my home near St. Paul. If I take the shortest, quickest path possible, the whole tour amounts to less than 1,300 miles and can be ridden in one hard long day or a slightly more relaxed day-and-a-half.

Larry, the smarter of us two, wasn’t interested in a marathon blast around the Lake, so I promised to behave myself and loaded up my 250cc dual-purpose bike for the trip. (For non-bikers, the “cc” refers to cubic centimeters, or the engine size. A 600cc engine is about mid-size.)

With Larry on my larger 650cc road bike, I figured that he could set the pace, and we’d behave more like tourists than long-distance competitors.

The difference between my riding approach and Larry’s illustrates something fundamentally true about motorcycles and Lake Superior. For a biker, the Lake Superior Circle Tour (or as we call it, the “Lake Superior Loop”) can represent almost any kind of trip you want it to be.

No sane driver in a car or SUV would consider a one-day road trip around the Big Lake to be a great ride. Stressful maybe, but great? Not likely. But for someone on a motorcycle – who can fully experience the terrain traveled and the weather encountered while on the bike – combining the joy of riding with the wonder of Lake Superior’s fantastic scenery is exhilarating – even done in just one hard-riding day.

It’s no surprise, then, that motorcycle touring around Lake Superior is growing in popularity – thanks in part to the number of regional people in tourism-related work who are themselves avid riders.

“The word is getting out among bikers that this is a good place to go to,” says Lee Radzak, who’s been the historic site manager at Split Rock Lighthouse since 1982. He’s been a biker since his youth and the lighthouse has its own “biker” T-shirts and logos.

Lee speculates that the increase in motorcycles at the historic site near Two Harbors, Minnesota, has to do with Baby Boomers retiring and returning to the passions of their youth – like motorcycling. “As the population has aged, people like me all of a sudden want to get back into it.”

Frequently, Lee says, he sees folks in leathers at the lighthouse who are up to the Big Lake for weekend jaunts. “It surprises me – we’ll get a group from Fargo (North Dakota) or St. Cloud (Minnesota) for the day who ride up to the shore and ride back.”

Basically, there are two kinds of motorcyclists who come to the shores: those taking a leisurely ride (Larry) or those looking for more adventure (me).

Indeed, on the highways around this greatest of Great Lakes, you will see every brand or style of motorcycle and any type of motorcyclist. There are comfortable routes no more demanding than freeway travel, yet with the benefit of few cities to traverse, and there are roads and trails that test hard-core adventure riders. You can camp in remote wilderness sites or you can stay in historic four-star hotels so luxurious and formal that you feel you need a jacket and tie for dinner service (though this is never true around Lake Superior).

Looping the Lake

Planning breaks at a roadside rest or overlook is a good way to communicate – and talk about the cool things you’ve seen.

Looping the Lake

Courtesy Ian Ellis

Ian Ellis and his son, Nathan, circled Lake Superior on a motorcycle. Ian says it’s the perfect way to travel with your child – no arguing in the car and you’ve got stuff to talk about when you stop.

Looping the Lake

On the road to Agawa Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Looping the Lake

For the trip that Larry and I undertook last year, our more meandering approach meant we’d be taking advantage of a motorcycle’s best qualities.

A good bike can go practically anywhere. Those narrow, rough, out-of-the-way country roads that are always awkward and often practically painful in a car or an SUV are perfect for motorcycles. A motorcyclist sees opportunity and adventure in that narrow, badly maintained, maybe-goes-to-nowhere diversion; the same person driving a car worries about where to turn around if the road gets even worse.

“Cars are Point A to Point B devices, while motorcycles are certainly that but are fantastic for meandering. I’m more apt to explore on a bike than I am in a car,” says Mike Etlicher of Willmar, Minnesota, who’s ridden around Lake Superior three times alone and once as part of a “Team Strange” ride. Team Strange is a subgroup of the Iron Butt Association, a motorcycle organization billed as “The World’s Toughest Riders” that encourages hard-riding tours, like the ones I’d taken around Lake Superior. There is even a Lake Superior 1000 challenge for Iron Butt members who ride 1,000 miles or more around Lake Superior within 24 hours.

Deciding to travel with someone by motorcycle either around the whole lake or to a specific destination means making a decision about togetherness.

When you travel by motorcycle, you’re mostly by yourself, even if you are in a large group. I see my brother once every two to five years, so using that time for a motorcycle adventure meant that most of the trip we’re no more in contact with each other than if we were back home. But we both love motorcycles and, frankly, we’re both grumpy old guys, me more than Larry. Picking a destination to hang out when we stop along the way and for the night was a good compromise between togetherness and our hermit-like natural selves.

Traveling by motorcycle, we’d get the best of both worlds; at the end of the day and during breaks, we get to hang out with each other, but during the bulk of the ride we get to be on our own. Many bikers find this to be a great way to travel, even in larger groups.

Stopping to talk about what you’ve seen is another advantage of motorcycle travel with another person. In a vehicle, I’m afraid people rarely take the opportunity to review what they’ve experienced.

Ian Ellis of Apple Valley, Minnesota, has done the Lake Superior Circle Tour with his son, Nathan, as a passenger or on a separate motorcycle. He said traveling long distances together in a car can be “absolute torture” for either you or your child. “On a bike, it’s an absolute joy. I don’t know how you explain that to someone whose experience is only in a car, but it’s intended to be a silent, parallel pursuit while you are riding. And then you stop and talk about all the cool things you’ve seen.

“For me, motorcycling is an adventure, and it’s not convenient. I’m not trying to make it as easy as possible, but I am trying to make it as much of an adventure as possible. I’m sure if I took a 10-day trip, and it didn’t rain at least once, I’d feel cheated. My son, Nathan, wrote a successful college entrance essay about getting wet on the motorcycle and how he turned what could have been a miserable day into a fun adventure.”

Molly Gilbert has been around the Lake Superior Circle Tour as a passenger, a long-distance competitor and as a solo rider. She finds riding adds interest – and responsibilities.

“Riding gives you the hyper-awareness that you don’t need in a car. The extreme alertness that you need on a motorbike allows you not only to feel the wind in your hair, but against your body. Nature is coming at you from all directions and you’re not protected by a big metal cage. You’re out in the open and that’s about as exposed as you can get.

“Most people have to fly to California and ride the Pacific Coast Highway to get the kind of feeling you get riding around Lake Superior.”

Liz Young went to college in Duluth and returns frequently with her husband, Brad Kopp, for motorcycle trips, which are quite different from car travel, she says.

“I can feel it. Even as a passenger, you can smell it, you can hear it. It’s so tactile. It’s so in your face. It’s almost exhausting.

“When we stop, we can’t even talk for a while because we’ve taken in so much. Then, we compare. We say ‘Oh, did you see that? Did you see this?’ I get goosebumps.”

Looping the Lake

Andrew Mathiassen

Minnesota and Wisconsin ABATE (American Bikers for Awareness Training & Education) riders break at the rest stop by Cornucopia, Wisconsin.

Looping the Lake

Courtesy Tom Day

The author, T.W. Day.

Looping the Lake

Discovery Channel’s “The Great Biker Build-Off” once taped a show starting at Split Rock Lighthouse.

Looping the Lake

Courtesy Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock has its own biker T-shirt.

Looping the Lake

Rules of the Road

For those wanting to motorcycle by or around Lake Superior, there are a few rules of the road that are good to know.

If you like to feel the wind in your hair, part of this trip means some adjustment. Minnesota and Wisconsin only require helmets for riders or passengers 17 years old and younger, and both states require eye protection. Michigan and all Canadian provinces require helmets for riders and passengers. Michigan requires eye protection.

There are a few other regulations to consider, too. For example, Minnesota and Wisconsin require daytime headlights and Canada prohibits radar detectors and in-helmet music.

Since 2007, crossing the U.S. border from Canada has required a passport or an enhanced drivers license, available in Michigan and Ontario and next year in Minnesota. Starting in 2009, Canada required passports from U.S. citizens. So, before you head to the border, get the paperwork sorted out.

If your driving record is less than spectacular, you need to do some checking before heading into Canada. In the past, if you had a drunken driving or other criminal conviction in the last 10 years, you would not be admitted into the country. The regulations are changing, though specific dates are not set. For now, it is possible to be “rehabilitated,” as little as 5 years after you’ve served your sentence. You can apply for this waiver through the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration offices, but allow 6-8 weeks for the paperwork. The fees can range from $200 to $1,000 depending on your conviction. While the United States does not prohibit visitors for a single DUI/DWI record, if you have multiple convictions or other misdemeanors, you may be denied entry.

The two main Lake Superior border crossings are open 24 hours, but getting through the checkpoints can be time-consuming. The International Bridge that separates the two countries at Sault Ste. Marie is a busy location, with lots of truck and commuter traffic. It’s not unusual to spend an hour or two watching ships unload while parked on the bridge. On a hot summer weekend, that can get uncomfortable in riding gear and a helmet. I recommend carrying a fair amount of water to stay hydrated. Traffic moves slowly enough to push the bike across the bridge, but if you can’t do that, be sure to fill up before you get into the border-crossing traffic. There are no fuel stops between the two national checkpoints.

There are also some natural rules of the road to which you should pay attention. Basically, you need to be well aware of the wildlife that you may encounter.

On the upside, I have never made a trip around the circle without a guide. At least once every trip, an eagle or hawk will swoop down in front of the bike no more than 20 feet above me. They always lead me down the highway for several hundred feet before they fly off. I don’t feel a trip around the lake is even started until I have found my flying escort.

You must watch out for bear, deer, moose and other animals making sudden road crossings, especially if you are riding in remote areas and especially at night. Pay particular attention through Ontario, which has more rugged wilderness. There are 80 mammal species, 400 varieties of birds, and numerous reptiles, amphibians, insects and all sorts of specialized plants along this section. If you are riding at dawn or dusk, keep your eyes open for wildlife on the road. Connecting with a large animal like a moose at any speed could be a catastrophic end to your vacation plans.

Mike has had close calls with road-crossing critters in Minnesota and Ontario. “On the way to catching up to the guys, I was riding along in rain and fog in really crappy nighttime riding weather. My (Honda) Pacific Coast didn’t have the best headlights. Every once in a while, I’d barely miss a moose. I didn’t see it until it went past my elbow. Unless you really have a good reason to be out there, it’s probably not a good idea to be riding at night.”

The elements also need to be accounted for – including where you will be when. Molly has this story:

“On the way back, on my own, on my very first bike, an R65 BMW, I decided, ‘I don’t want to do the usual route’ and I ended up going off the main road and got lost. I ended up deep in some forest at dusk, worrying about deer, and I’m all alone, not an experienced rider. I have never felt such fear in my life.”

She explained why that experience made her want to go back: “I went back during the day and planned it out well. But that story describes how important the elements are when you’re on a bike. You don’t have to think about how dark it’s getting in a car, or how cold, or if it’s raining or if conditions are about to change.

“You have to be so in tune with nature. Nature is a big draw to the lake and that area, and it’s what draws a lot of us to motorcycles. You have to watch the skies, the patterns, the clouds and the wind direction. Who does that? No one does that in a car. All of a sudden you’re altering your route because you’re seeing a very large front come through and you’ll alter your route by a couple hundred miles to avoid that.”

Finally, another thing to be aware of while riding is where you’ll see the next gas pump. While it’s not a problem along most of the route, there are some “dry” spots. There is a particularly long stretch of highway between pumps on the eastern portion of the lake, between Wawa and Pancake Bay.

Looping the Lake

Rugged terrain is part of the charm on the Ontario shore.

Looping the Lake

Planned stops, like the Deer Trail Touring Route Welcome Centre on Highway 17, give motorcyclists traveling together time to touch base.

Looping the Lake

Amy Larsen / Lake Superior Magazine

Minnesota’s North East Chapter of ABATE stops near Two Harbors.

Looping the Lake

The numerous cool stopping places, like the ore docks in Two Harbors, Minnesota, are among the draws of motorcycling around Lake Superior.

Looping the Lake

Personal Circle Tour Highlights

Reviewing my trips around the Big Lake, especially last year with Larry, I’ve developed my own good-to-know highlights for other motorcyclists. Here is my five-minute Lake Superior Circle Tour traveling counterclockwise from Duluth and back. These are very personal adventures – you will create your own favorites from your ride:

On the east end of the Bayfield Peninsula, Wisconsin Highway 13 takes you along the coastline into historic fishing villages and through some of the best views of Lake Superior from the Wisconsin side of the lake. For the dual-purpose rider, there is an assortment of dirt roads that take you into the forests and parks of the peninsula. For the rest of us, well-maintained two-lane highways – mainly 13 and 2 – loop the area, with the former sticking the closest to the lake. Bayfield is a great stopping place, including a variety of hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast inns. The Madeline Island Ferry Line to Madeline Island is well worth a day trip. You can ferry your motorcycle across and explore Madeline Island and stay in the great campgrounds in Big Bay State Park .

The main road toward Michigan’s Upper Peninsula , Highway 2 , takes you through old mining, logging, industrial and railroad towns, several of which are now casino towns with low-cost lodging options. If you are more adventurous and can manage at least 150 miles between fuel stops, stick with the coastline following County Road 519 into Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park , one of the favorite rides in the U.P., according to Brad Kolbus of U.P. Cruising.

This route sets you up nicely for a back roads route to the Great Sand Bay and some amazing scenery and isolated camping, cabin or motel accommodations along Michigan’s Highway 26 right to the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. In the Keweenaw, everyone stops at the Gay Bar in Gay (Brad was told it’s the most popular photographed landmark in the U.P.).

The roads are good, but fuel and food stops can be hard to come by.

One of the advantages to a motorcycle tour is that road condition is less important than when you are in a car (known as “cages” to motorcyclists). I worry about beating up my car and passengers; I look forward to an adventure on my motorcycle.

Marquette is a scenic city and if you have time for a luxury stop, the Landmark Inn is one of those top-notch hotels I spoke of earlier. The winding drive through Presque Isle Park is beautiful.

The 1940s and ’50s were economic boom years for many towns on the Lake Superior Circle Tour. A lot of the motels reflect the years when Americans first hit the road in the family station wagon, in that great tradition called “the family vacation.” Experienced motorcyclists value the added security of being able to park the bike close to the room, which is one sign of a “motorcycle-friendly” motel.

Highways US 41 and M-28 across the U.P. toward Sault Ste. Marie is a scenic route past the Hiawatha National Forest, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, Newberry State Forest and the Sault Ste. Marie State Forest areas. Each of those amazing parks connects to the main highway via side roads that offer adventure and camping. There are more fun side trips on this route than you can explore, but don’t let that stop you from going off the main road into parks and small towns.

One particularly sweet U.P. ride, so I’m told, is the recently paved section of Alger County Road H-58 through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore from Grand Marais to Munising. “It’s almost like they built it for motorcycles. … It is a great ride,” Brad says.

Jim Northup, superintendent of the lakeshore, says of the road, “It was designed to be a scenic, first-class ride,” but cautioned it is not for high-speed, racing travel. The road is heavily traveled by touring families and campers, as well as by wildlife.

Unfortunately, last year a vandal threw nails on the road on several occasions, causing some flat tires to cars, trucks and motorcycles. Investigations continue.

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario , is a motorcyclists’ hometown. The city is home to Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Harley-Davidson dealers. There is no shortage of motorcycle service shops, either. The motorcycle-friendly attitude of the city’s commercial and state-owned facility employees make it possible to leave fully loaded motorcycles and explore the parks and businesses.

As much as there is to see in Sault Ste. Marie, one reason for circling the Big Lake is the road out of town – Highway 17 . North of the city, the Trans Canada Highway hugs the lake and provides some of the trip’s best views. The cities along the coast of Pancake Bay Provincial Park are picturesque and inviting. One of the Loop’s many highlights is Lake Superior Provincial Park . From either direction, the park is an exceptional experience. It’s Ian Ellis’ favorite memory from his ride with his son: “When you come down that hill and you first see that massive Old Woman Bay , it’s just an amazing view from a motorcycle. I love that park for the waterfalls, geology and white sand beach.”

This section of Highway 17 provides an excellent combination of mountainlike riding with a coastline on the south shoulder of the road. Every rest stop and every scenic view turnoff is an opportunity for spectacular views and accessible adventure. The road pulls away from the lake near Wawa, Ontario, but that doesn’t diminish the ride or the scenery. There are hundreds of lakes, marshes and wetlands along this section.

This was where my brother, Larry, got his strongest memory of the trip, when he pulled off of the road near Gravel River Provincial Nature Preserve . “I went up on a road, way up high. There was a parking space and a bench at a scenic view. I sat on top of the hillside waiting for you for a while. It was a great view in both directions.”

There are an easy half dozen off-highway excursions worth exploring between Rossport and Nipigon – including the amazing Ruby Lake just east of Nipigon – and then many side trips, again between Nipigon and Thunder Bay. Minnesota rider Tony Kellen recommends a stop at Rainbow Falls Provincial Park . “You ride uphill a short distance on a twisty road and park in the lot. You can walk a short distance to view the falls from multiple positions.”

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is also high on that list. The road to the well-named Silver Islet is an off-the-beaten-path gem. Silver Islet was home to one of Ontario’s first silver mines, and today it is as quiet as a ghost town, but with private summer cottages and a general store and tea room worthy of pausing for a visit and some shopping.

Thunder Bay is another motorcycle-friendly Ontario city. It’s early in the “Ride Lake Superior” promotion, but there are already several businesses sporting “Ride Lake Superior motorcycle parking only” spots and many places had marked motorcycle spaces from before this promotion began. The city is home to several motorcycle dealerships, including Moto Guzzi, KTM, Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha and Harley-Davidson, and a bike repair shop.

Forty-five miles south of Thunder Bay and 10 miles south of the U.S. border, historic Highway 61 leads the rider to Grand Portage, Minnesota , and the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, a motorcycle-friendly stop if there ever was one. The trading post has gas and a nice gift shop for quick souvenir purchases.

Another 35 miles south and Highway 61 passes through Grand Marais , a quaint small town with a great waterfront and a good rest stop for souvenirs, food and views. The North House Folk School’s red-sailed schooner Hjordis can often be seen in the harbor in summer and commercial fishermen leave early.

From there, all 110 miles south to Duluth the highway hugs the lake and passes through many small towns – your choice of stopping places. The idea, Ian reminds us, is to make time to explore. “I stop more spontaneously on a bike than in a car. Whether it’s a photograph, or a bite to eat at a bakery, it just seems more like it’s meant to happen that way. The Naniboujou Lodge , for example (northeast of Grand Marais). It’s a hotel from the 1920s and the interior is amazing. It is a time capsule. We saw the place and thought, ‘Let’s go there for lunch.’ A couple of years later, I took my wife there.”

Larry also thrilled to this shore. “It was more mountainous, hilly, and it feels like riding in the Rockies with an ocean on one side. There was a lot to see in that area. It was so overwhelming that it’s hard to pick out a highlight.”

Riding Minnesota’s North Shore is indeed like riding near an ocean, the smell and feel of the water is inescapable on a bike. A breeze from the lake is the best air conditioning possible. In the early spring or late fall, the Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel marks a thermal boundary. It is often several degrees cooler north of the tunnel and passing through that landmark is often an occasion for a brief pit stop to add layers of insulation or fire up the electric vest. I usually try to hold off until Gooseberry Falls or Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to take advantage of the heated restrooms. If I’m southbound, the place to warm up is Betty’s Pies a few miles south of the tunnel.

Two favorite stretches of Highway 61 are the scenic road between Two Harbors and Duluth and the section of road between Cascade River State Park and Illgen City. Those two bits of highway are loaded with scenery. Stay tight to the lake and have no shortage of places to stop and explore the shoreline. At Palisade Head , motorcyclists can take their bikes almost to the cliffs.

Finally, no real motorcyclist making the Loop can avoid stopping at RiderWearhouse in Duluth, home of Aerostich , the original all-weather motorcyclist gear. Stop in, meet Mr. Subjective (Andy Goldfine) and tell him “the Geezer sent me.” Andy is one of two motorcyclists to cross frozen Lake Superior from Minnesota to Wisconsin. He and his company are motorcycling legends. Duluth’s Canal Park and Park Point can make a good visit. Duluth has Harley-Davidson, Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki dealers.

That is my quick tour, but once you’ve done the Loop, it becomes a regular destination. After circling the lake three times – the slow way and the fast way – I still discover places I’ve missed. That just means a good excuse to do it all again.

Looping the Lake

Highway 1 from Lake Superior to Ely is a popular ride.

Looping the Lake

North of Wawa, Ontario, along Highway 17, Virgil Knapp shoots photos of the rugged landscape during a motorcycle ride around Lake Superior.

Looping the Lake

Ann Oldenkamp

Lee Radzak, site manager at Split Rock Lighthouse, is an avid biker, seen here at Grand Superior Lodge near Castle Danger, Minnesota.

Looping the Lake

On the eastern shore of Lake Superior, motorcyclists head north on Highway 17 through scenic Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Looping the Lake

A Biker-friendly Big Lake

The growing popularity of Lake Superior as a motorcycle destination has spawned a number of tourism-related organizations directed toward bikers. There’s also a growing awareness by local business owners, such as at restaurants and lodging spots, about what motorcyclists need. Many lake region lodgings now provide towels to wipe down bikes and many have special parking arrangements. Canal Park Lodge in Duluth, for example, has covered motorcycle parking while the Days Inn in Munising, Michigan, recently opened a full garage for bikers.

Tourism interests in Ontario, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin are uniting to create an even better riding experience for motorcycles.

This year will be the full launch of “Ride Lake Superior,” an initiative started last spring to capitalize on the growing popularity of motorcycle touring and to capture what has already been a growing market for communities around the lake.

Paul Pepe, manager of Tourism Thunder Bay and one of the Ride Lake Superior organizers, sees the region as a perfect match for motorcyclists.

“Lake Superior is simply an epic ride destination,” says Paul (who keeps a motorcycle helmet in his office with hopes of getting a bike … don’t tell his wife).

“It’s a unique international ride right in the heart of the continent. The popularity of it is that it’s mainly two-lane blacktop that weaves along spectacular coastline that changes regularly. It’s also peppered with a plethora of unique, authentic and eclectic communities, attractions, events and some amazing pristine parks and protected areas.”

Visit Duluth President and CEO Terry Mattson, himself an avid rider, thinks marketing the Big Lake to motorcyclists is a perfect marriage.

“I’ve spent a lifetime on everything two-wheeled, from dirt bikes to tourers and sport bikes, riding all over the country. This is a world-class riding destination by any measure. … For international enthusiasts, this will be on every bucket list.”

Ride Lake Superior has developed a website with pertinent information for motorcyclists planning a loop of the lake.

Another initiative geared toward motorcycles was organized by bikers for bikers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Brad and Kathy Kolbus bought the 6-year-old enterprise, U.P. Cruising , two years ago. It costs $10 to be a life-time member of U.P. Cruising and with that you get an electronic newsletter and a card with discounts from about 120 U.P. restaurants, lodgings and shops specifically for bikers. They produce a biker guide to the U.P. with a map.

Motorcycle riding by Lake Superior has become increasingly popular, Brad says. “It’s definitely growing, especially here in the U.P. Among the main attractions – great blacktopped roads without much traffic and with few larger cities to traverse.

Here are additional resources to plan your “Loop of the Lake.”

  • Lake Superior Magazine 's two full-lake travel guides: the annual Lake Superior Travel Guide ($9.95) and the book, Lake Superior: The Ultimate Guide to the Region ($19.95).
  • At-a-glance references for motorcycle regulations for all the states and Canada.

Thomas Day has been on two wheels since 1963, is a motorcycle instructor, a columnist for the Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly magazine, and a freelance writer who lives in Little Canada, Minnesota.

©2020 Lake Superior Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. • 109 W. Superior St. #200 • Duluth, MN 55802 • 218-722-5002 • [email protected]

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Home Articles Touring Maps USA Distance Lake Superior Circle Tour (Maps, Photos And More)

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John Saporta Sep 28, 2017 Contents Comment Share

Buckle up for the FTC disclosure ride here . Updated Dec 15, 2021, this article contains one or more maps ...

Conquering The Lake Superior Circle Tour

I noticed an online ad for the Lake Superior circle tour and was quickly intrigued. Having spent my college years at Michigan Tech (in the middle of Michigan's Upper Peninsula), the Northwoods and Great Lakes are special to me. This destination also anchors several vacation memories from when my daughter was either a baby or in her single digit years.

“To tour by motorcycle around Lake Superior, all you need is a travel plan and the will to get riding!”

I introduced the concept of touring Lake Superior to the editor before we both enthusiastically started drafting routes. Our touring machines are significantly different, me on my heavy touring GoldWing and Robin on his comparably lighter sport touring Bandit 1200 . As a result, the contrast of our chosen routes was rather strong.

Sidebar: If you're not afraid to get dirty , Lake Superior surroundings are a gigantic ADV playground.

My Route ...

Map Image

Riding the Lake Superior tour on tarmac does force the rider into a series of 100-mile straights. As this wasn't what my good friend was looking for in a week long getaway, we agreed that this should be my solo journey, of which Robin helped shape into something wonderful .

Robin's Route ...

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I'm an old school traveler. I enjoy 30+ year old bikes and own a collection of paper sectional maps decorated with fine tip felt traces. I'm an obsessive map folder and yes, I dig Origami.

I've been dabbling with the OsmAnd application on my smart phone for deer hunting. I had all the tools. It was time to combine them and take the plunge into the 21st Century.

My Lake Superior Motorcycle Tour Begins

Day one started off on an ominous note as the Aspencade was having difficulty cranking its starter. I was heading out to a local park to enjoy breakfast with my wife and daughter at the Ugly Apple food cart. In a hurry, I cracked the throttle and got the engine running. Heading out of town, I made a detour back home to grab my charger.

My initial plan for this first leg was a straight shot from Madison to Eau Clare Wisconsin (boring). At the last minute, I loaded one of Robin's alternate routes to my OsmAnd app and dove in. It was a complete day of twisties .

Remembering the starting issues with my bike (and being determined to be on vacation), I engaged in racetrack protocol while refueling: leave the engine running, don't bother operating the starter, hope I can "charge it out". On a 280 mile tour through the twisties, I restarted the engine once by the time I reached my hotel. Robin's route was superb.

In celebration of twisty roads, my favorite was the passing through The Mindoro Cut .

The turn by turn navigation with OsmAnd performed flawlessly. Regional vector maps and a GPS breadcrumb trail, all stored on the device, means riding out of cellular service has no impact. A quick look to the screen and you know if the next twist is tight or wide and the turn radius is steady or changing ... nice for spirited riding.

By the end of the day, I was a proud digital navigator! I still love my maps and picked up a detailed map of Michigan's Upper Peninsula (express mailed to my hotel by my favorite mail order company) so I could plot my next day's route on my paper security blanket.

Goldwing Battery Notes

I spent one half of that evening analyzing my motorcycle's charging system and the other half marking my Yooper itinerary with an inadequate yellow highlighter. My battery, removed from the bike, was charging in my hotel room.

Keeping The Spark Alive (Day Two Battery Concerns)

The next morning, I carried the battery to a nearby service station and the freshly topped cells were performing to "OEM new" specs. The trip continues!

Battery and starter performance is going to be somewhat of an experiment today. If the motorcycle performs and there's acceptable charge after 300 miles (and the bike starts like it should), I'll carry on with confidence. If the experiment fails, I go home and finish the itinerary in the "Prius Of Shame". I arrive at the southern shore of Lake Superior at the town of Ashland, WI and proceed to take the north country super-highway, US-2, into the UP.

Riding through Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park reminded me a little of the rural roads of Scotland. The park features very rural and narrow two-lane blacktop, twin rutted roads (causing a nonstop baby-sway with my motorcycle), grass shoulders and some very fun twisties. My evening stop was at a friend's home in Lake Linden.

The day was 380 miles long and the battery performance experiment was a success!

Bigger Mileage For Day Three

The planned mileage for today was 465 and I was concerned about covering the entire route during the daylight. I had breakfast with another friend and we spent an hour longer than expected. So, I cut some excursions.

Sorry, Keewenaw Peninsula . I already know you well. Sorry, Tahaquamenon Falls . I owe you a visit.

Michigan Tech

I'm a graduate of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, so I made a stop and hung around the Memorial Union and Gift Shop. My Roadcrafter is inspired from my Alma Mater.

Wingin' It

I stopped in L'Anse to get some of Lake Superior in my hair and put my mind to racking up a triple century of touring. Traveling highlights included a great lunch at The Vierling Restaurant in Marquette, MI and both fast sweepers followed by tight technical twisties through the last part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore excursion!

Gas Stop

True story ... I pull up at this strange gas station, try to pay with credit but get convinced that cash is better. Mister Fonzerelli shows up in an incredible rat-rod low riding pickup truck complete with his trophy girl. His truck fails to start. It might be a crappy battery that can't turn over the starter. I get the hell out of there (I've shaken off electrical gremlins and am starting to feel superstitious).

That evening I stayed on the US side of Sault Ste Marie. Go to Zorbas Greek American Restaurant . It rivals Chicago's Greek Islands. Trust my Greek heritage on this one.

The sun did finally set ... at 10:00 pm. I love summer.

Day Four, Biggest Miles Covered!

It's July 4th and I'm singing the praises of wool socks . They do indeed keep me cool and dry while sporting a full lined Aerostitch Roadcrafter suit and rain touring boots. Gold Bond powder spray also has justified its existence in my travel case.

'Nuff said.

465 miles is the itinerary for today. If the day is a success, it will be my personal best for motorcycle distance touring. I wake early, eat breakfast and install my freshly topped off battery in the bike. The Canadian part of this trip is extremely remote, my wife and kid are waiting for me in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The itinerary is to traverse the entire northern shore of Lake Superior in one day. The night before, I prepared my paper map and included a sparse, hand written route sheet stating village and miles between gasoline stops. In remote Canada, the menu for filling stations is limited.

There's a major tourist trap called Agawa Indian Crafts and it's worth stopping. I give myself a 20 minute alarm and power-shop for trinkets for my wife and kid. Inside the shop, I see a little stone figurine called an Inuksuk . This is a charm for anyone traveling long distance across a barren land.

I consider buying one but decide against it. That's okay because these little stone figurines are everywhere along the highway, guiding the numerous long distance voyagers.

My third scheduled gasoline stop is Marathon. I arrive at a community center/rest stop with a beautiful scenic overlook but do not see a town. This 15 minute break is well worth it.

I'm expecting the highway to shortly come to the lake shore and find a town with a gas station. Five miles from the rest stop, there's a large filling station and quick mart. I decide to skip it and wait for that small town experience (big mistake). The next stop was about 50 miles away and this old motorcycle is poor on MPG.

At an unplanned stop, with the counsel of another rider, I remain un-stranded in the wilderness.

The scenery is stunning. There are Inuksuks all along the highway. The landscape is pines and rocky, with dramatic changes in altitude. There are very long stretches along this forested land, with nothing else but a riders thoughts among nature.

Occasionally, there are brief glimpses of tiny lakes with massive granite boulders and conifers. Sometimes there's a stunning glimpse of Lake Superior as the route teases you with views of water between stretches of forest. It's turning into a wonderful day.

In the town of Nipigon , the gas station is small and the cars are lined up. The GoldWing gas tank is located below the upper fake tank, riding along a spine of the frame forward and below the seat. In the press to fill up and get out of the way, I closed up the top shelter but failed to seal the gas tank.

Fortunately, I smell the fumes and pull over to keep from dying in a ball of fire.

Break day. My family and I enjoy our time in Thunder Bay, digging for Amethyst at a nearby mine.

This Lake Superior Tour Done Gone Caravan

My family and I ride caravan to Kakabeka Falls . it's a miniature version of Niagra Falls. If you do this trip, I highly recommended this stop.

Kakabeka Falls

My route back into the US is along Canadian rural highway 593. It parallels the Whitefish, Arrow and Pigeon rivers and is greatly remote. The twisties are quite fun and tight.

This route would be better enjoyed on an adventure bike but I've been riding for a week now and the GL1200 shows it's quite capable.

Riding along Minnesota's North Shore was a first for me. The landscape is heavily developed, though there are still some remote areas. Check out Taconite Harbor . There's a boat launch, making for an easy tire wetting ceremony.

Also, I made a special stop at the Split Rock Light House . This is the largest light house site I've toured in the Great Lakes area. The light house features all of the original equipment: clockwork gears, mercury bearing with an oil cap and an exquisite third-order Fresnel lens.

Split Rock Lighthouse

My lake touring adventure concluded in Duluth, MN. I took an excursion up the bluff in search of the Aerostitch factory. My first try took me to a prime residential area (my mistake) where I was struck by the change in ambient temperature ... 70F to 90F away from the lake. Lake Superior is indeed a giant air conditioner that makes touring in a textile Roadcrafter extremely easy, even in the peak of July. I did arrive at the factory to heap praise on the Aerostitch crew. My trip featured a touring attitude complete with days in excess of 300 miles, few stops and lots of saddle time.

I could easily do this itinerary again and take twice the time. If you have a desire to take a motorcycle tour around Lake Superior, reserve a week off and go for it!

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What Are Your Favorite Stops Along The Lake Superior Circle Tour?

There are many great places to visit while riding this route in particular. Which ones do you prefer most? What do you like about them and why? Your input is invited. Leave a comment !

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John Saporta

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Fellow rider and guest author John Saporta has posted a total of 2 articles .

My Unexpected Transition From A Kawasaki Concours To A Honda Gold Wing Conquering The Lake Superior Circle Tour

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Lake Superior Circle Tour 2.0

Dustin A. Woods

The ride so nice, it had to be done twice

lake superior circle tour motorcycle

Faithful readers of Motorcycle.com may recall reading how much I enjoyed completing the Lake Superior Circle Tour last summer aboard the BMW K1600GTL. After deciding to take a much needed vacation and ride rather than fly to Harley-Davidson’s recent 110th birthday celebrations in Milwaukee, I figured there would be no better way to decompress than to revisit the greatest of the Great Lakes – this time on a 2013 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Limited.

Following the filth and the fury of partying for five days and nights straight with over 100,000 fellow bikers at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming , I was relieved that the rest of my trip would be done solo so that I could finally get some rest and relaxation. The fact that I was doing the Big Lake aboard a Harley this time immediately proved to differentiate itself from my excursion on the big BMW last summer. The K1600GTL is a velvety smooth, quiet, aerodynamic, highly engineered sport tourer that can be configured for fuel economy, comfort or performance, while the full decker Hog is, well, basically the exact opposite of all those things. That isn’t a bad thing. Not even a little bit.

lake superior circle tour 2 0, My faithful companion on the Lake Superior Circle Tour

With the introduction of the Rushmore project for the 2014 lineup of Harley-Davidson touring lineup, this 2013 Electra Glide is among the last of the exclusively air-cooled tourers. Unlike the new models, it doesn’t feature GPS, Bluetooth capabilities or an infotainment system that can either be voice activated or operated via the touchscreen. As much as I enjoy the convenience and simplicity that technology brings to my life, I also occasionally enjoy unplugging and kicking it old school so I had no complaints about circumnavigating Superior on a bike that is ultimately ageless and full of character.

Northwestern Ontario: The Motorcycle Valhalla

I left Milwaukee on Interstate 43 North towards Green Bay before jogging up to Highway 41 to Marquette where I spent the first of many relaxing nights on this excursion. The next morning I continued on up 41 to the town of Calumet, Also known as Red Jacket, the area was once the booming epicenter of the copper industry but once the resources dried up, so too did the economy and everyone left. It would have become just another ghost town but it has been named a National Historic Landmark District and now houses gift shops, restaurants and a small but fascinating museum that chronicles the steep boom and bust the area experienced.

Not only was I eager to visit Calumet to use it as a stark backdrop for pictures of the Harley, but I couldn’t wait to revisit the roads that lie just beyond the dilapidated hamlet. Free of stop signs, side streets and traffic, Highway 41 winds its way up to Copper Harbor in a more entertaining fashion than I’ve experienced on some racetracks. Once at the Northern tip of the Upper Peninsula, I traversed Highway 26 west over to Eagle Harbor where the roads become slightly rougher but no less entertaining and with better scenery. Massive waves crashing against the rocky shores of the Upper Peninsula allude to the fierce nature and overwhelmingly dangerous power that the vast expanse of fresh water holds. Remote and virtually uninhabited, the area is a source of nearly unfathomable beauty but is also unforgiving and unpredictable. The weather can turn quickly and often does, as I experienced. The wind kicked up and brought with it cooler temperatures and thick black clouds that began to release their precipitation with unbridled ferocity within what seemed like minutes.

lake superior circle tour 2 0, Lake Superior shows some of its awesome power as waves crash down on the rocks

Cold, wet and tired, I pulled into Houghton for dinner at Quincy’s Restaurant and sweet slumber at the Magnuson Franklin Square Inn , who thankfully have covered bike parking since there was actually frost overnight. Houghton is a quaint little college town with lots of coffee shops and no shortage of night life options.

The next day was one of encouragement and fascination as I continued on Highway 26 towards Duluth, MN. Pulling over to once again put on my rain gear, each and every vehicle that passed me stopped to ask if I was alright and offer assistance if I needed it. Being a jaded city dweller accustomed to blocking out the plights of others, it was reassuring that people were willing to help. That touching moment quickly turned to amusement when I arrived at the next town to top up the tank with fuel and found that half of the vehicles parked at the local bar were tractors. Welcome to small town America.

lake superior circle tour 2 0, Amazingly open roads are just begging for motorcyclists

After battling rain, wind and single digit temperatures most of the day, the sun appeared and the mercury rose dramatically as I approached Canal Park Lodge in Duluth where I would be spending the evening. Any given night in the summer months is like a classic car show of exceptional quality on the revitalized and reinvigorated strip. On this September night I saw a handful of vintage Corvettes, a Chevelle SS, a Gran Torino, several Mustangs, a chopped and stripped rat rod and plenty of motorcycles of all kinds.

Ride the Wild Side in Northwest Ontario

That evening I tipped a couple pints at the Canal Park Brewing Company with Dennis Kachelmyer, president of the Harley-Davidson Sports Center who personally came to welcome me to the area. “Welcome to the big lake,” said Kachelmyer when I explained the fast and furious weather fluctuation I’d experienced, “Things can change quickly so you’ve got to be prepared for it.” The second generation owner of the store now in its 62nd year of business, Kachelmyer showed me around his world class facility the next morning. The purpose-built dealership serves as a monument to the rich legacy of motorcycling in his family along with the colourful cast of characters they have met along the way, including regular visitor Larry Bartlett, who I was fortunate enough to meet in person. Recovering from bladder cancer for the second time and in his seventies, he generally logs between 80,000 and 90,000 miles a year and was out riding the day after surgery. “I was at the 100th and 105th birthday celebrations and was so upset I couldn’t make the 110th but it conflicted with my surgery and I couldn’t reschedule,” said the near octogenarian as he gingerly swung a leg over his Heritage Softail that was impeccably maintained but had clearly been put through its paces. I suggested that perhaps I’d see him at the 115th celebration to which he responded with a sly grin, “You sure will!”

lake superior circle tour 2 0, Dennis and Suzanne Kachelmyer showed me some of the best roads around Duluth

Kachelmyer and his lovely wife Suzanne took time out of their busy schedules to show me some of their favourite roads in the area, of which there are many. Touring up to the top of the mountain on sweeping curves, the roads provide views of spectacular vistas, particularly from the Enger Observation Tower which has stood valiantly atop the hill overlooking Duluth since 1939.

Parting ways, I continued along the North Shore on Highway 61, stopping at the Split Rock Lighthouse which began construction shortly after a particularly treacherous storm was responsible for the loss of 29 ships. When it opened in 1910 it was the most remote lighthouse on the Great Lakes and wasn’t accessible by road so materials had to be raised up the 130 foot cliff. I stopped a little further up the road for lunch at the Lutsen Resort as it happens to reside roughly halfway between Duluth and Thunder Bay in addition to coming highly recommended. HOG chapters from the aforementioned cities have congregated there for a gathering they coined, “Meet in the Middle” for this reason, but also because the scenery is beautiful and the food is delicious.

lake superior circle tour 2 0, The Split Rock Lighthouse has been providing inspiring views for more the 100 years

Crossing over the border into Ontario , I was met with a plethora of roads which were more entertaining and less inhabited so I had to be particularly vigilant of monitoring my speed as I returned to civilization and made my way to Bight Restaurant for dinner with friends who live in Thunder Bay. Located within the Winter Garden Pavilion on Prince Arthur’s Landing, the restaurant offers incredible food on the waterfront which has been the prime focus of a multi-million dollar rejuvenation project to reconnect the city with the working harbour.

I circled the block several times before managing to find the McVicar Manor B&B where I would be spending the night as it is truly a hidden diamond in the rough. Residing on a full acre of beautiful property that takes up an entire city block in downtown Thunder Bay, most locals don’t even know the century-old mansion exists and I’m glad they don’t. Proprietors Tom and Dorothy are friendly, accommodating and incredibly hospitable, the accommodations were five stars and the food was as good if not better than you would experience in most restaurants.

I always make a point of stopping by the Terry Fox memorial that overlooks the city of Thunder Bay for a moment of reflection and to put life into perspective. Terry ran for 143 days and 3,339 miles across Canada in his Marathon of Hope to raise money for Cancer research on one leg after having it amputated because of the disease. His memory continues to inspire hope, philanthropy and donations.

lake superior circle tour 2 0, A stop at the Terry Fox memorial is mandatory when visiting Thunder Bay

That day had me riding the Trans-Canada Highway to Wawa where I once again experienced a full day of spectacular roads free of traffic, street lights and thankfully wildlife. Every rider knows the hassle of having to unpack your bike in the evening after a long day on the road or pack up in the morning when your hotel room is an inconvenient proximity away. The Wawa Motor Inn hosts bikers in the summer and snowmobilers in the winter so they are familiar with this plight. Their main rooms have dual access into the hotel and the parking lot and their cabins overlooking the golf course all allow you to park your pride and joy right outside your door. They even provide extra towels intended specifically for cleaning your machine, presumably because they’re tired of patrons ruining their good ones, but it is a valuable service nonetheless. Young’s General Store is directly across the street which combines everything from grocery store, gas station, bait and gift shop, which also happens to feature the best summer sausage I’ve ever had in my life; my mouth is watering even just thinking about it now. And yes, I saw the goose .

Weekend Bucket List: Explorer’s Edge, Temiskaming Loop, and Algoma Country

On most road trips, the rest stops you encounter along the may merely offer picnic tables or perhaps bathroom facilities that you can take or leave, but on the stretch of road between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie you don’t want to miss stopping at a single one as they each offer a unique, spectacular and inspiring view. Witnessing the majestic splendor of the Aguasabon Falls requires a short walk but is well worth it.

lake superior circle tour 2 0, Epic views this these are not all that uncommon on the Lake Superior Circle Tour

Sault Ste. Marie makes for a great home base to take numerous day trips and explore some incredible roads that rival the best you’ll find anywhere. Coming from a long line of pilots, I always make a point of visiting the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre , which has some impressive hardware and interactive displays.

Returning home after two weeks on two wheels for me felt like what most people experience from a weekend at the spa, a feeling of balance and pure relaxation. Vivid scenery and magnificent landscapes replay in my head to the soundtrack of a throaty V-Twin, along with memorable moments like crossing the epic Mackinaw Bridge, watching the sunset over the Great Lake or conversations with interesting people I shared a moment in time with but will likely never see again. I may have embarked on a similar voyage two summers in a row but they were absolutely nothing alike. Every ride is different, every experience unique.

lake superior circle tour 2 0

For more information, visit: http://www.ridelakesuperior.com/

Dustin A. Woods

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Moscow Bike TOur

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Highlights:.

  • Find adventure at every turn
  • Take pride in covering Moscow in record time
  • Enjoy the icons in style
  • Explore off the beaten path routes of Moscow
  • Expert commentary as you travel around the city
  • Test your nerve, driving on crazy Russian roads
  • Get an Endorphin Rush
  • Savour delicacies from different regions of Russia in a traditional restaurant

Only in Moscow for a short time and want to get the most out of the city and have fun? Then a 3-hour bike tour in Moscow is what you need! You won’t hear much about Russian history or become an expert on Russian art, but you will experience all the rest of Russian culture! This tour gives you a unique perspective of a little bit of everything in 3 or 5 hours: must-see tourist sights, local hangouts, Russian food, a glimpse of the modern Moscow life, amazing photo opportunities, a bit of Russian history, and a lot of fun!

This is a great opportunity to cut the usual all day tour down to only 3 or 5 hours and get the most out of the city while having fun and being fit in the greatest locations around Moscow!

A bike trip is sure to capture your heart. It enables you to see the heart of Moscow within the Boulevard Ring and to explore some non-touristic areas of the city, to get an image of the city centre and to work out at the same time.

Our tours differ and depend on whether you are interested in city scenery or nature-like landscape. A variety of places in Moscow are great for riding a bike: these are large parks, yards with old mansions, and historical streets in the centre.

Let’s see what’s waiting for you!

Here are 4 suggested itineraries for a 3-hour tour:.

Moscow Bike Route #1

St. Basil's Cathedral, GUM, Kazan Cathedral, State Historical Museum and Lenin's Mausoleum

Revolution Square and Theatrical Square

Bolshoy Theatre, Metropol Hotel, Chinese Wall, State Duma of Moscow

Alexander Garden

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, fountains, the Grotto, Central Exhibition center, Kutafya tower, Kremlin wall and towers

Historic City Center

Tverskaya street with its beautiful historical architecture, China town (Kitai-gorod), an old historical area of Moscow

Beautiful  City bridge  leading to  Gorky Park  with scenic views of  Christ the Savior  cathedral and the Moscow River. Explore all the beauties riding a bike along the riverside pathways.

Sculpture Park

Peaceful  Crimean embankment  is one of the quietest area of Moscow city with painters' works at the  Vernisage , close proximity to new  Tretyakov Gallery  and good views of  Christ the Savior Cathedral ,  Peter the Great  monument and the Crimean bridge.

Delicious lunch at a café/restaurant

Arbat street + Stalin Skyscraper

The  Arbat  has existed since at least the 15th century and is proud of being the oldest surviving street of the Russian capital. Nowadays, it is now an entertainment and event mecca for Muscovites and tourists alike.

Victory park

Get thrilled with 142 metres  Obelisk  and  Victory Park museum , which is an open-air museum dedicated to the Russian victory of 1945, built in 1995 to celebrate 50 years of victory

Moscow Bike Route #2

Pyatnitskaya street - the Tretyakov Gallery - Luzhkov Bridge - the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - the Gogolevsky Boulevard - the Nikitsky Boulevard - the Tverskoy boulevard - Teatralnaya street - the Bolshoi Theatre – the Kitai - Gorod - Red Square and GUM store - the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge

This route is the best one if you want to see the heart of Moscow. It goes right through the major places of interest and touches upon the most exciting and vibrant areas of Moscow such as part of the Boulevard Ring, which is absolutely loved by everyone.

Cozy streets of Zamoskvorechye will never leave you indifferent. This district has a long and vivid history and is full of old baroque houses along with Stalinist buildings. It includes three theatres, three museums and sixteen churches.

Back in the 18 th century Zamoskvorechye was known as a quiet, country-like land of single-storey houses and conservative businessmen. It remained country-like and is much more filled with business than before, as this area is just right in the city centre.

You’ll learn:

  • what was previously on the site of the Novokuznetskaya metro-station;
  • names of four abandoned metro stations and how to find these stations;
  • what is the oldest bridge among all the bridges in Moscow;
  • how old was Pavel Tretyakov when he decided to collect paintings, that are now exhibited in the Tretyakov gallery;
  • what does the real form of the Boulevard Ring in Moscow look like;
  • what tricks did the Russian government used to save the houses and buildings from bombing during the World War II;
  • what unofficial name the Bolshoi Moskvoretsky bridge has

Moscow Bike Route #3

View over the Kremlin - The Luzhkov Bridge –  The Strelka Institute –  The Muzeon Park –  The Gorky Park –  Neskuchny Garden –  Sparrow Hills –  The Luzhniki Stadium -  Novodevichy Convent – The Arbat Street – The Gogolevsky boulevard - The Cathedral of Christ the Savior –  The Bolotnaya Square

This route includes the most popular city-sights and goes along the Moskva-River. It starts with an observation point, from which you may enjoy the view over the Kremlin, and covers all the most beautiful green areas of Moscow. Historical sites are included into the route so you can feel the historical vibes of ancient Moscow.

  • where is hidden an island Moscow;
  • where in Moscow you can get printed music of the most sweet masterpieces like “Chocolate waltz” and “Cake-gallop” along with a box of chocolates of the 18 th century;
  • why the Luzhkov bridge is also called “the bridge of kisses”;
  • the place where the famous Olympic symbol – the Olympic Bear of the Olympics-1980 was flown from;
  • the stage where Rolling Stones and Madonna performed when they came to Moscow;
  • why the Krymsky bridge was Stalin’s favourite bridge and what musical instrument it represents;
  • where living statues in Moscow could be found in 1740s;
  • myths and legends about inhabitants of the main building of Moscow State University;
  • story about why Sparrow Hills were called that way;
  • how Napoleon was cheated when he was going to burn down the Novodevichy convent;
  • what was supposed to be on the site where the Cathedral of Christ the Savior is now;
  • why Moscow was nearly burnt down in the 15 th century and which role the Arbat street played in it.

Moscow Bike Route #4

Starting with wide area of the VDNKh, you are to learn interesting and fun facts about this spectacular part of Moscow.

  • where is a hidden the secret bunker under Moscow (and no, it’s not a famous Bunker 42 everybody knows about;
  • why the number of golden statues at the fountain is more than the number of Soviet republics, although it is said to correspond them;
  • why one of the Stalin statues was called “matryoshka” (Russian doll);
  • what was Picasso’s favourite statue at the exhibition in Paris in 1937.

You’ll see:

  • the world’s first light-music fountain that was built in 1950-1954;
  • pavilions that symbolize Soviet republics;
  • the Botanic garden which is twice as big as the Principality of Monaco;
  • the largest green-house in Europe (for the opening day in 1945);
  • English garden at the Ostankino mansion;
  • Ostankino Tower, one of the tallest structures in Europe;
  • the most beautiful flowers in hidden places of the parks.

Biking through VDNKh, Botanic garden and the territory of the Ostankino park will definitely be appreciated by nature-lovers and all those who are keen on speed, who knows no limits and want to explore off the beaten path of Moscow.

We can customize your bike adventure to meet your individual interests.

Our bicycle tour in Moscow gives you a chance to have a s pectacular ride  with  wonderful photo opportunities  and an  unforgettable cultural experience!

What you get:

  • + A friend in Moscow
  • + Private & customized tour
  • + An exciting tour, not just boring history lessons
  • + An authentic experience of local life
  • + Flexibility during the tour: changes can be made at any time to suit individual preferences
  • + Amazing deals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the very best cafes & restaurants. Discounts on weekdays (Mon-Fri)
  • + A photo session amongst spectacular Moscow scenery that can be treasured for a lifetime
  • + Good value for souvenirs, taxis, and hotels
  • + Expert advice on what to do, where to go, and how to make the most of your time in Moscow

*This tour can be modified to meet your preferences

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  1. Lake Superior Circle Tour by Motorcycle

    Learn how to plan and ride the Lake Superior Circle Tour, one of the best Motorcycle Rides in North America. Find tips on route, weather, accessibility, and more from the official and ultimate magazine and trip planning guide.

  2. Ride Lake Superior Motorcycle Tour

    An epic motorcycle journey. Plan My Ride Order Free Map. Take back your childhood vacation and relive the roadtrip on your terms, just YOU, your BEST BUDS and your tricked out STEED. Ride Lake Superior an Epic Motorcycle Tour through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

  3. Lake Superior Circle Tour

    Distance: 2,300 kms/1450 miles. The Ride Lake Superior route takes you as close to the shoreline as possible while remaining on pavement. There are some incredible stretches of road you will want to double back on and do again. You can chose the ready-made 8 day itinerary or customize your own using our list of accommodations and attractions or ...

  4. Lake Superior Circle Tour

    Day 1 Start: Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Lake Superior Circle Tour map. We started our tour in Sault Ste Marie in Canada and worked our way clockwise around the Lake. Sault Ste Marie is a twin city with Sault Ste. Marie Michigan. There is more to do on the Canadian Side, so we suggest spending a day or two exploring here.

  5. The Circle Tour by Motorcycle: My Ride Around Lake Superior

    A group of bikers on the Lake Superior Circle Tour glides along Highway 17 on Ontario's Lake Superior coastline in this view from the Alona Bay Lookout. ... The growing popularity of Lake Superior as a motorcycle destination has spawned a number of tourism-related organizations directed toward bikers. There's also a growing awareness by ...

  6. Lake Superior Circle Tour (Maps, Photos And More) ~ TRO

    Having spent my college years at Michigan Tech (in the middle of Michigan's Upper Peninsula), the Northwoods and Great Lakes are special to me. This destination also anchors several vacation memories from when my daughter was either a baby or in her single digit years. $399.99. I introduced the concept of touring Lake Superior to the editor ...

  7. Lake Superior Circle Tour

    I recently started hearing about another one lately that had me intrigued - The Lake Superior Circle Tour. Lake Superior is the subject of perhaps the most famous Canadian ballad of all time, Gordon Lightfoot's song about an ill-fated ship named the Edmund Fitzgerald and its 29 crew members warns of the peril such a treacherous body of water ...

  8. Ride Lake Superior Motorcycle Tour

    Ride Lake Superior an Epic Motorcycle Tour through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota ... Lake Superior Circle Tour. Algoma. Grand Algoma Tour. Deer Trail. St. Joseph Island. Thunder Bay. Waterfall & Scenic Lookouts . Nor'Wester. Ride the Giant. All Accommodations.

  9. Ride Lake Superior Motorcycle Touring Route

    The Lake Superior Circle Tour one of the best motorcycle touring destinations in North America. The route has it all, with great views, amazing roads, and scenic rest stops, the ride will take ...

  10. Lake Superior Circle Tour 2.0

    Faithful readers of Motorcycle.com may recall reading how much I enjoyed completing the Lake Superior Circle Tour last summer aboard the BMW K1600GTL. After deciding to take a much needed vacation and ride rather than fly to Harley-Davidson's recent 110th birthday celebrations in Milwaukee, I figured there would be no better way to decompress than to revisit the greatest of the Great Lakes ...

  11. Ride Lake Superior Motorcycle Tour

    Distance: 682 km, 424 miles. Duration: 2 Days. This spectacular two day tour takes you along the Lake Superior shoreline then inland through the heart of Algoma. Highlights include the scenery between ...Read more. Deer Trail. Distance: 212 km, 131 miles. Duration: 1 Day. This fun route forms a loop around Elliot Lake through Blind River and ...

  12. Ride Lake Superior Motorcycle Tour

    Ride Lake Superior an Epic Motorcycle Tour through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota ... The Inn on Lake Superior . 350 Canal Park Dr, Duluth. Type: Accommodations View Website ... Lake Superior Circle Tour; Algoma. Grand Algoma Tour; Deer Trail; St. Joseph Island; Thunder Bay.

  13. Lake Superior Circle Tour

    Distance: 2,300 kms/1450 miles. The Ride Lake Superior route takes you as close to the shoreline as possible while remaining on pavement. There are some incredible stretches of road you will want to double back on and do again. You can chose the ready-made 8 day itinerary or customize your own using our list of accommodations and attractions or ...

  14. The 10th International Moto Exhibition "MotoSpring-2020"

    The 11th International Moto Exhibition "MotoSpring-2020" The first weekend days of April are the traditional opening days of the motorcycle season. This year they coincide with another holiday of the sun, spring and motorcycles - "MotoSpring-2020". The previous "MotoSpring" took place at the "Olympiyskiy" arena and broke all records of Moscow motor shows in attendance, the ...

  15. Ride Lake Superior

    Ride Lake Superior an Epic Motorcycle Tour through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota ... An epic motorcycle journey. ... Plan My Ride; Interactive Maps; FAQ; My Ride; Contact; Routes. Lake Superior Circle Tour; Algoma. Grand Algoma Tour; Deer Trail; St. Joseph Island; Thunder Bay. Waterfall & Scenic Lookouts ;

  16. Moscow Bike TOur

    Our tours differ and depend on whether you are interested in city scenery or nature-like landscape. A variety of places in Moscow are great for riding a bike: these are large parks, yards with old mansions, and historical streets in the centre. Let's see what's waiting for you! Here are 4 suggested itineraries for a 3-hour tour:.

  17. Moscow

    Rusmototravel's legendary tour over the Trans-Siberian Route. 28 days, 10 000 km, an epic trip through Russia. Secondary roads, small villages and towns, loc...

  18. Ride Lake Superior Motorcycle Tour

    Start planning your 2023 Ride Lake Superior trip. This motorcycle touring map includes the four themed routes and Top 10 Roads you'll want to ride. Order your FREE map by filling out the following information. ***PLEASE NOTE*** Map orders may take up to 2 weeks to be received by mail. Yes, I would like to receive electronic communications from ...

  19. Walking Tour: Central Moscow from the Arbat to the Kremlin

    This tour of Moscow's center takes you from one of Moscow's oldest streets to its newest park through both real and fictional history, hitting the Kremlin, some illustrious shopping centers, architectural curiosities, and some of the city's finest snacks. Start on the Arbat, Moscow's mile-long pedestrianized shopping and eating artery ...