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Old 07-23-2011, 11:26 PM
 
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I'll be in the Minnesota and the upper great lakes the first week of October and am looking for good road trips. I know I can google a lot of information but I want to get some suggestions from Minnesota locals about where you go when you want to take a great drive off the beaten path in your state.
It can be lake, forest or farm country.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
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Your timing may be optimum for the fall colors along Hwy 61 and the North Shore Drive past Duluth. Mostly golds & yellows right along the shore but head away from the lake on any number of those roads and you will see many reds and oranges as well. Really too many to try and list but this guide could get you started in the right direction.

Fall Color Maps for the North Shore of Lake Superior, Minnesota

If you have even a passing interest in birds of prey, there is a raptor center that operates a banding program in the hills above Duluth each fall where literally thousands of different raptors congregate to catch the thermals and cut across the Lake at that point. Easy to find and lots of activity to watch and learn. For a $25 donation, they took my wife and I down to their catch station and then let my wife release a hawk back up on the ridge.

Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

A nice drive further South is on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi south of the Twin Cities. Much less crowded then the Minnesota side and actually offers better views and twistier roads . Good hiking opportunities everywhere. Take a detour into Wabasha, MN and visit the bald eagle center right in town.

Prescott, WI to Prairie du Chien, WI - Google Maps
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Old 07-24-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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From Two Harbors take county hwy. 2 until hwy 1 into Ely that is a scenic drive massive white pines with a nice place to stop and take a self guided tour along hwy 1, theres also an old logging camp site along the way next to river
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Old 07-24-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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52 south of Rochester to I-90 to LaCrosse-probably one of the top scenic routes in the state, especially in the fall.

Take 95 either north or south from Stillwater through all the little towns (Marine on the St. Croix and Afton especially).

371 north of the Brainerd/Baxter area through the Chippewa Forest.

Highway 19 west of Marshall to the South Dakota border-lovely rolling hill country.

Take Highway 61 up to the North Shore like other's have mentioned but south of Hastings/Red Wing as well.

Any of the back roads around Brainerd/Baxter around the lakes, etc. Drive around Lake Mille Lacs--fun anytime of the year.

Highway 23 south of Pipestone-again, lovely rolling hill country.

Drive through Itasca State Park and the Pine Rapids area.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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Hwy 169 between Minneapolis and Mankato is beautiful during the fall. The Minnesota River bluffs are alive with color in October. Hwy 68 between Mankato and Marshall is nice, too.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Anoka, MN
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IMO it's a lot of fun to drive around rural places in the middle of the night. I like to go around 2 am, and you see very little passing cars in rural places, it's so awesome, maybe even a little spooky. If gas wasn't so expensive... anyways heres a couple I know of off the top of my head, probably not the greatest, but still good.

59 from Detroit Lakes north to Thief River Falls is nice, and if you go further North beyond Thief River you can reach Lake Bronson State Park

169 and go west From Virginia over to Grand Rapids, it's only slightly over an hour, but I think it's charming and peaceful and relaxing. I really love the trees, one of the reasons why I like 169 around that area so much.

Last edited by Radical_Car; 07-24-2011 at 07:14 PM..
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Blaine MN
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If you don't mind a little bit of a long ride, take highway 1 from Ely to the north shore of Lake Superior. It is about the most remote and scenic paved road around and the fall colors should be excellent by the time you arrive. Route 1 winds its way through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the small towns of Isabella and Finland. Really beautiful, but be prepared to go up and down lots of hills and around a lot of curves.

Also, don't miss Split Rock Light House, Gooseberry Falls, and the Naniboujou Lodge near Grand Marais. The Naniboujou Lodge has quite a history and is a one of a kind experience.
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Old 07-26-2011, 11:22 PM
 
Location: Anoka, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navelinski View Post
If you don't mind a little bit of a long ride, take highway 1 from Ely to the north shore of Lake Superior. It is about the most remote and scenic paved road around and the fall colors should be excellent by the time you arrive. Route 1 winds its way through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the small towns of Isabella and Finland. Really beautiful, but be prepared to go up and down lots of hills and around a lot of curves
That sounds lovely and a lot of fun. I just looked at it on a map too, and I have quite a bit of free time atm, but the only problem stopping me is paying for gas
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:31 AM
 
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Hwy. 1 dosent go through the BW, but the Echo Trail is a nice trip as is the Gunflint Trail, Sawbill Trail, Caribou Trail all scenic drives and Arrowhead trail.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
52 south of Rochester to I-90 to LaCrosse-probably one of the top scenic routes in the state, especially in the fall.
These look like very good examples and I didn't know anything about SE Minnesota until I looked it up. I will definitely check that road and other back roads in that area.
I will definitely check out Lake Superior's north shore as well. Thanks.
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