Top Ten Scenic Drives in the United States

Central: Into the Woods: North Shore Drive, Minnesota

The North Shore Drive runs along the wild Northwoods, flanked by Lake Superior and the aptly named, glacier-carved Sawtooth Mountains. The rocky North Shore, the product of volcanic flow and glacial ice, is the Minnesota side of the world's largest freshwater lake.

The 100-foot cascade of Gooseberry River into Lake Superior is the highlight of Gooseberry Falls State Park, one of eight along the drive. The route also runs through Superior National Forest —the only place in the continental United States where the boreal landscape still flourishes. From the resort town/artist colony of Grand Marais, hikers, dogsledders, and cross-country skiers can hit the Gunflint Trail, a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Grand Portage, the last town before the Canadian border and the hub of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century fur trade, was so named for the 8.5 mile trek voyageurs and Indians had to make between Lake Superior and Fort Charlotte. A few miles further, Mount Josephine offers a 1,348-foot view of Lake Superior, the peninsula and nearby islands, as well as beautiful Teal Lake.

Just the Facts

Route: Duluth to Grand Portage along Lake Superior

Length: 150 miles (three hours)

Season: Spring through fall

Features and activities: Birding and blueberry picking at Palisade Head, hiking along Temperance River and the Superior Hiking Trail, climbing Carlton Peak, and wildlife viewing in Superior National Forest (and by the"Moose Area" sign at the second Route 14 junction).

More Minnesota Scenic Drives

More on Hiking Grand Portage National Monument

More on Autumn on the North Shore


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