In Manitoba and especially around Winnipeg, we don’t have a lot of waterfalls. So I wanted to dive back into the memories of my trip to the North Shore in Minnesota in 2018 to catch up on that.
During this road trip, we visited International Falls and the Minnesota Discovery Center, then the beautiful little town of Ely and its Wolf Sanctuary. We then drove along the North Shore of Lake Superior to reach Canada and finally spent a day in Thunder Bay before taking the road to Winnipeg.
My North Shore itinerary
Cobble Beach in Sugarleaf Cove
The first stop of this scenic North Shore drive along Lake Superior – which ultimately consisted of driving while stopping at every single lookout, is Sugarleaf Cove.
It’s the end of March, so of course the little museum/interpretive center is closed – the majority of attractions in this corner of Canada and the United States only operate from late May to early September – and there’s snow everywhere. It doesn’t matter, it’s 0 degrees Celsius / 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s enough to walk without a coat and we’re used to winter hikes.
We spend a lot of time on the pebble beach, a scientific and natural protected area in the North Shore.
There are plenty of trails in Sugarleaf Cove (here is their website), it looks really well done, I just want to come back one day in a warmer day (spoiler: 4 years later, it hasn’t happened).
There are two things to see in Temperance River, on either side of the North Shore road.
At one point, on the road, I saw a golden eagle, perched on a pole: the USA mystique all the way. It was surreal.
The North Shore Scenic Road is beautiful, you have the forest on one side and the immensity of Lake Superior on the other. As you go further, the lake thaws, until it completely looks like an ocean. On the other hand, once past the Canadian border, of course, the lake is frozen solid. I found that really funny.
Grand Marais, Minnesota is a bit of the cliché of seaside towns, with the pontoon, the ice cream parlour and the souvenir shop in a log cabin. In March, everything seems to wake up slowly, in summer it must quiver with activity.
If I ever had to go back to the American side of Lake Superior and drive the North Shore Scenic Drive again, the area’s website, would be a good guide I think. All this makes me really want to get back in the car and leave, for somewhere!
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