While not the first "official" routing of the Great Lake Circle Tours, the approximately 1,300-mile long Lake Superior Circle Tour can trace its history back to a loosely-organized "circle coute" around the Big Lake in the 1960s. Promoted by local tourist organizations by way of brochures, pamphlets and other promotional materials, the earlier incarnations of a loop route around the largest freshwater lake in the world were not signposted and travellers had to rely on the tourist brochures to find their way.
After the first official circle tour—the Lake Michigan Circle Tour—was designated and signed in 1987-88, the LSCT became the second official tour, complete with designated route and signs very soon after. While Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, the shortest segment of the LSCT is the part in Wisconsin between Superior and Hurley/Ironwood. Wisconsin's 144 miles of Lake Superior Circle Tour comes in just behind Minnesota's 154 miles, Ontario's 485 miles and Michigan's 520 miles.
Lake Superior Circle Tour Route
In Wisconsin, the mainline of the LSCT follows signed state highway routes in its entirety, although in some places the route might be nearly ten miles from Lake Superior. With one exception, though, there are no other state or county trunk highways closer to the lake than the route of the LSCT. This route listing lists the official route as well as any locally-designated and marked "Lake Superior Circle Tour Loops and Spurs," which are generally posted with brown signs. The loop and spur routes are detailed following the mainline route below:
Note: The "Circle Tour Road Route" description from the GLIN website is not only vague, but incorrect! While a good shortcut route, the LSCT does not use US-2 between Superior and Ashland. In fact, between STH-13 junctions on US-2, there are no Lake Superior Circle Tour route markers! Other errors in the routing shave hundreds of miles from the acutal, posted route of the Lake Superior Circle Tour. The route included on this website has been personally researched by the website author in the field.
Lake Superior Circle Tour Loop and Spur Routes
As it leaves Wisconsin and enters Michigan, the LSCT at Hurley is approximately 10 miles from the Big Lake, as the crow flies. To provide for a easy-to-navigate route to the Lake Superior shore at Little Girls Point as well as the westernmost point in Michigan, a locally-desinated Loop Route heads north from the mainline in the Hurley/Ironwood area. Although it follows a state highway route in Wisconsin, the route on the Michigan side is county roads, which precludes it from being signed as an official portion of the LSCT. The route:
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