Minnesota Hwy. 1 Practically Runs Through All Of Minnesota And It's A Beautiful Drive
Hwy. 1 is the longest road in the state highway system, and it’s one of the most beautiful drives in Minnesota. It spans the widest section of the state, from Lake Superior to the Red River, traversing national forests, skirting state parks, crossing Native American reservations, and treating drivers to some of the Bold North’s most majestic scenery.
Scenic Hwy. 61, on the North Shore of Lake Superior, is Hwy. 1's eastern terminus.
It begins at Illgen City - a near ghost town - within the boundaries of Tettegouche State Park.
Head west, ascending the Sawtooth Mountains. Look for the trailhead to Illgen Falls in Tettegouche State Park.
Illgen Falls Trailhead, Little Marais, MN 55614, USA
It's about two miles from Hwy. 61, and a short hike - literally a few hundred feet - will bring you to a pristine cascade on the Baptism River.
Continuing west, Hwy. 1 passes through the Superior National Forest and the small communities of Finland and Isabella.
Keep your eyes open - this stretch of road rolls through some of Minnesota's prime moose country.
After a little more than 60 miles, the road passes through Ely.
The charming town started as a fur trading post but gained permanence during a mining boom in the late 19th century. Today, it's a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Traveling south and west from Ely on Hwy. 1, you'll pass near Bear Head Lake and Lake Vermilion–Soudan Underground Mine State Parks.
Bear Head Lake State Park, Bear Head State Park Road, Ely, MN, USA
Past Tower, the road skirts the southern shore of Lake Vermilion, through Cook, and across the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa reservation.
A stop at Scenic State Park - voted one of the country's best - is a must.
Scenic State Park, 56956 Scenic Hwy, Bigfork, MN 56628, USA
Hike Chase Point Trail, which follows the tree-lined esker that separates Coon Lake from Sandwick Lake.
The highway traverses the Chippewa National Forest and passes near The Lost 40.
Lost 40 Scientific and Natural Area (SNA), Twp, Northome, MN 56661, USA
The Lost 40 is a stand of old-growth white and red pine trees that weren't logged due to a surveying error. The grove is co-managed by the Minnesota DNR as a scientific and natural area and the U.S. Forest Service.
Leaving Chippewa National Forest, Hwy. 1 approaches State Hwy. 72 just north of Blackduck.
Lady Slipper Scenic Byway Interpretive and Rest Areas, Scenic Hwy NE, Blackduck, MN 56630, USA
Blackduck is the northern terminus of the Lady Slipper Scenic Byway. The byway passes through some of the state's most orchid-friendly landscapes and offers drivers ample opportunity to enjoy the flowers when they're in bloom.
As you travel westward, Hwy. 1 will bring you to Red Lake, the largest lake completely within Minnesota's borders.
Big Bog State Recreation Area Southern Unit, Minnesota 72, Waskish, MN, USA
Hwy. 1 skirts Lower Red Lake and passes through the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation. But consider a detour north, along the east side of the lake, to Big Bog State Recreation Area, where you'll find the largest peatland bog in the Lower 48 states and many other recreational opportunities on Upper Red Lake.
Moving away from the Red Lake area, Hwy. 1 crosses into the aspen parklands biome of northwestern Minnesota, where elk herds have been reintroduced.
Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, 22996 290th St NE, Middle River, MN 56737, USA
One of the best places to spot elk is Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, just north of Hwy. 1. It's a perfect final stop on your journey, and it's only about 60 miles from Hwy. 1's western terminus in the town of Oslo on the Red River.
Have you traveled the length of Hwy. 1 across the state? What is your favorite scenic road trip in Minnesota?
If you’re looking for other road trip ideas in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, check out these
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Illgen City, MN 55614, USA