Last week, on one of our days off, we headed down on MN 61 to bike on the Gitchi Gami Trail. This is a paved bike trail that runs along the shore of Lake Superior. Right now it is in three sections, but eventually it will be 88 miles from Two Harbors to Grand Marais. Currently 29 miles are finished passing through five state parks and traveling some extremely scenic shoreline.
It was nice to be back on the tandem. We have been riding along the roads in Grand Portage (practically no traffic after 5 p.m.) but haven’t hit a trail since May. We decided to ride the middle section of the trail, which is 10 miles long and runs from Schroeder to Ski Hill Road near Lutsen.
The Gitchi Gami trail is not as well marked as it could be. There are sections that run along MN 61 but you aren’t sure whether to follow the lake or climb up to 61. We had to stop and ask where the trail was when we got to Tofte. We were stuck in a condo parking lot and couldn’t find our way back to the trail. Also, we joined the trail at Temperance River State Park, and there were no clear signs about which way to go from the parking lot. We have noticed that Minnesotans don’t seem to be very big on signs.
The trail itself has frost heaves and potholes so you have to pay attention while you are riding. This is a shoreline trail, so there are some ups and downs. But the scenery was great and we crossed several rivers that were tumbling down to meet Lake Superior.
Because the shoreline is a tourist destination, there are plenty of things to see along the trail. We stopped at a cute village park in Tofte. We looked at the Fisherman’s Museum. We checked out restaurants as we rode by and picked one for lunch on the return trip. We watched the cascades on the Onion River.
When we were too hungry to ride on, we turned around and had lunch at the Coho Cafe Bakery and Deli. I had a personal pizza which was excellent – smothered in cheese – and Tom had a pulled pork sandwich that he enjoyed. Because it was a Bakery, we shared a piece of chocolate torte cake. Then we headed back to Temperance River State Park and the truck.
We enjoyed our ride and look forward to trying other parts of the Gitchi Gami Trail. The most scenic section is supposed to be the part of the trail from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. I think we will have to do that, even though it is two hours away, because then we could eat at Betty’s Pies afterward!