Northwoods Scenic Byway to Scenic State Park + ADD NEW ROUTE
18 in Minnesota Minnesota40 Miles
By Lance Heckle
on June 1, 2001
- Trip Toolbox
The directions to and through this route are very simple.Â Start in Grand Rapids Minnesota and head north on state route 38 all the way up to Big Fork.
This route has been designated as one of the 100 US National Forest Scenic byways by the US Government. This is one of the best motorcycle routes in Minnesota if you love outdoor activities and incredible scenery. One of the best things about this route is you will travel through a wide variety of scenery and there are many side roads begging for you to explore and find your own motorcycle routes. Along this route you will start out traveling through thick hardwood forests bustling with oak, aspen and birch. The scenery along this section during the fall will simply amaze you. As you travel north you will slowly see more pines come into view. There are even some 200-year-old white pines that tower above the forest and provide ideal nesting for bald eagles. Along the route you will pass by lake after lake, each one teaming with fish and wildlife. The animals you might see include whitetail deer, black bears, geese, duck, bald eagles, beaver, osprey and if you're lucky you may see one of the very few trumpeter swans in the area. The bottom line is you will love the scenery along this route ï¿½ in the fall you will be even more entranced.
This area of Minnesota was blessed with plenty of rolling hills that are ideal for motorcycle traveling. The traffic is minimal and the only annoyance seams to be the large number of bugs that can become annoying especially towards the evening.
This route is dominated by outdoor activities ï¿½ if that's what you like then you will probably think it deserved a 5 star rating. It specializes in boating, fishing, hiking, camping and other nature lovers' activities. I gave it 2-stars just because it isn't balanced as well as some other routes are that offer their share of craft shops, restaurants, and museums. Some of the highlights of this route are listed below (described in the order of seen when traveling north from Grand Rapids).
If you plan on camping along this route then one of your best bets will be the North Star national forest campground. It overlooks North Star Lake and has 42 tent/RV sites, water hookups, restrooms, picnic tables and fire pits.
In the town of Marcell you'll have access to some places to eat, buy gas and supplies and stay at a motel if you prefer. When you get to Marcell go to the Marcell Ranger District (218-832-3161) office and pickup information on two of the other great scenic drives in the area: Chippewa Adventure (about 18 miles) and 'The Fall Color Tour' (36 miles).
East of Marcell off of Rte. 45 you can stay at the Clubhouse campground situated next to Clubhouse Lake. It has about 50 sites and a beach area for swimming.
If you go west on Minnesota 2423 to Jingo Lake you can take a 5-mile hiking trail that takes you through the local woods.
Scenic State Park lives up to its name. There are over a hundred modern campsites (some with electrical hook ups). The park offers all water sports and even rents boats (218-743-3362).
Chippewa National Forest ï¿½ 218-335-8600.
- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .
Nickname (optional) : Lance Heckle