North Shore Bike Trails

Biking is fantastic on the very different types of North Shore bike trails; the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail [GGST], backwoods dirt roads, Pincushion Trails and a few winter fat bike trails. The paved Gitchi Gami Trail currently has a handful of sections complete, the longest section being Gooseberry Falls State Park to Beaver Bay. I recommend some rides on Forest Roads, but one of the best things you can do is  purchase a Superior National Forest map, plan a route and ride. Or head to Pincushion Mountain [just north of Grand Marais] and traverse the network of trails.

Handy Biking Checklist

  • Obtain a map & familiarize yourself with the trail
  • Let someone know your route and expected return time
  • Carry water, high-energy snacks, toilet paper and rain gear
  • Be prepared for a breakdown, and bring a tool and patch kit
  • Always pack out what you bring in – dispose of trash responsibly
  • Most trails tour isolated areas that offer no immediate services
  • Trails cross private, county, state and federal lands – please respect this
  • Consider bringing binoculars and a camera
  • Use common sense
  • Although bike riding on Highway 61 is legal, it is NOT recommended as it is quite dangerous due to narrow shoulders, increased seasonal traffic and road work. The same holds true for the Gunflint Trail. Choose one of the safer routes below.

Scenic 61

Scenic 61
Scenic 61

Watch for traffic on these routes! A one-mile-plus paved road runs through Brighton Beach, the first park northeast of Duluth, just past the Lester River.

A bike ride along Scenic 61 showcases Lake Superior and allows you to explore along the way. Stop for lunch, and pick up smoked fish.

Length: up to 20 miles one-way

Difficulty: easy to moderate

Trailhead: Brighton Beach, MM 5.2

Surface: paved

Two Harbors

Sonju Trail

easy paved path along the waterfront from the lighthouse, through a park to the Burlington Bay beach

Length: 1 mile one-way

Difficulty: easy

Trailhead: 520 South Ave or Park Road & Highway 61

Maps:

easy to follow

maps at visitor centers

GGST - Silver Creek
GGST - Silver Creek

follows the old Highway 61 road bed where it wrapped around Silver Cliff; excellent views

Length: 0.5 mile one-way

Difficulty: easy

Trailhead: Silver Creek Tunnel, NE end

Surface: paved

Maps:

Map

Gooseberry

GGST - Gooseberry Falls SP to Beaver Bay

5 trailheads:

  1. lower parking lot within Gooseberry Falls State Park
  2. at the Visitors Center at Gooseberry Falls State Park
  3. at Twin Points wayside
  4. at the Split Rock Lighthouse Visitors Center
  5. at the Beaver River trailhead in Beaver Bay,

The Visitors Center trailheads offer parking, restroom facilities and drinking water. Restaurants, restroom facilities and other amenities are available in Beaver Bay.

Length: 14.1 miles one-way

Difficulty: moderate [length]

Trailhead: 5; see above

Surface: paved

Maps:

Map

Split Rock / Beaver Bay

GGST - Gooseberry Falls SP to Beaver Bay

5 trailheads:

  1. lower parking lot within Gooseberry Falls State Park
  2. at the Visitors Center at Gooseberry Falls State Park
  3. at Twin Points wayside
  4. at the Split Rock Lighthouse Visitors Center
  5. at the Beaver River trailhead in Beaver Bay,

The Visitors Center trailheads offer parking, restroom facilities and drinking water. Restaurants, restroom facilities and other amenities are available in Beaver Bay.

Length: 14.1 miles one-way

Difficulty: moderate [length]

Trailhead: 5; see above

Surface: paved

Maps:

Map

GGST - Silver Bay

trail runs parallel to the lakeshore, inland along the side of the hill ; does not connect to remainder of GGST

Length: 2.3 miles one-way

Difficulty: moderate

Trailhead: 129 Outer Drive, Silver Bay

Surface: paved

Maps:

Map

Tofte / Schroeder

GGST - Schroeder to Lutsen

ride the 3-mile trail through Temperance River State Park, over the river and back to Highway 61, where the trail ends, but you can carefully cross the highway, ride your bike down Tofte Park Road, along the Lakewalk and then pick up the 7.3 mile roadside trail that ends in Lutsen at the bottom of the Ski Hill Road

Length: 10.3 miles + one-way

Difficulty: moderate [length]

Trailhead: Schroeder Wayside, Tofte Park & Ski Hill Road

Surface: paved

Maps:

Map

Britton Peak Mountain Bike Trails

single-track bike trails

1.5 mile novice, then add on either a 2 mile intermediate or 2 mile advanced trail through maple forests

Length: 1.5-miles and up

Difficulty: easy to advanced

Trailhead: Britton Peak Trailhead, Sawbill Trail

Surface: hard pack

Lutsen

Honeymoon Loop

A big loop through the backwoods between Lutsen [Caribou Trail] and Tofte [Sawbill Trail]. Park at the snowmobile trail parking on Caribou Trail [6 mi north of Hwy 61], head west several miles, then 1 mile north on the Sawbill Trail and return east on the Pancore Lake Rd [it’s going to turn into a low maintenance rougher road] stay right on Rice Lake Rd for about a mile, then veer right on Clara Lake Rd to the Caribou Trail and south to your starting point..

Length: 20 mile loop

Difficulty: moderate [length]

Trailhead: snowmobile trail parking, Caribou Trail

Surface: hard pack and gravel roads

Maps:

Honeymoon Pancore Loop map

picking up a Superior National Forest map would be very helpful

Grand Marais

GGST - Grand Marais

a slow climb out of Grand Marais followed by a return ride down the hill

Length: 1.5 miles, one-way

Difficulty: easy

Trailhead: downtown Grand Marais

Surface: paved

Maps:

Map

Pincushion Mountain Trail System

narrow hard-pack trails intersect and climb the wooded hilltop overlooking Grand Marais and Lake Superior

Difficulty: moderate to advanced

Trailhead: 1 Pincushion Drive

Surface: hard pack

Gunflint Trail

Danger: do NOT ride on the Gunflint Trail!

Devil Track /Bally Creek Ride

Make it a 2-car ride; leave one in Grand Marais and drive one to the trailhead, then ride up over the ridge then all the way down to Grand Marais. Multiple starting points allow you to choose distance. Lovely ride on low-traffic road [watch for logging operations].

Length: up 24 miles

Difficulty: easy to moderate / difficult if you ride it up hill

Trailhead: Eagle Mountain Parking [The Grade and Bally Creek Rd]

Surface: hard pack gravel road

Maps:

Map

Lima Mountain Grade

The quintessential ride through the forest; great for varying abilities. The Lima Grade is a forest service road through woodlands, open areas, over creeks and river, to lakes highlighted by berries, wildlife and a spur to Lima Mountain. You can ride the entire road north to south or pick it up along the way.

Option: park at Twin Lakes then ride north along the Lima Grade, east on South Brule and loop back south and end with a picnic or camping (rustic facilities) at the Twin Lakes camp area.

Length: varies

Difficulty: easy to moderate [length]

Trailhead: Lima Mtn Rd & Gunflint Trail

Surface: hard pack gravel road

Old Gunflint Trail

a hilly road that was part of the original Gunflint Trail; wooded, clearings and the Iron Lake Campground 2 miles from the north end of the road

Length: 5 miles one-way

Difficulty: moderate

Trailhead: Old Gunflint Trail

Surface: hard pack gravel road