Was there ever a better name for a North Shore landmark? Agate Bay makes me think of gravelly grit slithering under the foaming lip of a Lake Superior wave, bits of glassy agate shards glistening, with maybe a herring gull rookery and the smell of wet lichen thrown into the mix.
But the real Agate Bay on the North Shore is a thrill of another kind. Agate Bay is one of the two bays/harbors that make up…wait for it…Two Harbors. It’s not exactly wavelets and lichen, but more like the industrial link between the Iron Range and Lake Superior, where wild Lake Superior meets trains and the shipping industry.
You’ll want to check out the breakwater that runs from the tip of Lighthouse Point out into Agate Bay. It’s a one-of-a-kind North Shore experience, though probably shouldn’t be tried on a stormy day. The sides drop off precipitously into deep, clear and cold Lake Superior, and there’s only a cable railing for safety to keep you from those big waters.
The views are spectacular, both southward down the North Shore toward Knife River and inland toward the harbor (aka Agate Bay), where you get a rare view of ore boats at the docks. You’ll be impressed and maybe a little scared at the scale of it all.
It’s about 0.4 miles out along the breakwater to reach the lighthouse. The views are so good we’ve made this breakwater walk part of Hike #13 in Hiking the North Shore. Bring a jacket if it’s cool outside so you can linger, snap photos and soak up the awesomeness of it all.
To reach this unique North Shore spot, follow the signs off of Highway 61 in Two Harbors to the lighthouse; it’ll be a turn off Highway 61 and toward the lake at the Dairy Queen corner. The route gets a little funky in downtown Two Harbors and through the Depot area: turn left on First Avenue, go three blocks then turn right on Third Street. Pass through the boat landing area and park close to the lighthouse. You’ll find a large parking area and toilet facilities. Let the fun begin!
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