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North Shore to Ely, MN

Ride Rating:

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 119 miles / 191.5 km
  • Ride Time: 2-4 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $9.04
  • State: Minnesota
Submitted by:

This is a great route to ride in July, August or September, as it is always 'cooler by the lake' (Lake Superior, that is). Highway 61 up the North Shore from Duluth to Highway 1 is 60 miles. Betty's Pies near Two Harbors or the Rustic Cafe in Castle Danger are always favorite stops for pie. Split Rock Lighthouse, 45 miles up the shore from Duluth, is a must-see and it is easy to spend an hour or two touring the lighthouse 130 feet above the lake. Palisade Head, along Hwy. 61 just south of the junction with Hwy. 1 is a great stop. Palisade Head is marked with a highway sign and there is a quarter-mile paved road to the top of an overlook 300-feet above Lake Superior, from which you can see the Apostle Island on the south shore of the lake, about 30-miles away. Highway 1 is a great ride if you like twisties, thick woods and moose. Keep an eye open for moose between Finland and Isabella as they are plentiful. Finland has gas and Our Place is a good place to eat. Gas and grub is scarce between Finland and Ely, but what a ride!. Ely is the gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and there are plenty of shops, gas, and good eateries. A loop on Highway 169 to Highway 53 will take you to the Minnesota iron range and back to Duluth. The total loop makes a good day trip.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Minnesota. This motorcycle route has 7 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by radster in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by radster

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for North Shore to Ely, MN
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for North Shore to Ely, MN
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for North Shore to Ely, MN
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for North Shore to Ely, MN

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesBeachesParksFall ColorsLakesForestRural

Best Time to Go

Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadRolling HillsLight TrafficSmoothRare Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

48overland says:

I agree a great ride. When you leave Duluth be suer to take the scenic hwy along the lake!! about 9 miles from Duluth is McQuade Road Boat access, toilets, a great chance to walk on a brekawater and get close to the lake. If its a bit windy be sure to take Stoney Point Road, you mmight get to see some surfers, though most times they surf in the fall and winter. From ely take Hwy 1 to 135 follow that back to 110 be sure to fuel up before you leave Hoyt Lakes, its a nice run back to either Silver Bay or Two Harbors but there's no fule except at Hugo's. Take Hwy 16 east to either SB or take hwy 2 south to TH. Got an adventure bike, check out some of the old hwy routes or run back along the Cramer Road, LAger Grade or numerous other routes. Be sure to take teh Skibo overlook stop along 110. I try to ride this a few times a year.
Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Deluxe06 says:

Great ride, nice scenery, neat places to stop
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

jddickenson says:

Best Minnesota ride we have had. This is a must do for anyone that has option to do so. Stop at the bear research center just south of Ely on the way out of town to see the MN Black Bear in thier natural hapitat!
JD Dickenson
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM

ozzimandias says:

An awesome ride and could only get better if the leaves were changing. The road conditions were smoother than alot of Hwy 61 and its not heavily travelled you you feel like you are all alone out there. Split Rock lighthouse ($9) between mile markers 45-46 was relly nice and informative and palisade head around mile marker 57 offered spectacular views. The food and servive at our place was great. I will definatly do this ride again and I moight take Hwy 2 back to Two Harbours to keep from back-tracking.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Passenger says:

Awesome! Cruise control NOT an option! A must ride for all!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM


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