Dark Sky Season in Cook County

Catching a glimpse of the northern lights is at the top of many "bucket lists" but the number one question we hear is "where are the best places to view the northern lights in Minnesota?" 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.  

Please note: These maps are intended for reference only. Please pick up an official road map for offline navigation. Locations identified can be done individually or as a driving route. Not all roadways accessible year-round or maintained regularly. Proceed with caution during winter months and observe all road signs or closures. Visit Cook County is not responsible for lost or stranded drivers.  Safety is at the discretion of the driver

Northern Lights Map


Google Map Routes for Viewing the Northern Lights in Cook County MN

To help you navigate to these locations, we've created some suggested routes using google maps for viewing the northern lights in Cook County, MN. Please be advised, in many of these locations, there will not be cell phone service. Downloading the maps and directions prior to embarking on your journey is critical. 

Important: when traveling in the winter - please be advised that not all of these roads are plowed. Refer to the Northern Lights PDF to identify which routes are on plowed roads. Some of these roads are snowmobile trails in the winter, which can look plowed at first but you'll quickly learn that they are not. When it doubt, turn around. Do not risk being stuck on a trail overnight in the winter. 


 Recommended Northern Lights Viewing Locations in the Lutsen, Tofte & Schroeder area

Recommended Northern Lights Viewing Locations on the 
Gunflint Trail

Recommended Northern Lights Viewing Locations in the
Grand Marais area

Recommended Northern Lights Viewing Locations in the
Grand Portage area 

For more tips and tricks on capturing the Northern Lights


Don't miss the Dark Sky Festival

 Celebrate all things celestial with us in Cook County at our annual Dark Sky Festival, which takes place on the second weekend in December. This celebration of Cook County's world-class dark sky includes a lineup of presentations and activities. Make your plans to join us for this can't-miss event.


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Storm Season

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Waterfall Season

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