Impress Your Friends and Family with a Wealth of Lake Superior Facts

As you’re driving north along scenic Highway 61 toward the Arrowhead region of Minnesota, watching Lake Superior out of the passenger side of your car, you’ll find your mind start to wander. Our lake has that effect on people. You’ll find yourself wondering about our great lake, and how life along (and within) Lake Superior has changed through the ages.

While traveling to Cook County, Minnesota, you’ll catch your first glimpse of Lake Superior as you come into Duluth. A little over an hour later, you’ll come to the communities of Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder, and you’ll still be driving along the shore. Even if you go all the way to Grand Portage, just miles from the Canadian border, you’ll have driven less than a quarter of the way around Lake Superior. It’s hard to fathom the sheer size, but the quick facts below will help you become an expert on our great lake.

Quick Lake Superior Facts

How big is Lake Superior?

Lake Superior has over 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) of shoreline. If you were to drive around the entire lake, you’d put over 1,300 miles on your car or motorcycle, which we highly recommend. It’s a beautiful, fun and exciting drive.

How deep is Lake Superior?

The average depth of our beloved lake is 483 feet (147 meters). To put that into perspective, if you stacked two of Duluth’s lift bridges on top of each other, they’d still be 20 feet below the lake’s surface.

What is the deepest point in Lake Superior?

The deepest point in Lake Superior is about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan. It is a whopping 1,276 feet (389 meters) below the surface. That’s about as deep as Chicago’s Willis Tower Skydeck’s glass ledge.

Why is Lake Superior so cold?

Lake Superior’s sheer size and depth work together to keep the lake cold. The average water temperature is 40°F. Interestingly enough, we’ve actually seen our lake warm up a bit over the past few decades. The lake’s summer surface temperature has risen about 2°F (1°C) per decade since the 1980s. The area covered by ice each winter has decreased from 23% to just 12% over the last century - the last time Lake Superior was completely frozen over was in 1979 – but it came very close to freezing over entirely in 2014. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Lake Superior facts. Download the Lake Superior Facts & Info Guide to discover all you ever wanted to know about our great lake – and more!

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