North of Superior

Whenever and wherever riding enthusiasts congregate and discuss the best places to ride, the old standards like the Pacific Coast Highway, Cabot Trail and Deals Gap come up often. But what do you know about the northern half of the Lake Superior Circle Tour?

North Shore of Superior

In 2006, the National Post said that one of the “100 things to do in Canada before you die” was to ride a motorcycle across the North Shore of Lake Superior. Highway 17 from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay in Ontario has long been known as one of Canada's greatest rides. The twists and turns and ups and downs as this section of the Trans-Canada Highway reveal the shores of Lake Superior and make for a holy grail of motorcycle touring. Great riding and great views. Carved rock face, wild windswept forests and a lake so large it's often described as an inland sea all make up this diverse terrain, and the roads offer enough of a challenge to keep even the most seasoned rider interested.

Starting Off

This route can be approached from either Sault Ste. Marie or Thunder Bay. With plenty of bike shops in the city, Thunder Bay is a great place to start your tour. If you're looking for a part that needs replacing, want to invest in some heated gear, or want to buy a GPS or mount before heading off into the wilds, either Excalibur Motorcycle Works or North Country Cycle and Sports are both happy to help.

There are myriad festivals and events in the summer and fall when the landscapes explode with colour and dozens of great places to stay, whatever your taste. The Soo, is an easy access point for many tourers coming from the US.

View Highway 17 along Lake Superior in a larger map

Detour to Sleeping Giant

South of Highway 17, just out of Thunder Bay, is a detour down to the tip of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The Park is named after a rock formation that looks like an enormous man made of stone lying down with his arms crossed, which is best viewed from Thunder Bay. The park itself offers an array of activities, from photography workshops, to nature hikes, to a lovely lazy road that goes right to the shores of Lake Superior.

Keep on Truckin'

If you can't get enough, consider the Ride Lake Superior Circle Tour that takes you through Ontario as well as four US states on your way around the entire 2000 mile route around the lake. But you don't have to take our word for it - check out this testimonial from an impressed tourer

Check out the Interactive Motorcycle Tour Planner:

GoTour Trip Planner Lake Superior Map Only

About Mike Jacobs

Mike is an avid Northern traveller, having spent years traversing its backroads, and visiting its remote lodges and fun cities by car, RV, motorcycle, and boat. There's always something new to discover in the North and Mike never shies away from the next great adventure. Mike is the chairman of the board for the Tourism Technology Company.

Recommended Articles

Search Motorcycle Touring