Minnesota Scenic Drives

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Minnesota scenic drives roll past many of the state's 12,000 lakes, including Lake Superior, and touch upon a hiking trail system that connects all of Minnesota's state parks. The links at the bottom of this page will take you to articles about six such drives that contain photos, highlights, and detailed maps.

Known for their enthusiasm for the outdoors, Minnesotans celebrate each of the four seasons with gusto, no matter what the weather. Minnesota scenic drives bring visitors close to nature and reveal the state's roots in agriculture. Fields brimming with crops are worked by industrious farmers, painting a picture that is distinctively Midwestern. Forests, lakes, and river bluffs add diversity to the vivid scenes, and resort towns offer visitors an easy overnight escape.


Here's a preview of what you'll find in our articles about Minnesota scenic drives:

Edge of the Wilderness (Wilderness Byway)

Clear lakes -- there are thousands of them along this route -- mix with forests that blaze in the fall in this remote region of Minnesota. About 100 resorts provide a rest after a day spent fishing or enjoying water sports of every kind.

Grand Rounds Scenic Byway

Visit the Mississippi River's only natural waterfall on a scenic route set in 50 miles of parks, with bike and pedestrian paths that encircle the city of Minneapolis.

Great River Road

The legend of Paul Bunyan grew along this route, which hugs the Mississippi and travels past 10,000 lakes. Bald eagles roost along the river bluffs, and ice fishing is a serious pastime during the winter.

Historic Bluff Country Scenic Byway

The Root River Valley winds toward the Mississippi, revealing Native American history, Amish populations, deep river valleys, and the region's signature sinkholes, caves, and bluffs.

Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway

The cultures that mesh in the Minnesota River Valley share a common purpose of farming the fertile land. The bountiful countryside is picturesque throughout the year, but it's most inspiring during the harvest.

North Shore Scenic Drive

Mountains and waterfalls along the northern shore of Lake Superior distinguish this section of Minnesota. The scenic driving route follows the lake, with miles of hiking trails available to the sure-footed.


For more useful travel information about Minnesota and beyond, see:

  • How to Drive Economically: Fuel economy is a major concern when you're on a driving trip. Learn how to get better gas mileage.