Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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M-22 & M-109 junction route signage in Glen Arbor, Michigan

Lake Superior Circle Tour

Lake Superior Circle Tour route markerAs 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.

In 1985, Michigan First Lady Paula Blanchard, who was an advisor to the Michigan Department of Commerce at the time, pitched the idea to establish a tour route around Lake Superior at a tourism conference that fall. Soon after, the Michigan Department of Transportation drafted a design for the signs and, working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), helped devise a route around the largest of the Great Lakes. LSCT signs were posted during the summer of 1986.

Interestingly enough, more of the LSCT exists in Michigan than in any other state or province—approximately 515 miles! Ontario comes close with approximately 474 miles, with Wisconsin (142 mi) and Minnesota (154 mi) far behind.

Lake Superior Circle Tour Route

In Michigan, the mainline of the LSCT follows signed state trunkline routes in its entirety, although in some places the nearest state highway to the Lake Superior may be more than 25 miles away. This route listing lists the official route as well as the various locally-designated and marked "Lake Superior Circle Tour Loops and Spurs," which are generally posted with brown signs. These 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 M-28 between Bergland and the junction of US-141 & US-41 near Covington south of L'Anse. 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

Lake Superior Circle Tour Loop route markerLake Superior Circle Tour - Loop Route (Little Girls Point)

When it enters Michigan, the LSCT at Ironwood 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 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:

Lake Superior Circle Tour - Loop Route (Calumet)

In the Calumet/Laurium area, from the jct of US-41 & M-26, a Lake Superior Loop Route departs the mainline LSCT to run through downtown Caulmet to M-203 on the north side of the village before turning back east to US-41/M-26 northeast of town. As with all Loop and Spur Routes, this route is designated with white-on-brown circle tour signs, using the same LSCT "logo." The route:

Lake Superior Circle Tour Scenic Spur route markerFormer Lake Superior Circle Tour - Scenic Spur (Grand Marais)

Between Munising and Paradise, no state trunkline (or other major highway) runs along the Lake Superior shore, leaving the community of Grand Marais, situated right on the Big Lake, 25 miles north of the mainline LSCT. Therefore, a spur route was signed leading away from the LSCT at Seney to provide travellers with a signed route to the Lake at this point. Unfortunately, when MDOT replaced all of the signs along M-77 north from Seney in 2012–13, the Scenic Spur signs were not replaced and, thus, this route is now unsigned. The formerly-signed route:

Back to: Great Lakes Circle Tour page.

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