Bike the Gitchi-Gami from Gooseberry to Split Rock
Rate this Adventure Minnesota › Gitchi-Gami Bike Trail
Added by Jess Curren
This ride provides beautiful views of Lake Superior, pebble beaches, and a historic lighthouse. Not to mention it's not a bad workout!
The Gitchi-Gami is a paved bike path that will eventually extend from Two Harbors to Grand Marais. As it currently stands (2015), there's a really great segment that starts in Gooseberry Falls State Park and runs all the way to the town of Beaver Bay (total of 16 miles one way).
I chose to do a shorter section and bike the 8 miles (one way) from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Split Rock State Park. To start, you need to pay the day use fee and park in the picnic area down by the campground and the lake (not up by the Visitor Center). The trail winds along the shore, and then back up a hill, past the visitor center, and over the bridge. Stop here to take a look at the top of the falls, and on a busy day, see all the people.
From here there are a couple of decently challenging climbs, but the pavement is good and scenery even better. I took a stop at Iona's Recreation area around mile 4, (there's a convenient bike rack) and while looking out over the water, I saw two bald eagles swoop down from the trees. Definitely worth the stop.
The remainder of the trail is pretty rolling, with some good climbs, and some rests on the downhill. There are occasional dirt road spin offs - and if you are feeling adventurous you can lock up your bike to a tree and hike to the top of Day Hill (the Two Harbors Trail goes down to the lighthouse - but its steep and I don't recommend biking down it). Approximate GPS coordinates for the trailhead: 47.193439, -91.387250
You'll also hit the Trails Center, and if you take the fork that leads to the parking lot and shelter, you can take a walk out to the shore and get a great view of Split Rock Lighthouse in the distance.
Around mile 8 you'll hit a crossroads. To the left will be the State Park Visitor Center, straight ahead acorss the road continues the Gitchi-Gami, and to the right is the Lighthouse Spur, which leads down to the Historic Split Rock Lighthouse. If you want to explore the Lighthouse further, and it's between the hours of 10am-6pm, you need to pay $9 per adult. If you are there outside of hours you can just wander around.
When you've seen enough, hop back on your bike and work your way back to Gooseberry Falls!
- Light jacket
- Bike lock
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