Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse

These are both iconic stops along the Northshore Scenic Byway and the number of tourists out in the rain and wind to see them told you this even if you hadn’t read it in a travel brochure.

Before we hit the road to cover the remaining 120 miles to Grand Portage, we made a stop at the Railroad Museum in Two Harbors. It was a nice stop with a lot of historic items about the community. We didn’t stick around to watch the two hours of movies, though!

First stop on the Scenic Byway was a Scenic Overlook just behind where they built a tunnel in the 90’s because the road was a little too treacherous and difficult to maintain. The view was magnificent even in the wind and rain.

The weather wasn’t getting any better but we stopped at Gooseberry Falls anyway. It was just a short walk to see the first three falls and the interesting bridge that spans the river. We headed to Upper Falls first.

You could walk up the path a little further and cross over the water on the bridge or under it. This just meant that I had photos of the falls from different vantage points and couldn’t decide which I liked better so you get to experience both.

From below you could turn around and see the bridge. 

The next two falls were also beautiful.

We got to enjoy them with a hundred of our closest friends. It is actually amazing that I got any pictures without other people in them.

Next stop was the Split Rock Lighthouse (INSERT WIKILINK). We took a short guided tour and it was excellent. (Shout out to Brandi!) 

They let you climb the tower to see the Fresnel Lense in action.

All the machinery from 1914 was still functioning and beautifully crafted. 

This stop was also crowded despite the brutal weather but we were rewarded for walking down to the beach where very few others ventured to go. This is supposedly the most photographed lighthouse in the world and you can see why. (I took a lot of pictures and couldn’t decide which I liked best.) The Lighthouse Keepers have been encouraging visitors to stop since the 1930’s when the Scenic Byway was completed.

We also got to see a little wildlife along the way back to the top.

If the weather had been nicer, we probably would have stopped at the other State Parks and done some hiking but instead we only made one more stop at a picnic area for a quick break. By now, it was really storming and the Lake had ocean waves.


Since I’ve disclosed my stair obsession, I might as well just keep sharing the photos. (The stairs down were actually better made out of rock but it was too cold to go back for a photo. )

We kept driving (with one quilt shop stop) figuring we would spend our extra day in Grand Portage going to Thunder Bay, Canada but after we got here it turns out we probably didn’t need an extra day because Grand Portage ONLY has the casino. We will make a quick stop at Grand Portage National Monument but it looks like I may have gotten an unscheduled sew day.

Next Up: Isle Royale National Park