Early French Explorers of the 1600's dubbed this 31,000 square miles of inland water "Superior." Before that, the Chippewa tribe called it Gitche Gumee. But by any name, its waters and shoreline are among the most rugged and isolated in the United States. The discovery of copper, iron, and other valuable ores let to a period of heavy shipping traffic, which in turn created a demand for lighthouses as navigation aids.

At the western-most edge of the lake, the very picturesque city of Duluth is the departure point for many ore carriers. The city has a beautiful waterfront with three lights guiding ships into the harbor. North of Duluth, on Highway 61, are two lighthouses--one at Two Harbors, and farther up the road Split Rock Light's handsome form caps a rugged cliff. At the opposite, easternmost, border of Superior, the "iron pile" tower of Whitefish Point Light and the light at Point Iroquois. guard the approach to the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie and the passage to Lake Huron. Between these two ends are several fine lighthouses along the rugged shoreline of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Apostle Islands features several lighthouses, including Sand Island Light and Raspberry Island Light . About midway across the upper peninsula is the Marquette Harbor Light.

Finally, this quick tour of Lake Superior wouldn't be complete without a taste of the lake's brooding mystery, in the form of three of the most isolated sites anywhere--Stannard Rock, Passage Island Light, and Rock of Ages Light.