I rode along Highway 7, which goes up for about 3-4 miles, fairly gradually, then goes down to the lake for about 3 miles in a fairly steep grade. Once you get to the end, you either ride back on Highway 61—quite busy on a Sunday. Or, you turn around and go back up. I chose to go back up :)
They guy in the bike shop told me that he thinks the climb on 7 is harder than riding up the Gunflint. I'm not sure I agree, but maybe this week I'll ride both of them and decide. The Gunflint Trail goes over the ridge right behind Grand Marais in a series of switchbacks. I'm not sure how high it climbs, but I think it is about 1000 feet in a few miles. The view of the lake is beautiful as you climb.