Best Scenic Drives in Minnesota

This list represents the most popular scenic drives in Minnesota. Use this list to plan your next Minnesota scenic drives trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. St. Croix River Valley: Hastings - Stillwater - Taylors Falls


A National Scenic Riverway, the lower St. Croix River winds along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, hemmed in by wooded bluffs and rocky escarpments. This drive rambles along the alternately wild and pa…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Stillwater, MN - Scenic Drives - 60 miles Best Trail in mn - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Lake Minnetonka Loop


Lake Minnetonka, the largest lake in the Twin Cities, is beloved of wealthy residents, boaters, and nature lovers alike. A 40-mile circle tour of Minnetonka’s beauty spots and historic towns, with sid…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Wayzata, MN - Scenic Drives - 40 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. North Shore: US Highway 61 from Duluth to the Canadian Border


Hugging the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior for 150 miles, U.S. Highway 61 serves up some of the most spectacular scenery in the country—richly wooded hills, rock-bound bays and inlets, and the limi…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Two Harbors, MN - Scenic Drives - 150 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway


A 39-mile paved highway through extensive forests of red pine; past northern lakes, broad grassy meadows and wetlands, and several historic Indian sites. The Avenue of Pines scenic byway travels throu…
From the guidebook "National Forest Scenic Byways East & South"
Northome, MN - Scenic Drives - 39 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#5. Up at the Lake: Brainerd - Nisswa - Cross Lake - Crosby


An 85-mile circle route from Brainerd into the popular, rolling lake country of central Minnesota. The drive, mostly on quiet county roads, includes a loop around prestigious Gull Lake, stops in resor…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Crosby, MN - Scenic Drives - 85 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#6. The Echo Trail: Ely to Orr via St. Louis County Road 116


A 72-mile roller coaster ride on asphalt and gravel through the untrammeled wilderness of the Superior National Forest and Kabetogama State Forest. Numerous trailheads and canoe portages along the Ech…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Crane Lake, MN - Scenic Drives - 72 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. North Shore Drive


A 58-mile route between the shores of Lake Superior and the rocky inland hills. Lake Superior provides an ever-changing variety of moods to travelers on the North Shore Drive. Pounding storms alternat…
From the guidebook "National Forest Scenic Byways East & South"
Schroeder, MN - Scenic Drives - 58 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#8. The Sawbill Trail: Tofte to Grand Marais through the Laurentian Highlands


General description: Rising rapidly from the Lake Superior shore into the Laurentian Highlands, this 56-mile circuit arcs through a rugged landscape of forests, lakes, wetlands, and streams, passing t…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Tofte, MN - Scenic Drives - 56 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#9. Root River Valley: La Crescent to Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park on MN16


This 70-mile excursion down a river gorge in the bluff country of southeast Minnesota winds past cornfields and dairy pastures and through picturesque, historic towns hewn from native limestone. Few d…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Rushford, MN - Scenic Drives - 70 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#10. Amish Country: St Charles - Harmony - La Crescent


A 77-mile ramble through the wooded hills and intimate hollows of southeast Minnesota’s “bluff country.” Crossing the great rift valley of the Root River at Lanesboro, the drive passes through Amish f…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Spring Grove, MN - Scenic Drives - 77 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#11. The Grand Round: Minneapolis to St. Paul via Chain of Lakes & Minnehaha Parkway


A 20-mile promenade of parklands and historic neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The route traces the shores of four lakes and the wooded banks of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River bef…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Minneapolis, MN - Scenic Drives - 20 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#12. Great River Road: Red Wing to La Crescent via US Highway 61


Squeezed between the Mississippi River and towering, forested bluffs, the Great River Road passes through handsome nineteenth century river towns, sleepy villages, and natural areas rich in wildlife.…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Wabasha, MN - Scenic Drives - 107 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Minnesota River Run: Chaska to Mankato along the lower Minnesota River Valley


A 70-mile roller coaster ride shadowing the Minnesota River from Chaska to Mankato. Lightly traveled county roads repeatedly scale and descend the river’s heavily wooded bluffs, passing through fertil…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Le Sueur, MN - Scenic Drives - 70 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#14. Scenic Highway


A 28-mile paved route through country rich in wetlands, forests, farms, and lakes. Scenic Highway provides a pleasant route between agricultural lands and forests. The two-lane paved route has narrow…
From the guidebook "National Forest Scenic Byways East & South"
Blackduck, MN - Scenic Drives - 28 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#15. Headwaters Lake: Park Rapids - Itasca State Park - Bemidji - Walker


A 130-mile circuit between Park Rapids and Walker, traversing quintessential Paul Bunyan country—rolling expanses of aspen, birch, spruce, and pine dotted with myriad lakes, including gigantic Cass an…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Bemidji, MN - Scenic Drives - 130 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#16. The Sioux Trail: The Minnesota River from New Ulm to Lac Qui Parle


A 120-mile trek along the broad, lush valley of the Minnesota from New Ulm to Laq Qui Parle, a rest stop for hundreds of thousands of geese, mallard ducks, and other waterfowl in the spring and fall.…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Granite Falls, MN - Scenic Drives - 120 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. The Iron Trail: Hibbing - Virginia - Biwabik - Ely


Manmade lakes and hills that are slowly being reclaimed by nature give way to ancient, forested highlands on this 110-mile route through the Mesabi and Vermilion Iron Ranges. A detour off the Iron Tra…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Virginia, MN - Scenic Drives - 110 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#18. Up on the Border: Rainy River from Voyageurs National Park to Lake of the Woods


Water is omnipresent on this two-part drive along Minnesota’s wild, sparsely populated border with Canada. Choose either a quick trip to island-studded Voyageurs National Park, or a 100-mile route alo…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Baudette, MN - Scenic Drives - 100 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. Otter Tail Loop: Alexandria - Pelican Rapids - Fergus Falls


A 150-mile, zig-zagging tour of lake-studded farmland, woods, and prairie between Alexandria and Fergus Falls. The route, part of which follows a state scenic byway, scales the modest heights of the L…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Battle Lake, MN - Scenic Drives - 150 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Minnesota Highway 1: Ely to Crystal Bay


Bisecting the rugged, heavily forested Arrowhead region, Minnesota Highway 1 runs for 68 miles between the North Woods outpost of Ely and Crystal Bay on Lake Superior. Trails and public lake accesses…
From the guidebook "Scenic Driving Minnesota"
Isabella, MN - Scenic Drives - 68 miles
Published by Falcon Guides