WATCH: Our Fall Drives are Golden
Minnesota fall drives
In northeastern Minnesota, four special fall color routes combine nature’s beauty with a touch of unique state history.
More than 320,000 acres of the Superior National Forest meld together with dozens of lakes and rivers, making the Iron Range a great place to enjoy scenic drives.
The Superior National Forest Scenic Byway: Enjoy two of Minnesota’s most compelling landscapes, from the shores of Lake Superior to the rugged woods of the Iron Range. This 165-mile loop begins in Eveleth, just off of Hwy 53, and heads east, reaching the Big Lake in Silver Bay and Beaver Bay. Follow the coastline south to Two Harbors, then go north on Hwy 2 and reconnect with the Byway.
Be sure to stop at Skibo Vista near Hoyt Lakes in the east, With backdrops like the Laurentian Divide, fall-color-seekers enjoy lovely autumn landscapes and scenery.
For lodging, choose from Northern Comfort B&B in Embarrass, the resort properties or Green Gate Guest Houses at Giants Ridge Recreation Area in Biwabik, Trailsedge Lodging in Gilbert or the Eveleth Super 8. the Green Gate Guest Houses
The Laurentian Divide Tour: Experience the Iron Range communities of Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik and Aurora, then heads north to Tower and back again in a 70-mile loop. Be sure to stop at Mineveiw in the Sky in Virginia for a great view of active and reclaimed minelands (open daily through September), and visit the US Hockey Hall of Fame Museum in Eveleth (open Friday-Sunday). Hike the trails or picnic at the Laurentian Divide and Lookout, or Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort.
Lodging can be found at the Coates Plaza Hotel in historic downtown Virginia, Pine View Lodge near the Virginia Golf Course, or LakeShor Motor Inn on the paved Mesabi Trail.
The Mines and Pines Tour: Wind your way from Hibbing to Chisholm, Buhl, Mountain Iron and Virginia, north to Cook, east to McCarthy Beach State Park and back town to Hibbing on a 102-mile loop. The pine forests of the state park area are soothing and beautiful. Watch for wildlife! Along this route, visit Hull Rust Mineview in Hibbing, the museum of the Iron Range, Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm, and the Big Aspen Recreation Area north of Virginia. Take in a little history with your nature!
Mitchell-Tappan House B&B in Hibbing makes a great place to stay, as do Hibbing Park Hotel (with excellent attached restaurant), the Chisholm Inn & Suites (right near Minnesota Discovery Center), Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Mountain Iron, or AmericInn Lodge & Suites of Virginia.
The Northern Lights Tour: head east from Eveleth to Hoyt Lakes where you’ll hop on the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway for a bit before heading north to Ely and back to the Iron Range. Big Lake Recreation Area in Hoyt Lakes is a great place to hike, while the Soudan Underground Mine in Tower offers a truly unique tour deep under the earth’s surface. Mileage for this route is approximately 155.
For the best photo opps, travel west in the morning and east in the evening. Fall colors peak here between mid-September and mid-October. For Iron Range Fall Color Maps, lodging information, motorcycle routes, bicycle trail maps, fall color updates and Iron Range attractions information, visit www.ironrange.org. For recreational gear rentals, Giants Ridge golf, and resort hiking trail information, visit www.giantsridge.com.