Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway

The Gunflint Trail is a remote wilderness road that winds through a thick, undeveloped boreal forest of pine, aspen, birch and rare maple stands. Created by the force of ancient glaciers, the Gunflint's wilderness lakes are peaceful, pristine, and offer ample opportunities for wildlife viewing. Look for moose, deer, loons and many other species of flora and fauna. The gunflint borders the famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, known for excellent fishing and unforgettable scenery. Hiking trails that spur from the main road lead to serene northwoods lakes and popular destinations like Eagle Mountain, the highest point in the state. Depart on your journey along the Gunflint from the picturesque harbor town of Grand Marais, a quaint and friendly community built on the beautiful shore of Lake Superior.

Distance: 55 miles
Travel Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

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Things to do

Tourism

Visit Cook County

Cook County is the essence of what a vacation is meant to be: an escape from the ordinary. A much needed break from the everyday and the other 50 weeks in the year. This is the only place where you can enjoy Lake Superior, visit Minnesota's tallest mountain peaks and highest waterfall, and enjoy its longest and most scenic biking trails.


Natural
Birding / Wildlife / Wildflowers

Ducks

Cross River Bridge on North Gunflint Lake Road, a variety of duck species seem to love this area!


Moose Viewing Trail

Easy-to-hike trail near Swamper Lake with interpretive displays leads to a platform overlooking a pond where moose are frequently seen. Bring a camera!


Mushrooming

Look for tasty morels in the burned area near the Round Lake Road.


Wildflowers

Pink Moccasin Flowers can be seen in proliferation in clearings near the USFS Seagull Station.


Cranberry Picking

Look for cranberries in late August and September in the bog 1 mile in on the Lima Mountain Road.


Blueberry Picking

Look for blueberries in late July and August in logging clearing about 2 miles past the Magnetic Rock Trail.


National Forest

Superior National Forest

Established in a 1909 decree by Teddy Roosevelt, this forest spans 150 miles along the US-Canadian border-a total of 3 million acres and offers a variety of activities from hiking to camping to wildlife watching. It is bounded on two sides by water: Lake Superior running along its southeastern side; and, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) along the northern edge.


USDA Forest Service

Visit the "Recreation" section of the Superior National Forest web site for a complete list of Forest Service campsites, from rustic to RV.


Trails
Hiking

Gunflint Lake Trails

Moderate to difficult, various loops offer 26 miles of trails. High Cliffs and South Rim Trail have spectacular views of Gunflint Lake and Canadian shore.


South Lake Trail

Extending from Poplar to South Lake passes through tall red and white pines. Portions of the trail are in the BWCAW, and hiking it requires a self-issuing day permit.


Hiking Trails

Trails abound in Minnesota, with warm welcoming "trail towns" offering history hand in hand with dining, lodging and entertainment.


Adventure

Sleigh Rides

We all appreciate the north woods in winter, but you haven’t experienced the snowy season on the Gunflint Trail until you’ve traveled in a lantern-lit, horse-drawn sleigh.


Dogsledding

Most state trails are multi-use, including mushing. Visit the Department of Natural Resources to find specific trails and their uses.


Snowmobile

Snowmobiling

Trails abound in Minnesota, with warm welcoming "trail towns" offering history hand in hand with dining, lodging, and entertainment.


ATV

ATV Trails

Trails for all-terrain and off-road vehicles can be found throught the area.


Ski

Central Gunflint Trails

Few trail systems - anywhere - can boast such a splendid network of groomed and edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and wind through a varied landscape of rolling hills covered with spruce and aspen, spruce bogs, spectacular cliffs, stands of virgin pine and frozen lakes.


Recreational

Adventure

Try something different! From rock-climbing to dogsledding, scuba diving to skijoring, there's plenty of "off-beat" adventures awaiting.


Fishing

The fishing stories you’ve heard about the Gunflint Trail and BWCAW are true. Huge lake trout. Spectacular rainbows. Plus walleye, smallmouth bass and feisty northern pike.


Camping/RV

Campgrounds / RV Parks / State Parks

Visit Community Pages for specific information on privately owned and operated campsites. There are many to choose from!


Canoeing/Kayaking

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

This area, composed of 2,000 lakes, is accessible principally by canoe but several developed campgrounds are located near enough to the Wilderness to allow canoe day trips. (BWCAW is a totally non-motor boating area.)


Canoe Trips

BWCAW & Quetico Entry Points


Ski Areas

Upper Gunflint Trails

The Gunflint Trail features 200km of groomed tracked trails, some groomed for skate skiing. There is also good backcountry skiing into the BWCAW.


Hunting

Hunting

The Department of Natural resources manages thousands of acres of public hunting land for the state and the USDA Forest Service.


Scenic

Greenwood Road

While the snow-free months bring good mountain biking on any XC ski trail, logging road, or snowmobile trail, try the Greenwood Road if you're looking for shed moose antler.


Waterfalls

Hike, boat or canoe and waterfalls can be found along various waterways of the Gunflint Trail.


Lima Mountain Tour-Driving

From hwy 61 go north on Gunflint Trail (county12) for 20 mi. to Forest Rd. 152, west on FR152 for about 2mi. to FR315, south on FR315 to South Brule RD. (FR325). East on S. Brule Rd. back to Gunflint Trail (county12) (best in late fall.)


Maple Hill Tour-driving

Hwy 61 in Grand Marais, go north on Gunflint Trail (county 12) 4 mi. to gravel road just past CR 8, left onto gravel. You will see Maple Hill church surrounded by Maples (best in early fall).


Pincushion Mountain / Devil Track Loop - Fall driving tour

From hwy 61 go north on Gunflint Trail (county 12) for 2 mi. to CR 53, go east to parking; Gunflint Trail Climbs 1000 ft. in 1st few mi. to fabulous maple ridgeline. Go through maples to overlooks of Big Lake, maple forests and falls of Devil Track River.


Scenic

Stunning northwoods scenery is everywhere along the 63-mile Gunflint Trail. Explore miles of beautiful forests via US Forest Service roads, wetlands and shorelines.


The Gunflint Trail - driving

All 63 miles are full of beautiful vista, lakes, rivers and forests. The Laurentian Divide and Look Lake overlooks are just two of the many places to pull over and enjoy the scenery.


Two Harbors Chamber