Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway

State: Minnesota
Length: 57 miles / 91.7 km
Time to Allow: Allow at least two hours because you will have to return to Grand Marais on the same route.

The Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway borders Lake Superior stopping at the edge of the country where Canada and America meet. At 57 miles, this is not a long byway, but as it follows the lake, it offers epic views and tons of incredible scenery. You will need at least two hours to meander along the byway, but a few days or more if you want to see the sights and truly experience the lake life.

On the trail, you can experience the rich history of fur traders, Civilian Conservation Corp camps, and pioneers. This is the trail for you if you want to see a moose or catch sight of unique birds. As a matter of fact, the area is known as a Globally Important Birding Area by the American Birding Conservancy. Along the way, you will cross the Laurentian Divide, where the water flows to the Gulf of Mexico and the Hudson Bay.

Going up the Ridgeline, cross through woods, lakes, and towns with resorts. Start in Grand Marais, a quirky, artsy town on the water. It’s been named America’s Coolest Small Town by a few magazines because of its friendly and creative people. The town settles in the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior, and it’s the oldest art colony in Minnesota. Find unique treasures to take home and spend a couple of days dining by the lake or shopping in town.

When you are ready to head outsides, try out miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. See wildlife on a casual drive through the paved roads before heading to the lake for a day on the sand or take a break at the Grand Marais Harbor. Make sure to stop at Honeymoon bluff and Cut Face Creek or one of the state parks to see cascading waterfalls.

Stop at Mink Lake for swimming and fishing for rainbow trout on the peer. The nearby Kimball Lake Campground offers a great place to stay along the way. Heading south, hike to Magnetic rock, a 3.1-mile round-trip trail with blueberries and a gigantic 60-foot rock. Take your compass out and watch it go nuts when you get to the rock!

Continue down to the historic Chik-Wauk Lodge on Saganaga Lake. The area offers a museum and a nature center for local culture and history. Find out about native Americans, voyagers, miners, loggers, and so much more. While at the lake, make sure to stay and see the breathtaking beauty of the sunset. No matter the season you travel, you can find outdoor activities for the entire family surrounded by water and forests in the state of a thousand lakes. It’s also home to the Sawtooth Mountain Ridgeline, with boreal forests filled with conifers. End the trip in Duluth with a harbor cruise, train ride, or a freshwater aquarium. You can even take a plane ride over the lake for epic views ready to impress.

More Minnesota Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Minnesota by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Minnesota Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.