Superior describes not only the size and volume of the largest Great Lake, but is setting as well. It was called le Lac Superior, or Upper Lake, for its location at the top of the Great Lakes region. Its waters form the rugged and rocky northern coast of the Upper Peninsula. Made famous as Gitche Gumee by the poet Longfellow, Lake Superior was called Great-water or Kitchi-gummi by the Chippewa Indians.
The largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior's surface covers 31,700 square miles, and its cold waters reach a depth of 1,332 feet. Lake Superior is the most dramatic of the Inland Seas in many ways, including its history of storms and shipwrecks. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point is noted for its exhibit about the doomed freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down in a violent storm in November 1975, 17 miles off the point; the crew of 29 men was lost. The museum is located on the site of Lake Superior's oldest lighthouse, and its 1861 Lightkeeper's Quarters welcomes overnight guests. Over 30 lighthouses still stand along the Lake Superior beaches and four of them offer unique bed and breakfast experiences.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore preserves the stunning multi-colored sandstone cliffs along Lake Superior between Grand Marais in the Eastern Upper Peninsula to Munising, more than 42 miles to the west. The shoreline park lures hikers and backcountry campers to its beaches, deep woods, sand dunes and waterfalls. The Great Lake region is also home to Isle Royale National Park, which is actually an archipelago of more than 200 islands; the main one is more than 45 miles long and nine miles at its widest. Transportation on the island is by foot over 165 miles of hiking trails, by sea kayak or sightseeing boat. Isle Royale is the most remote park in the system and the only one to close in winter. Located 73 miles off the Keweenaw Peninsula, it is accessible only by boat or seaplane and is closed from November to mid-April due to the diffculty of crossing themagnificent Lake Superior.
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