They say historical tourism is big, and there's plenty of that in Two Harbors. The main thing is the Depot Museum, already mentioned by someone else, but there's also the "sandpaper museum." Sounds corny, but it's the building where the now-famous 3-M got its start. Someone mentioned that you can visit the lighthouse tower, but you can also tour the marine museum on the lighthouse grounds. The tug Edna G, which sits at her own dock near the ore docks, is available for tours, and people can pull the chord and blow her whistle, which sounds just like it did when she tugged ore boats in and out of the harbor. (Before the days of bow- and sterm-thrusters.) The tickets for all these things can be purchased at the gift shop in the Depot Museum.
Address: Waterfront Drive and South Ave.
Directions: If you're entering town on Highway 61, turn south at the Dairy Queen (Waterfront Drive) and continue for about 7 blocks. You can't miss the depot. It's one of the biggest buildings in town, on the left, near the 3-Spot engine.
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
You can park for free in front of the Visitor's Center of Gooseberry Falls pictured here. The Visitor's Center is air-conditioned and has bathroom facilities, a gift-shop, area information and makes a nice place to rest if you're tired from hiking around the falls.
Directions: Take Hwy 61 northeast from Duluth. You'll pass through Two Harbors and it's another 13 miles.
The falls are great. From the Visitor's Center it's possible to visit the Upper and Lower Falls and do a little hiking on the rocks along the river and on the hilly paths above the rushing water. However, you might want to spend a little more time and hike a mile or so upriver to the Fifth Falls (see maps in the Visitor's Center), which are also beautiful to photograph and are fun to hike up to.
I haven't been to the Depot Museum in a long time, so I don't really remember a lot of details, but I do know that it focuses on mining, logging and shipping, the lifeblood industries of Two Harbors. The museum is in the former headquarters of the Duluth and Iron Range Railway Company, built in 1907.
Address: 520 South Ave
Phone: (218) 834-4898
The Crusader II is on wooden stilts right next to the lighthouse in Two Harbors. It was built in 1939 by Ruben and Lars Hill of Larsmont, Minnesota and was christened by Crown Prince Olav of Norway. The Crusader II is just one example of the nearly 200 boats that were made by the Hills, the majority of which were used by fishermen on Lake Superior.
A report by the Army Corps of Engineers in the late 19th century led to the construction of the lighthouse at Two Harbors. It was the conclusion of the report that the then Agate Bay needed more protection due to increased shipping traffic from the Ore Docks in the bay.
Today, the lighthouse is still in operation and the house attached, which was once the keeper's house, has since been converted into a bed and breakfast. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ore Docks are easy to find when you arrive in Two Harbors. Just head in the general direction of the lake and look for the signs. Speaking of signs; here's some of what the sign along the shore say about the docks:
"In 1883, the Minnesota Iron Company constructed Minnesota's first iron ore railroad. It ran between the Vermillion Bay and Agate Bay (renamed Two Harbors in 1888). By the time the first trainload of ore arrived from the Soudan Mine in 1884, two wooden loading docks had been constructed allowing ore to be shipped to steel mills via the Great Lakes . . . Over nine million tons were shipped from this port in 1909, only two million tons less cargo than were shipped through the Suez Canal by Asia and Europe combined."
Gooseberry Falls State Park is a lovely place to stretch your legs and take in some great scenery. The paths are well-tended and give you some great vistas of the falls and the lake. Especially nice is the pedestrian bridge located directly beneath the road. While perfectly safe, it rumbles when cars and trucks go overhead, so brace yourself!
See more at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/gooseberry_falls
Address: 3206 Highway 61 East, Two Harbors, MN 55616
Directions: It's about 13 miles up the shore from Two Harbors on scenic Highway 61 (of Dylan fame).
Phone: (218) 834-3855
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
As a family we always ate lunch on the rocky shore on lake supperior in the park you can either hike there or drive, I suggest paying the $4 to drive rather than lug a cooler full of food a mile down a trail.
Gooseberry falls state park a must see state park. It is located along hiway 61, you can't miss it. you can park at the visitors center for free and walk to the falls the ,the closest is right along the road, or you can pay $4 and park anywhere in the park. There are three different set of falls in the park and some great little hiking trails including about a 1 mile hike down to lake superior.
The other must see activities are just more pics. from Gooseberry.
- Hiking and Walking
Gooseberry Falls State Park is the gateway to the North Shore. It is known for its spectacular waterfalls, river gorge, Lake Superior shoreline, Civilian Conservation Corps log and stone structures, and Northwoods wildlife.
Listen to the thunderous roar of the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls of the Gooseberry River, as it plummets through a rocky gorge. Watch for waves, ships, or the moon rise on Lake Superior from an ancient lava flow known as the Picnic Flow.
Hike or ski to see the Fifth Falls through a forest of evergreen, aspen, and birch.
Enjoy camping in modern campsites, picnicking, and trout fishing from the Lake Superior shoreline or the Gooseberry River.
For many motorists Gooseberry Falls State Park is a wayside rest with spectacular scenery. To get the most out of your visit, stop by the Joseph N. Alexander Visitor Center where you can find park information, interpretive displays, a park video, Nature Store, and more. Or visit the Gateway Plaza for outdoor interpretive signs on area resources and history.
Directions: From the town of Two Harbors, follow State Highway 61 northeast approximately 13 miles to the park.
Another pic. of the falls, the two green dots in the center are my borher and I from a few years ago.