Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway
Take the afternoon to drive and enjoy the 47-mile Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway that meanders from Grand Rapids, MN north to Effie, MN on Minnesota’s State Highway 38. The region is studded with lakes and thick with aspen, birch, pine and maple trees that pop with color in the fall season. The road winds around 36 lakes, and through state and national forest. The Chippewa National Forest is home to the largest population of bald eagles in the continental United States. Keep your eyes on the sky to see them soaring above the byway. White tailed deer also are known to graze in the fresh grasses along the side of the road.
Some of the best wildlife viewing takes place when you head off on a back road leading to one of the 1,000 lakes in the county. Or, get out of the car and go for a hike or a ski because there are several trails located just off the road.
Along The Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway, there are selected Discovery Sites where you can explore the hidden natural and cultural history of northern Minnesota. As you drive the Byway, look on the east side of the road for green reference point markers approximately one mile apart. These can assist you in navigating your way along the Byway. Also look for The Edge Byway signs and reference numbers along the roadway alerting you to the next Discovery Site just ahead. Take a few minutes or an entire day to navigate all the sites.
In the byway communities of Grand Rapids, Marcell, Bigfork and Effie you can find shopping and the essential travel services you’ll likely need including unique gift and antique shops, restaurants, fuel, food, lodging, public telephones, restrooms and emergency services.
The center for information concerning the Edge of the Wilderness is the Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center (former Marcell Ranger Station) located approximately 30 miles north of Grand Rapids. The Edge of the Wilderness Discovery Center located in Marcell, MN is a visitor & environmental education center that is home to a variety of interpretive displays & exhibits about the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway and surrounding area. It includes area information, gift shop, environmental education room, outdoor amphitheater, interpretive trail fishing/wildlife-watching pier, and offers FREE naturalist programs throughout the summer. Summer hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 7 days a week. The Center is located at 49554 State Highway 38, Marcell, MN 56657. For more information call 218-832-3161 or visit edgeofthewildernessdiscoverycenter
As you make the meandering drive north, be aware of lower speed limits, (the average miles per hour is 40) other traffic and weather conditions which can create slippery roads and black ice. The roadway is the main thoroughfare for residents who live in the northern region of the state, tourists and logging trucks. For more information on the Edge of the Willderness Scenic Byway call 218-832-3161.
The Edge of the Wilderness Lodging Association has the ideal lodging options for your Scenic Byway visit. Check out our family oriented Minnesota resorts, cabins, and hotels by clicking here: Minnesota Lodging