Cook County, Minnesota has two National Scenic Byways–roads recognized nationally for their scenery and significance. They are the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway and the North Shore Scenic Drive (an All-American Road).
When we say “Getting here is half the fun,” we mean it.
Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway
The Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway is a two-lane paved road. It meanders from the north shore of Lake Superior through 57 miles of beautiful boreal forest and glacier-dug lakes to the banks of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW at Saganaga Lake.
The Trail and surrounding area have a rich history that includes fur trading (this is voyageur country), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps, and colorful pioneers.
The Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway is famous for moose sightings and for birding. In fact, the entire Superior National Forest is designated as a Globally Important Birding Area by the American Birding Conservancy.
The Laurentian Divide—the continental divide for water flowage—crosses the Trail. You can hike over some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth.
- Scenic and Historic Sites Map Key
- Full Gunflint Trail Map – note large file
- Grand Marais to George Washington Forest Detail Map
- George Washington Forest to North Brule Detail Map
- North Brule River to Bear Cub Lake Detail Map
- Bear Cub Lake to Mid-Poplar Lake Detail Map
- Mid-Poplar Lake to Iron Lake Detail Map
- Iron Lake to Magnetic Rock Trailhead Detail Map
- Magnetic Rock Trailhead to End of the Gunflint Trail Detail Map
Scenic byways podcasts by Michael Monroe
- Gunflint Trail-experience 1 – with Michael Monroe
- Gunflint Trail-experience 2 – with Michael Monroe
- Gunflint Trail history – with Michael Monroe
- Gunflint Trail hospitality – with Michael Monroe
North Shore Scenic Drive, an All-American Road
Were he recording it today, Dylan could title his album “North Shore Scenic Drive Revisited.”
The 154-mile North Shore Scenic Drive, an All-American Road, begins in Duluth and ends at the Canadian border, following Highway 61 and the rugged north shore of Lake Superior. “All-American Road” is the highest designation of a roadway by the National Scenic Byway program.
All of Cook County, Minnesota’s North Shore communities are located along the North Shore Scenic Byway: Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais and Grand Portage.
The 57-mile Gunflint Trail (itself a National Scenic Byway) begins in Grand Marais.
For more information, visit the National Scenic Byway website’s North Shore Scenic Drive section.