Motorcyclists will find plenty of great roads and interesting places to explore in Minnesota. This state boasts 58 state forests and is sometimes referred to as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The landscape in Minnesota is quite varied, ranging from prairies in this state’s southern section to the beautiful leafy forests of the Northwoods.
One of the best roads for spectacular views in all of Minnesota is the North Shore Scenic Drive, which takes motorcyclists on a beautiful trip along Lake Superior’s rugged and breathtaking coastline. This 154-mile journey travels through or near eight state parks: Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Tettegouche State Park, George H. Crosby Manitou State Park, Temperance River State Park, Cascade River State Park, Judge C.R. Magney State Park, and Grand Portage State Park.
Along this route, riders will find gorgeous waterfalls and streams, picturesque lighthouses and charming towns. It is probably a good thing that the North Shore Scenic Drive boasts mostly gentle curves, as the views are often very distracting and riders would have a hard time concentrating on a really twisty road. The North Shore Scenic Drive, which is also known as County Road 61 and Highway 61, technically begins in Duluth and ends in Grand Portage.
Motorcyclists who enjoy challenging roads and nature will want to take a side trip to Ely once they are done with the North Shore Scenic Drive. This can be done by turning northwest off of the North Shore Scenic Drive onto Highway 1 in Illgen City. Highway 1 will take you through the beautiful Superior National Forest, which is home to bears, wolves and moose – and lots of twisties. Riders do have to be very cautious on this road as there are a number of blind, tight turns and the aforementioned wild animals, plus lots of deer. If you don’t spot bears and wolves in the wild, you may want to head over to the North American Bear Center and/or the International Wolf Center in Ely for educational programs about and exhibits featuring these magnificent creatures.
Lovers of twisties will also want to head out to County 7 Boulevard in eastern Minnesota, near picturesque Red Wing. This road crosses through a valley and features lots of curves, including some with very tight corners. Riders need to be careful because the shoulders are gravel and so there’s always a possibility that some of these little rocks could be on the road surface. To reach these fun twisties, riders start in Red Wing on US Highway 61 going west. When they reach Highway 19, they will head south for about seven miles on this curvy road. Motorcyclists will next look for County 7 Boulevard, which they will take north for eight twisty miles until it once again meets up with US Highway 61. This is a roughly 21-mile ride.
Riders in this area who are more interested in a scenic route than a challenging one should take US Highway 61 from Red Wing to LaCrescent. This road runs alongside the mighty Mississippi, is very scenic, and travels through some very nice small towns. To make this route a loop, riders may want to cross the river into Wisconsin and take this state’s Great River Road, which is also known as Wisconsin 35, back north to their starting point.
Of course, Minnesota is not just about its roads. This state is also the site of a number of rallies, shows and events, including the Carp’s Cancer Crushers Rally in the Valley, which is a benefit ride for the American Cancer Society. This is a 135-mile ride that is held in Vadnais Heights in June.
Disclaimer: All information is provided as a service to motorcycle riders, and the opinions expressed here are subjective. Although we have tried to research this information thoroughly, it is possible that changing circumstances can cause this information to become inaccurate. In addition, the conditions and roads described can change without notice for a number of reasons, including closings, weather conditions and maintenance. Motorcycle events such as rallies and rides may also be cancelled or dates changed without notice, as well. This site is not responsible for these types of circumstances, which are beyond our control, and riders relying on this information will be doing so at their own risk. This site is not liable for any actions a rider takes based on the information provided here. Please consult other sources before heading out on these roads and do not use the directions given here as a map, as again, circumstances may have affected their accuracy.