Sometimes, there’s nothing more relaxing than a long drive. It’s an opportunity to think, relax, and clear your head. And if your route happens to be scenic, it’s a great way to enjoy the beautiful landscape. Luckily, Minnesota has many scenic roads for long drive lovers to enjoy. Below, you’ll find 6 of our favorite beautiful backroads that are perfect for a scenic drive. Check it out:
1. Minnesota Highway 60
Minnesota Highway 60 is around 220 miles long and passes through much of southern Minnesota, carving a path from the eastern border with Wisconsin to the southern border with Iowa. Though the road can be busy, it still has a backroads feel, especially when it is far from larger cities along the route, such as Mankato. As you travel, you'll pass through Minnesota's Bluff Country and into a flatter, more empty landscape dotted with farm fields and small stands of trees. It's a lovely drive on a sunny day, and the lack of traffic in the more rural areas can make it very peaceful and relaxing.
2. Gunflint Trail
Many Minnesotans know about and have driven the Gunflint Trail. It's one of the state's most popular backroads, and for good reason. It passes through a remote area of northern Minnesota that is filled with forests and dotted with lakes. The Gunflint Trail passes through 57 miles of that landscape from Grand Marais to just south of the Canadian border. The landscape is beautiful, and wildlife lovers will enjoy searching for birds, deers, bears, and elusive moose!
3. Minnesota Highway 61
U.S. Highway 61 is an iconic route that goes from New Orleans to the Twin Cities. In the past, the route was extended from the Twin Cities up to Minnesota's North Shore, though that portion is no longer considered part of the U.S. highway. Today, the North Shore section of the route is known as Minnesota Highway 61, and it's an absolutely beautiful drive in our state. Passing along Lake Superior, it offers incredible views of the water, nearby cliffs, and the thick trees that cover northern Minnesota. It's a famous route for a reason, and it's a must-do for any Minnesotan who loves scenic drives.
4. Minnesota Highway 108
West-central Minnesota has some beautiful routes, too. Minnesota Highway 108 is a short section of road that crosses about 61 miles from Prairie View Township to Henning. Drivers along this road can enjoy low traffic as they cross the peaceful landscape dotted with fields and lakes. The route passes through some small towns, making it a great way to explore lesser-known places in Minnesota.
5. Minnesota Highway 38
Minnesota Highway 38 - also known as Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway - is a lovely route through northern Minnesota. It starts in Grand Rapids and continues north to Effie, passing through a gorgeous section of Chippewa National Forest. Thanks to the route's beautiful tree-lined path through the woods, it is one of the prettiest drives in Minnesota. Those who follow it will find well-maintained roads, Northwoods beauty, and plenty of peace and quiet.
6. Minnesota Highway 78
Here's another excellent west-central Minnesota road to explore. Highway 78 covers just under 50 miles between Erdahl and Perham. Drivers will find a quiet road lined with trees and fields. Not much traffic passes along this road most of the time, so those who travel along it will be able to enjoy their thoughts, the hum of the road, and the wooded scenery.
Do you have any other favorite scenic drives? Let us know in the comments, or by filling out our
nomination form. And if you’re interested in another amazing route, check out our Minnesota waterfall loop road trip
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Highway 61, Hwy 61, Duluth, MN, USA
Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, MN 55604, USA
Minnesota 38, MN-38, Grand Rapids, MN, USA
Minnesota 78, MN-78, Battle Lake, MN, USA
Minnesota 108, MN-108, Pelican Rapids, MN, USA
Minnesota 60, MN-60, Faribault, MN, USA