Most of our scenic attractions are easily accessible by car, with a little walking.
First stop is the world-famous Split Rock Lighthouse, 46 miles from Duluth. You can tour the lighthouse and the grounds, led by knowledgeable guides dressed in period costumes. Down the hill from the lighthouse, park at the trail center of Split Rock State Park with paths along Lake Superior leading to a vista of the lighthouse.
Your next stop is Beaver Bay, only 5 miles from the lighthouse. It’s one of the oldest communities in Minnesota, founded in 1858, and was accessible by only water in those days. See the river and visit the shops in Beaver Bay.
Less than two miles from Beaver Bay is the Silver Bay Marina and Bayside Park. See the sailboats and powerboats in the harbor. There’s an excellent view of the “Thousand Footers” (ore boats) coming into the Northshore Mining harbor. Have a picnic at the Bayside Park with a lakeside view and its cozy beach. Stop for lunch or groceries in Silver Bay.
Less than 2 miles from Palisade Head is Tettegouche State Park, the second largest State Park in Minnesota. Take the half mile trail to Shovel Point, another magnificent cliff, or take the trail upstream on Baptism River to see several waterfalls.
Just beyond that, Highway 1, another scenic byway intersects Highway 61. Five miles up Highway 1 is Finland, a community founded by Finnish settlers in the 1890s. The winding and scenic Highway 1 is a place to spot a moose, if you’re lucky. Eventually, Highway 1 reaches Ely, the hub of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
From Finland, you can also reach Crosby Manitou State Park, a unique place that offers only hike-in camping and fishing. Waterfalls cascade through a volcanic canyon surrounded by majestic forest. The trails in the park are carved through a forest of fir, cedar, spruce and northern hardwoods. Although the trails are steep and challenging for hikers and backpackers, they offer spectacular views.
Secluded campsites are for backpackers only. Trout (brown, rainbow, and brook) and splake (a hybrid of brook and lake trout) reside in Benson Lake. Watch for moose, deer, bear and wolves.
County 6, from Finland, heads east and eventually connects with Highway 61 at Little Marais. On the way, you can see the John Pine Heritage Site, a village that recalls the past, and Wolf Ridge, a well-respected environmental school.