Lake Superior Circle Tour Gets a Glow Up

Established in the 1960s, this 1,300-mile, self-guided tour takes visitors around the largest of the Great Lakes and is now even more travel friendly with posted signage along the way.

A new wayfinding program is making it easier for travelers to discover the iconic Lake Superior Circle Tour. Established in the 1960s, this 1,300-mile, self-guided tour takes visitors around the largest of the Great Lakes and deep into the natural beauty of Ontario’s Superior Country and Algoma Country, as well as the U.S. states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Made possible through a partnership between Superior Country and Destination Northern Ontario, the new signage and kiosks are helping adventurers make the most of their journey on this famous route, whether it’s their first time traveling around the lake or their tenth. The new wayfaring additions include 40 signs erected on the boundaries of major communities located on the tour, as well as at the Sault Ste Marie tourist information center and the Grand PortagePigeon River Border Crossing, all of which reaffirm to travelers that they’re on the right path.

Visitors will also find new kiosks at several key sites along the route: the Terry Fox Monument & Tourist Information Centre; the tour headquarters at Nipigon Tourist Information Centre; and the Wawa Tourist Information Centre, not far from the 8.5-metre-tall Wawa goose, one of the most well-known roadside attractions found on the tour. The kiosks guide travelers to some of the must-see sites dotted around the Canadian side of the lake, including Aguasabon Falls, a dramatic, 30-metre high waterfall and gorge located near Terrace Bay.

The Lake Superior Circle Tour has long attracted travelers of all ages and interests. “We sometimes have a group of 50 motorcyclists come through that are travelling the tour, but then lots of times it's a younger family or even retirees doing it with their RV,” says Superior Country Executive Director, Dan Bevilacqua. Although car, RV, and motorcycle have traditionally been the most popular ways to experience the tour, Bevilacqua says that it’s garnering increasing interest among cyclists as well, and parts of the tour can even be done via foot or boat.

To highlight the many different styles of travel possible on the Circle Tour, the physical wayfinding additions are coupled with a new website and mobile app, which allow visitors to customize their explorations. “It's built around a map and trip planner where individuals are able to select their stops and build their own itinerary for travelling around Lake Superior,” says Bevilacqua of the app, which features over 1,300 items ranging from accommodation to roadside attractions accompanied by photos and essential details.

The online trip planner and app are integrated, which means travelers have the option to map out their itinerary on their home devices and then access it via the app when they’re on the road or vice versa. Filters also allow adventurers to personalize their journey based on their travel style, whether they require pet-friendly accommodations or routes that are accessible via RV, Motorcycle etc.

For visitors who aren’t sure where to begin, Bevilacqua suggests starting with one of the tourist trails found along the Circle Tour, such as the foodie-focused Lake Superior Ale Trail or Lake Superior Java Journey. Visitors can also consider planning their itineraries around the travel games offered as part of the tour. The popular Lake Superior Circle Tour Certificate, for example, challenges travelers to collect stamps at participating locations along the route. Visitors who complete their stamp sheets receive a special certificate as a memento of their trip.

Bevilacqua recommends travelers plan between 1-2 weeks to complete the Circle Tour and enjoy stops along the way. Ultimately, however, part of the Circle Tour’s appeal is that there are many ways to experience it. The destinations, stop-overs, and timelines are all up to the individual traveler.

Motorcyclists can do it in as little as three days, whereas some people have taken months. There’s so much to do and see and each section of the Circle Tour is unique in its own way,” says Bevilacqua. He adds that past visitors have even completed the route to celebrate their honeymoon and then returned years later in honor of a significant anniversary. “We're beefing up the recognition of the tour along the highway and making tools to make planning trips easier,” he says.

About Jessica Huras

Jessica Huras is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor with over eight years of experience creating food, travel, and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, enRoute, Nuvo, Sharp, TVO, and Time Out, among other print and digital publications. She's a regular contributor to Post City Magazines and Foodservice and Hospitality. She is a former hotel reviewer for, Associate Editor at Escapism magazine, and Contributing Editor at Foodism magazine.