For those who love to travel the open road by motorcycle, Minnesota’s 21 scenic byways and myriad scenic loop routes offer some of the state’s most beautiful
and enjoyable rides.
Beginning at Duluth, Lake Superior’s North Shore includes
seven state parks and incomparably dramatic scenery. Experience
the history of the shore at the 1910 Split Rock Lighthouse north of
Two Harbors, the friendly harbor village of Grand Marais and the
Grand Portage National Monument fur trading post.
Winding 57 paved wilderness miles from Grand Marais to
Seagull Lake, the Gunflint Trail travels through the rolling
hills of the Superior National Forest and leads to the Boundary
Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway, passing
through Chippewa National Forest, offers several historic sites, bald
eagle sightings and a backdrop of big balsam firs, with plenty of
places to grab a bite, stunning views and plentiful lodging options.
Minnesota’s northernmost scenic drive, the Waters of the
Dancing Sky Scenic Byway, travels west from Voyageurs
National Park along the Canadian border. Ideal for anglers,
boaters, hikers, birders and wildflower lovers, the 229-mile
route runs along the Rainy River from International Falls to
Baudette and continues on to Warroad.
About 3. 5 hours north of the Twin Cities, the 88-mile Lake
Country Scenic Byway travels a segment of Minnesota’s Pine
to Prairie Birding Trail, connecting Walker, Park Rapids and
Detroit Lakes, passing near the headwaters of the Mississippi
River, with unique shops and restaurants along the way.
Beginning at Fergus Falls, the Otter Trail Scenic Byway winds
serenely among the forests and lakes past Maplewood and
Glendalough state parks, a scenic overlook at Inspiration Peak,
and the historic 1889 Phelps Mill. Hills, curves, lakes and prairie
make this a scenic and fun place to ride.
The Great River Road is Minnesota’s longest and most traveled
byway. Running beside the Mississippi River near its source
at Itasca State Park, it passes through the Chippewa National
Forest and the cities of Bemidji and Grand Rapids. Through the
center of the state, the landscape is a mix of woods and farmland
in towns such as Brainerd, Little Falls and St. Cloud.
The Mississippi winds through the heart of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, with famous sites like Minnehaha Falls and the
Stone Arch Bridge near St. Anthony Falls. The southern portion
widens below tall wooded bluffs through charming river towns
including Red Wing, Lake City, Wabasha and Winona.
The Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway in southern
Get Out & Ride
Minnesota runs eastward from the rolling farm country near
Dexter and Spring Valley, then follows the Root River through
towns such as Preston, Whalan and Lanesboro. The area features
a vibrant arts scene and a flourishing
Amish community, which sells fine crafts
and is open to tours. There are also 60
miles of paved bicycle trails, an abundance
of outdoor activities, and shopping and
dining options galore.
Minnesota offers many great routes
for motorcyclists. | GLORI RANTZ