The Great Northern Route

One of the greatest loop trips in the country, Skyline Parkway is a 25-mile (with side trips, over 30 miles) bucolic wind along the bluffs above Duluth. Accessed from West Duluth off I-35, the parkway takes in numerous historical sites, but it’s mostly just jaw-dropping scenery, especially Hawk Ridge, which offers perfect wind conditions for viewing up to 30,000 hawks, eagles, and falcons daily in fall; also along the ridge is a fantastic network of trails, boarding stations, and observation posts. The parkway, which was started in 1889 and completed in 1929, connects at its north end with famed Hwy-61, which, if you’ve got the time to spend, is an even more beautiful jaunt along Lake Superior’s granite cliffs to Grand Portage and Canada, 150 miles to the northeast. Along the way are some of the region’s best places to eat: numerous smokehouses touting their smoked fish, plucked from the frigid waters of the great lake.

On Hwy-33, on the edge of the Fond Du Lac Indian Reservation, 11 miles south of US-2 and 15 miles west of Duluth, the town of Cloquet boasts the only gas station ever designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Cloquet also has the large Fond-du-Luth Native American-owned casino.