Everyone loves a good road trip. But sometimes, with all of the routes and attractions possible, they can be hard to plan. But with that problem comes a simple solution. Why not just stick to one road for the entire trip? Clocking in at 346 miles, Minnesota State Highway 1 is the longest in the entire state. This makes it the perfect choice for those who want a simple road trip without the hassle of intensive planning. Let’s take a look at what you can see along this beautiful road.
The journey starts just inside Minnesota's western border near the Red River.
As you travel east on MN-1, you'll pass through the tiny town of Alvarado. There isn't a whole lot to see, but it should be fun anyway if you like visiting Minnesota's hidden places.
After traveling for a few more miles, Highway 1 will take you into the town of Warren.
This is another small town along the highway, but it does have a unique claim to fame. Warren was featured in a 2006 episode of
UFO Files for an incident that happened in the 1970s. Spooky, right?
Next comes a longer stretch of driving.
For the next 20 or so miles, keep on Highway 1 east towards Thief River Falls.
It's a small town, but there are plenty of things to do in Thief River Falls. Maybe you want to settle in for a meal at the cozy Evergreen Eating Emporium. Or, if you're up for a little time out in Mother Nature, Thief River Falls is a great place to spend some time outdoors.
Turning off of Highway 1, a short drive will take you to the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge.
Here, you'll find wolves, moose, and birds openly roaming the land. But even if you see no animals, the refuge itself is a gorgeous landscape that you don't want to miss.
About an hour east of Thief River Falls, the highway wraps around the southern perimeter of Lower Red Lake.
It wouldn't be a Minnesota road trip without at least one lake, would it? When you're done oohing and ahhing over it, continue on Highway 1 towards Shooks.
Passing through Shooks, then Northome, the highway will lead you into the woods.
Koochiching State Forest is the first big woods you'll drive through on this road trip. One of Minnesota's largest state forests, it contains several water trails as well as access to Rainy Lake.
Just over 30 miles down the road from Northome, you'll know you've made it into Effie when you see a charming sign accompanied by a giant mosquito.
Calling itself "An Edge of the Wilderness Community," Effie is located just outside George Washington State Forest.
Almost as quickly as you enter Effie, you'll be exiting it.
After about 40 miles, the highway winds its way into St. Louis County.
One of the most interesting stops along the way is the Soudan Underground Mine State Park in Soudan.
As Minnesota's oldest and deepest underground mine, a visit to Soudan is like a trip back in time. Learn about the history of mining through a tour of the facility.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of this drive is the section east of Soudan.
Superior National Forest encompasses nearly 4 million acres of wildlife. There are thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams where wild animals roam free.
As you drive on Highway 1 through Superior National Forest, you'll eventually make it into Ely.
One of the best small towns in Minnesota, Ely is the perfect spot to get out and stretch your legs - or maybe even spend the night. Shops, restaurants, and more will give you plenty to do in this little town up north.
From Ely, you'll have quick access to the Boundary Waters.
Because it's so close to the route, it wouldn't hurt to pop in for a day or two of serene canoeing through the wilderness. This little chunk of the one million acres of the Boundary Waters is nothing short of magnificent.
Passing through Ely, the road continues to cut through Superior National Forest.
For the final 100 miles between Ely and Illgen City, you will be completely surrounded by a thick forest featuring a wide variety of trees. If you're lucky, you may see a wild animal poking its head out of the woods.
The highway will also take you within close range of dozens of lakes.
This is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, after all. Why not pack a picnic lunch and hike in to one of the serene lakes along Highway 1?
And just before you get to Illgen City, there's one last must-see pit stop.
Just a few miles off of Highway 1, the Baptism River flows through Tettegouche State Park. This awe-inspiring waterfall is the perfect way to start saying goodbye to your trip across Minnesota.
When you finally get to Illgen City, you will be at the easternmost point of Highway 1.
Though this unincorporated community doesn't have a whole lot of recreation to offer on its own, you will be within shouting distance of one of Minnesota's greatest treasures.
You can turn off of Highway 1 onto Highway 61 for endlessly beautiful views of Lake Superior.
Or you can turn around and take the drive again! There are plenty of other teeny-tiny communities, little-known lakes, and secluded walking paths along this route. No matter how often you drive Highway 1, each time is different from the last.
That’s it! Have you ever taken a drive along Minnesota’s longest highway? Would you add anything else to see along the way? Let us know what you think!