Ten Must-Visit Destinations On U.S. Bicycle Route 41

By Brian Fanelli

Biking the Gitchi Gami Trail
Follow the North Star Route 315 miles from St. Paul to Grand Portage

The recently designated U.S. Bicycle Route 41 (USBR 41), or the North Star Route, links together a system of bicycle trails and scenic roadways to connect St. Paul, Duluth, and Grand Portage for an epic 315 miles of riding. While exploring this lengthy segment of Minnesota's natural wonders, be sure to stop at these ten must-visit destinations along the way:

CHS Field St. Paul Saints_squareCHS Field, St. Paul

The major leagues might get all the press coverage, but minor league baseball is where you’ll find the real fun. Need proof? Look no further than Mudonna, the beloved pig who serves as mascot for the St. Paul Saints at CHS Field in St. Paul's Lowertown neighborhood. The field also hosts live music, and even an Internet Cat Video Film Festival (if you’re lucky enough to get tickets, that is).

Grant House Eatery & Hotel, Rush City

Every rider owes it to themselves to visit this restored 19th century tavern. In addition to offering a unique lodging and dining experience, Grant House is said to have a long history of paranormal activity. But so long as you remember to never cross the streams, you should be fine.

Snake River Fur Post, Pine City

Keep the historic destinations rolling with a visit to the historic Snake River Fur Post. Reconstructed from the winter of 1804, here this living history site offers opportunities to meet a French voyageur, a British fur trade clerk, and visit an Ojibwe encampment.

Hinckley Fire Museum, Hinckley

The Hinckley Fire Museum offers a view into the wildfire of 1894, one of the largest wildfires in recorded history. The inferno reached far into the sky and changed Minnesota history forever. View artifacts that made it through the fire, learn stories of the survivors, and delve deeply into this lesser-known but incredibly impactful part of Minnesota history.

Duluth’s Mountain Bike Trails, Duluth

Mountain biking the Duluth Traverse
Mountain biking the Duluth Traverse / Photo by Hansi Johnson

With more than 100 miles of mountain bike trails within the city limits, it’s no wonder Duluth is known as Minnesota’s mountain bike capital. Hit up The Duluth Experience or Day Tripper of Duluth for a guided tour of the area trails, or rent a mountain bike from Continental Ski & Bike and head out for yourself. And after a long day of riding, you'll find plenty of ways to relax and rewind in Duluth.

New Scenic Cafe, Duluth

About fifteen miles outside of Duluth along Scenic Highway 61, you’ll pass an understated, old-school-Americana style cafe. The modest exterior doesn’t give much away, but for those in the know, the New Scenic Cafe is one of Minnesota’s best dining experiences – and you can’t beat the view.

Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay

For people biking USBR 41, Tettegouche State Park is a camper’s paradise. Located about 60 miles up Lake Superior's North Shore from Duluth, Tettegouche is the perfect place to set up camp after a long day of riding. If you’ve still got some energy, be sure to hit the hiking trails for unparalleled views of the Sawtooth Mountains, the High Falls of the Baptism River, and the spectacular overlooks at Shovel Point.

Lutsen Mountains, Lutsen

Lutsen Mountains group in gondola seeing the fall colors
The aerial gondola at Lutsen Mountains in the fall / Photo by Lisa Meyers McClintick

Traditionally Minnesota may be known for its 10,000 lakes and expansive prairie, but up along the North Shore, Lutsen Mountains has other ideas. Take the aerial gondola to the summit of Moose Mountain for a panoramic view of the North Shore, Enjoy a snack or a meal at the Summit Chalet with its expansive deck overlooking Lake Superior, and hop on the Alpine Slide for an exhilarating half mile of twists and turns back down to the base. How’s that for prairie land?

North House Folk School, Grand Marais

Up in the charming coastal town of Grand Marais, North House Folk School offers classes in traditional northern crafts and skills including: pine needle basketry, fermentation, wood carving, fly casting, sailing, song writing, storytelling and much more. Classes range from an afternoon to a three-day workshop, with seasonal programs running year-round. Or apply for the week-long work study program to take classes and stay in beautiful Grand Marais for free.

Grand Portage State Park and Monument, Grand Portage

Aerial view of Grand Portage National Monument
An aerial view of Grand Portage National Monument

Along the North Shore, the biggest attraction is the land itself. There are certainly many things to do along the way, but let’s be honest – you’re not headed to Grand Portage for the indie music scene. No, you’re headed there for the breathtaking cliffs and beaches, the rich Native American history, and the unparalleled riding. Experience it all when you reach Grand Portage State Park and National Monument at the northernmost tip of USBR 41. It’s worth it.

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