Lake Superior "Circle Trail" - any experience? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:47 AM   #1
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Lake Superior "Circle Trail" - any experience?

I have been reading about a really neat route ... a 1300 mile loop around Lake Superior. Duluth MN up to Canada around to Michigan down to Wisconsin. I spent one day in Duluth several years ago after taking a group of Boy Scouts to the Boundary Waters and decided someday I want to come back. Well... someday may be early July of this year!

I'm doing some research on the internet... suggested stopping points, cool stuff along the way. I plan to camp along the way and understand I need to get reservations, which is not how I normally like to travel, but I guess summer time can be crowded.

Has anyone made this trip with their Egg? Any comments, suggestions, "Can't Miss" experiences? Also any campground recommendations?

Thanks in advance!!

-tom
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:24 AM   #2
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Can't speak for the U.S. side but on the Canadian side.....provincial parks include Sleeping Giant, Neys, Agawa Bay.....Pukaskwa national park. All recommended. It all depends on how much time you have.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:34 AM   #3
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I don't have any specific suggestions for you, but will say it is a beautiful drive. I have traveled across the northern UP and across northern Wisconsin many times. I have returned via the Canadian route from Duluth to Sault Ste. Marie a couple of times. Both times we were staying in motels (few and far between in Canada).

I mentioned in another thread that there is a small local county or municipal campground in Bruce Crossing, MI (just east of Ironwood, MI). It is just north of the four corners, has water and electric, dump station, hot showers and flush toilets. They charge $10/night - honor system. I think they ask an additional $3 if you dump. Good place to stop for the night. Not sure how crowded they get, but plenty of space the couple of times I stayed there in Sept of last year.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:35 AM   #4
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Visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and either take a boat tour or kayak. If you take a boat tour, get there early so that you get a good seat. There are no enterance fees for the park.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:45 AM   #5
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I've gone around the top of Lake Superior a number of times in both a van back when I was tent camping, & towing my Escape 17B (I hate to drive through Chicago). The last was in 2011 - here are some posts from my journal starting from Duluth, MN..
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:27 AM   #6
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We have done the Canadian side several times and part of the US side once. I have nothing but good things to say about the drive north of the Lake and we expect to do it again this year. Drive on the top half of your gas tank and get supplies when you can.
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Old 04-12-2017, 11:30 AM   #7
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We did the trip two years ago and really enjoyed it. One of the highlights was getting off the circuit for 2 nights and taking a detour to Manitoulin Island. It's a lovely area, great for bicycling and camping. We stayed at a gem, Gordon's Park. It's designated a Dark Sky preserve and had stunning views of the night sky. Here's a peek...
Welcome to Gordon's Park - Gordon's Park

One must-do is Persian Man Donuts in Thunder Bay. They're way too sweet and way too many calories, but maybe that's what makes them so popular. Anyone from Thunder Bay always told us to make sure to get them. We weren't disappointed.
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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Don't miss the railroad museum in Duluth. It's very interesting! Also, don't take a short cut across Michigan"s Kewenaw Pennsula. Instead, take the Brockway Mountain Drive to Copper Harbor. On my way around Superior, I went out of my way to see The Apostle Island on the northern end of Wisconsin because I'd heard so much about them. I guess you have to actually go to the Islands to appreciate them. Also, at Sault Ste. Mare in Michigan, take the bout tour through the locks--very educational!. And, if you've got an extra day, take the train out of Sault Ste. Marie Canada to Agawa Canyon--it's a nice day trip. Have fun!!
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Old 04-12-2017, 01:51 PM   #9
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Camping in Michigan's Upper Peninsula....

There are many, many state forest and US forest campgrounds in the upper peninsula.

I've stayed in some in the peak of summer and been the only person there on weekdays.

Of course they are primitive with just an outhouse and a hand pump. But they are in beautiful places.

I remember once staying at the Burnt Dam Campground on, I believe, the Middle Ontonagon River.

The feature there was Mex-i-mini falls. It was the 4th of July week and I was the only person there and camped just a few yards from the waterfall.

Tahquamenon Falls are the 2nd largest falls east of the Mississippi, with Niagara being the biggest.

There is also a shipwreck museum near Whitefish Point. And while it is hard to get there Isle Royale is the crown jewel of Lake Superior. The national park is much closer from the Canadian side of the lake.

Good luck!


PS A wonderful river to canoe that empties into Lake Superior is the Two-Hearted River, popularized by Ernest Hemingway in his Nick Adams stories.


The backstory is that Hemingway's story actually takes place on the nearby Fox River but he liked the name Two Hearted and also didn't want to draw too much attention to the Fox which he liked to fish.
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:36 PM   #10
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I've only done the Canadian side, but it was one of my favorite trips ever. Stayed at many of the Provincial Parks and loved them all. Also stayed at a lovely town park one night. Sorry don't remember the name.
I'm a sucker for waterfalls and there are many fairly short hikes to falls along the way.

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Old 04-12-2017, 04:40 PM   #11
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Check out - if you are interested in crystals - The Amethest Mine north of Thunder Bay. They have an outlet in Thunder bay. The large terminal grain elevators on the lake front are where most of the grain, grown in Saskatchewan and Manitoba was loaded on lake and ocean going freighters for shipment to Europe.

At Sault Ste Marie, there is an interesting museum on the Great Lakes Freighters - located inside one - with a special memorial to the Edmund Fitzgerald, that went down in a bad storm.
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:52 PM   #12
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Great Circle Superior Route !
You'll love it. I first visited the 'North Shore' in 1961, planning to stay for just one year; and stayed (environmental science teacher) at the 'Land of the Big Goose' for the next 35 years. Camped and fished, with various RV's, in all four seasons. Even shovelled snow, alongside the 'Tranny-Canandie' #17 in January, just enough to get the truck-camper a few feet off the highway. The most pleasant years of my life. There are several Provincial Parks for camping spaced out all along the route from the 'Soo' to Thunder Bay, most of which are on the scenic shore of Superior. If you enjoy the outdoors, you'll love the trails and scenes all along the North Shore of Superior, as well as the friendly locals at Wawa, White River, Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Rossport, Nipigon, and T.Bay. Be sure to look for morels at Obatanga. And the South Shore route through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan is just as equally spectacular, although more populated. Go for it, Tom, you too, will love it.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:53 PM   #13
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Like Postman noted , check out the Keweenaw Penninsula. This area is rich in history and has many good museums. This is where I go at least one time every year . Lake Linden has a nice city park & just outside the little town of Gay there is my favorite, right on Lake Superior . It is just past the river to the north of town .
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:44 AM   #14
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Great trip

We have stayed in all the state parks on hwy 61 in Minnesota. Not a bad one in the group. The parks with electric sights are tough to get reservations in July, that said still try. My favorites are Temperance River with sights that overlook Lake Superior with Mother nature providing air conditioning. Gooseberry Falls is very popular. Another favorite is Cascade River, no electric which means you may get to obtain a reservation. Betty's Pies is a spot you need to hit. I need to explore further, need to explore Ontario!
Have a safe and fun trip!
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:49 AM   #15
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If you are a kayaker, you can look into tours out of Bayfield, WI. There are "sea caves" in that area. Up by Cornucopia, there is an arch you can paddle under. I'm not sure if the latter is common knowledge.

When a friend came to visit, we took the Three Hour Tour out of Bayfield. That was a tour boat that goes around the Apostle Islands. For some reason the Gilligan song got stuck in my head. It was interesting.

There are private and city campgrounds in Washburn and Ashland, WI. They are on the lake. Take a kayak if you have one. Chequamegon Bay is a good place to paddle.


If it still exists, there is some kind of a world accordian museum is in Superior, WI. I always meant to go there, but my return to my homeland was sooner than planned.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:30 AM   #16
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Here is a link to the website dedicated to the Lake superior Circle Tour: About the Tour – Lake Superior Circle Tour ENJOY!!
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Old 04-19-2017, 10:30 AM   #17
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Soo Locks

A number of years ago we visited the Soo Locks and viewed a 1000 ft. lake freighter passing through the locks. We were viewing just 20 feet from the ship. I found this amazing. The ship has to slow down to .25 mile per hour to enter the lock, and to slow down .25 mph and enter the lock takes and hour or so.

Soo Locks at Sault Ste Marie Michigan
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Old 04-26-2017, 03:29 PM   #18
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I would Google Black Flies and do a little bit of research. July is getting late enough in the Mich. lower peninsula that the biting flies may be less of an issue but early June they can be pretty bad, and pretty much not bothered by DEET in bug spray. Really can be hard on a dog if you have one.

I was always impressed by the persistence of our deer flies. Things would follow on us on a trail for a long ways trying to get a meal.

Put me down as a +1 for tahquamenon falls, manitou island(s) which are the little bears of the legend of Sleeping Bear dunes. The soo locks also are a sight to see either from the observation deck or from tour boat if they still have those that go through the locks.

Flower pot islands on the Canadian side on the South Bruce Peninsula are a few miles out and back but worth it if you ask me. I camped on the island one year, and hiked the shoreline, really impressive. Georgian bay defined by the peninsula is lovely area to camp in. And so deep that the joke was you fall overboard grab you lunch, it will take a long time to get to the bottom. Lot of wrecks there, so a lot of diving related activities.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:32 PM   #19
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There is a Lake Superior guide and several other books on the area that might interest you. You can't go wrong going to that area. All fantastic.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:31 PM   #20
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Reservations needed

I have read that in July it's a good idea to make reservations... I've been super busy with work, just starting to do so and I'm finding it very hard to find campsites! Especially on the weekends.

For those who have gone without reservations, how have you found places to stay? State parks seem to be very full. State forest campgrounds? City Parks? How do you find the good places without spending all your time looking for camping?

Beginning to wonder if I should go this year... maybe I should go next year and plan much further in advance. I was planning to leave July 1 and make a 2 week trip of it, starting in Sault Ste Marie MI and working my way around clockwise.

Any Advice?

Allstays looks useful, only wish there was a date search function on it....
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