The Big Lake is really big. It is the largest fresh water lake in the world by area its over 1300 feet deep and 160 miles across. The lake is so big the water never warms up. In the summer the average temperature is 40 degrees. The Big Lake, Lake Superior is one awesome lake.
The area along the Northwest shore of the lake in Minnesota is called the North Shore. Its a great place to hike and bike or just explore. The rocky rugged shore line and countless rivers that empty into the Lake are spectacular places to spend time.
We have been there many times. You have already seen some posts from along the North Shore including Eagle Mountain and Carlton Peak from us. We have hiked, biked, dived, and climbed all along the Great Lake over the years. This post is a recap of several trips and and focuses on the just the Great Lake itself.
It seems like you can spend hours just exploring the rocky coast almost anywhere along the North Shore. Some favorite places are Split Rock Light House, Gooseberry Falls, Grand Marais, Lutsen, Cascade River and many more State Parks all along the shore.
Gooseberry Falls Area
At Gooseberry Falls State Park you can see the falls, camp, and explore a section of the lake with large boulders, and beautiful rocky inlets. After scrambling down the steep cliff to the lake you can walk along the shore exploring the nooks and crannies with little pools of water.
There is always a sunny spot to enjoy the views and pose for a picture.
The water in the lake is an amazingly clear and an azure blue green color that makes is very inviting. However it is cold. Do not fall in!
Sometimes it takes both hands to get down to the water.
You never know what surprising little creatures you will find lurking in the cracks of the large boulders.
Or sunning itself on the cliffs overlooking the lake.
Now here is and interesting pair!
There are of course many places to stay along the big lake, but one of the more popular and almost legendary places is the Blue Fin Inn in Tofte. Built right on the lakeshore on Blue Fin Bay it is a complex of privately owned condos that are rented out as a hotel. We have stayed here several times and have enjoyed each and every time.
It has a rock beach where they have camp fires every night with marshmallow roasts, as well as bars restaurants, pools and hot tubs.
You can walk the boardwalk between buildings along the bay to different parts of the complex where you will find a variety of things to see and do.
From old fishing museums that show how they used to catch the Blue Fin Fish in the bay
To picnic shelters and walkways through the little village of Tofte.
Early one morning just before the sun rises in the east over the lake Margaret sat out on the lakeshore behind the Blue Fin Inn wrapped in a blanket and took this set of beautiful sunrise photos. (while I slept peacefully inside in the nice warm room)
Later I managed to get up and make my way outside to get this snapshot of the great sunrise photographer having her tea at the patio outside our room.
One of the many attractions on the North Shore is the Split Rock Lighthouse. No longer in use as a warning beacon to protect ships on the lake from the treacherous rocks on the shoreline it has become a museum in a State Park. (Its worth the few bucks to take the tour)
Notice how this picture of the lighthouse looks much better with the additional content in the photo.
Just down the shoreline from the lighthouse is a beautiful rocky beach with the remains of an old fishing camp where a few brave souls dare take a plunge in the freezing waters of Lake Superior.
After a brisk swim we dressed and sat on the beach and had a picnic. Shortly after a pair of young ladies came down to the beach dressed in their swimming suits. They placed all their belongs neatly on the rocky shore and prepared to go into the inviting looking water for an enjoyable swim in warm bright sunshine. (This is going to be good!) Well you have never heard so much screaming! The swim was short and sweet. One girl managed to get in the water for a short dip the other couldn't quit do it ,and retreated to the safety of the beach.
Just to the north of Grand Marias is the Pigeon River and Grand Portage State Park. The river acts as the border between Canada and Minnesota. The tallest waterfalls in Minnesota is located on the river just a mile or two from the highway in a scenic park.
Standing on a boulder in the middle of the river the right hand side is Canada the left hand side is Minnesota. Looks like Homeland Security missed securing this part of the border.
Here is a couple of potential terrorist sneaking across the border.
The Pigeon River Falls
The “Big Lake” is a not to be missed area to be visited in anyone’s personal tour of our beautiful planet.