Scenic Drives In Cook County

When We Say “Getting Here is Half the Fun,” We Mean It!

There are so many things to see and do in Cook County, MN you’ll want to make the most of every minute. Visit Cook County is a great place to find road trip ideas, like our national scenic byways and North Shore Scenic Drive.

National Scenic Byways

Cook County, Minnesota has two National Scenic Byways – roads recognized nationally for their scenery and significance. They are the North Shore Scenic Drive (an All-American Road) and the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway.

North Shore Scenic Drive

You cannot get to Cook County without driving along renowned Highway 61. Beginning in Duluth and winding along Lake Superior’s rugged North Shore to Grand Portage, this road offers stunning scenery at every turn. Lighthouses, waterfalls, and several state parks are among its many allures.

For more information, visit the National Scenic Byway website’s North Shore Scenic Drive section.

  • 221 West First Street
  • (218) 529-7529

In a league of its own, the 154-mile North Shore Scenic Drive is Minnesota’s only designated “All-American Road." The route parallels the inland coast of the world’s largest freshwater lake, Lake Superior, bisecting ancient rock formations and thousands of acres of forests rising…

Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway

The Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway (Trail) 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.

  • County Rd. 12

Beginning in the harbor town of Grand Marais on Lake Superior, the Gunflint Trail is a two-lane paved road heading 57 miles inland through the rolling hills of the Superior National Forest. There are no towns along the route, but side roads lead to resorts, campgrounds, canoe…

Discover More Scenic Drives

Moose Viewing Tour

Moose are Minnesota’s largest animal, weighing 800-900 pounds, or about as much as four or five full-grown deer. The word “moose” is an Algonquin word meaning “twig-eater,” and indeed this mammal eats a massive…

Northern Lights Driving Route

With the help of local photographer, Bryan Hansel, we have created a comprehensive list of some of the best places to view the northern lights in Cook County, MN.    


The quintessential summertime activity is picnicking in a scenic location. Fortunately for you, the North Shore of Lake Superior and Gunflint Trail are chock full of incredible picnic spots!

Fall Color Routes

One of the most popular autumn activities on the North Shore of Lake Superior is to go on a fall color drive. Cook County has dozens of routes that will take you from the North Shore Scenic Drive to the end of the Gunflint…

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