Lake Superior’s lighthouse history begins in and around the copper and iron ore boom that took place in the 1800s. Shipping these precious metals meant a lot of lake traffic and mariners needed safe passage through its treacherous waters. Today, Superior has over 50 lighthouses. Some are open to the public for a tour and are easily accessible by road. The lighthouses on the Ride Lake Superior route have fascinating stories about history, culture, and significance to their areas. Plus, they are simply stunning to look at.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse Lake Superior

Since 1910, the Split Rock Lighthouse has been guiding ships through the stormy waters of Lake Superior. Situated on the coast below a 130-foot rocky cliff, this guiding light beams 1,000 watts of power! For riders, the paved road to the lighthouse is off Hwy 61 so you don’t have to deviate from the main Lake Superior circle route. Take a self-guided tour of the Visitor Center. The friendly knowledgeable staff are there to answer any questions. The site comprises 3 other buildings: the Lighthouse Keeper’s House, the Fog Signal Building, and the Oil House.
An Interesting Fact: every November 10, the beacon is lit in memory of the sinking of SS Edmund Fitzgerald and other vessels lost on the Great Lakes.

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Station

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse Lake Superior

The Keweenaw Peninsula is a very scenic area of Michigan! To get to the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse station, from Copper Harbor take Hwy 26 to the village of Eagle Harbor. Although the road to the lighthouse is not paved, this stop is well worth the trip. This lighthouse was built to guide ships loaded with copper ore across Lake Superior’s murky depths. Originally constructed in 1851, the red brick lighthouse seen today was built in 1871. Besides the lighthouse, you can find the Maritime Museum, a History Museum in the old U.S. Coast Guide station’s garage and a Commercial Fishing Museum onsite.
An Interesting Fact: The U.S. Coast Guard operates the light at the top of the tower as an active navigational aid.

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Point Iroquois Lighthouse Lake Superior

The earliest lighthouses on Lake Superior were erected during the copper mining boom and the Point Iroquois Lighthouse is no exception. First lit in 1857, this lighthouse became crucial as more ships crossed the waters of Superior. Today, visitors can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the 65-foot tower. To get to this lighthouse from the main route, take Hwy M-221 to Brimley and follow Iroquois Road to the Mission. The road to the lighthouse station is paved and staff are happy to answer your questions about the lighthouse and area.
An Interesting Fact: The lighthouse and museum are operated by the Bay Mills Indian Community to share their history as it has great cultural and historical significance to the Anishinaabe.

Whitefish Point Light Station

Whitefish Point Light Station Lake Superior

The Whitefish Point Light Station is the oldest operating on Superior and is located at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise. To get here, deviate from the main Ride Lake Superior route from M-123 and continue N Whitefish Point Road along a paved road. This area is known as the graveyard of Lake Superior and the dangerous waters were not easily navigated. Whitefish Point has been a life-saving beacon for mariners since the original tower was built in 1849. The present light tower was constructed in 1861 during President Abraham Lincoln’s administration Take a self-guided tour of the museum, the lighthouse keepers’ quarters, and other unique buildings on site.
An Interesting Fact: See the SS Edmund Fitzgerald’s bronze bell, recovered on July 4, 1995, at the museum.

Terrace Bay Lighthouse

Terrace Bay Lighthouse Lake Superior

If you’re planning a stop in Terrace Bay on the Ontario leg of the ride, be sure to visit the Terrace Bay Lighthouse. This is a 50-foot replica of the lighthouse at Slate Islands Provincial Park in Lake Superior. The original Slate Islands Lighthouse on the islands is 224 feet above sea level. This replica symbolizes the connection of the community to the beautiful Slate Islands of Superior. Visitors can climb to the top to admire the view of the islands and the surrounding area. The lighthouse is located in town so roads are paved and within walking distance of Drifters Restaurant, the Slate Island Brewing Company and the Visitor Room Coffee Shop.
An Interesting Fact: This is the sister lighthouse to the Otter Island Lighthouse and both lighthouses continue to operate today.

Other Ways To See Lighthouses On The Ride Lake Superior Route

For another perspective, Apostle Islands Cruises two hop-on, hop-off lighthouse tours from Bayfield, Wisconsin. Both the Raspberry Island Lighthouse Tour and the Michigan Island Lighthouse Tour allow visitors to explore the grounds of these lighthouse stations. Each has a guided tour from the National Park Service. Cruises are about 4 to 4.5 hours, so we recommend spending an extra night in Bayfield to enjoy this experience fully.

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