Minnesota February 26, 2018
Take This Epic Road Trip To Experience Minnesota’s Great Outdoors
If you’ve spent any time in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you know that this state is truly beautiful. From breathtaking lake scenes to thick northern forests – not to mention the prairies, cliffs, and rivers in between – there is no shortage of opportunities to see the marvels of nature in Minnesota. One of the best ways? Take a road trip! This epic road trip is just a small portion of the state, but it’ll take you on a tour of Minnesota’s great outdoors. Take a look:
Because it is full of some of Minnesota's most incredible beauty, the North Shore is the star of this road trip. If you do the full loop, it'll be a 280-mile drive. Because some of the stops require hiking - and all of them are filled to the brim with outdoor recreation - you'll want a few days to do this trip. Check out the full route
1. Jay Cooke State Park
The first stop on this road trip is at Jay Cooke State Park. This 8,000-acre park is known for its rugged beauty. The St. Louis River cuts a large gorge into the rocky landscape, making for sights that look like nothing else in Minnesota. This park also features a famous swinging bridge that every Minnesotan needs to cross at least once.
2. Gooseberry Falls State Park
As one of the most popular parks in the entire state, Gooseberry Falls is an obvious choice for a road trip. The gorgeous falls are only a short walk from the parking area, making this a quick stop if you're only in it to see the main event. If you'd like to explore a little further, the park has many trails that offer views of forest, river, and Lake Superior. All in all, this is one of the most popular parks for a reason: it's beautiful.
3. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Sure, the park is named for a manmade object. But the lighthouse wouldn't be what it is without the cliff it shines from. The 130-foot cliff is best viewed outside of the park, but you'll still want to visit for incredible aerial views of Lake Superior. From the top of the lighthouse, the sparkling waves of the greatest Great Lake are nothing short of breathtaking.
4. Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park may be one of the most underrated parks in Minnesota. Sure, it gets plenty of yearly visitors. But when you stop to consider just how much there is to see there, it seems like many more people should be stopping by. Why? For one thing, it's home to two of the most famous sights in Minnesota: Shovel Point and Palisade Head. These gorgeous cliffs rise over Lake Superior to create incredible photo opportunities for North Shore explorers. Beyond the cliffs, the park is home to the High Falls of the Baptism River. This waterfall is the tallest waterfall located completely in Minnesota!
5. George H. Crosby Manitou State Park
This stunning state park is notable for its large mixed forest. Many trails cut through it, making it an excellent stop for hiking enthusiasts. And if you love waterfalls, you're in luck! This state park is full of low waterfalls that tumbler over jagged rock along the Manitou River. It's a rugged park perfect for those looking to get away from it all.
6. Bear Head Lake State Park
The northernmost stop on our epic road trip is a little state park on the outskirts of Ely. It's notable for its thick forest, abundant wildlife, and proximity to Bear Head Lake. It's a wonderful spot for fishing, camping, and hiking. As an added bonus, if you have a few more days to spare, nearby Ely is also the gateway to the Boundary Waters. After your stay at Bear Head Lake, pack up your gear and head into Minnesota's last great wilderness.
7. Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Minnesota's newest state park is also one of its most fascinating. Visitors can learn about Minnesota mining and how one of the state's most valuable natural resources impacted Minnesota history. Hiking trails lead through the forest and alongside the beautiful shores of Lake Vermilion.
Would you add anything else to this list? What would your Minnesota great outdoors road trip look like? Share your thoughts in the comments below.