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Featured Photo Courtesy of MN Department of Natural Resources/Deb Rose

Mississippi River Beauty Shines in All Seasons Along the Minnesota Great River Road

www.mnmississippiriver.com

The most northern reaches of the Mississippi River and All-American Great River Road offer unique and beautiful vistas that evolve with the seasons. From the world-famous Lake Itasca headwaters to Northwoods lakes and the unique twists and turns of the serpentine river – the ever-changing landscapes are sure to inspire you!

Enjoy Majestic Views and River Town History along Minnesota’s Great River Road!

Photo Courtesy of MN Department of Transportation

The source of America’s greatest river, the Mississippi River, Lake Itasca is known both nationally and internationally. Located at the Mississippi’s headwaters, visitors can carefully walk across the rock dam marking where the Mississippi River flows out of Lake Itasca and begins its 2,552-mile trek to the Gulf of Mexico. Lake Itasca can be found within Itasca State Park, the second oldest state park in the United States, established in 1891. The large park stretches over 32,000 acres and has more than 100 lakes and 31 named trails of varying lengths. You can check out the Jacob Brower Visitor Center while you’re there, which is open year round and a National Great River Road Interpretive Center.

Enjoy Majestic Views and River Town History along Minnesota’s Great River Road!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Rapids

Majestic Lakes, Dams and Forest

The headwaters region of the Mississippi River includes thousands of scenic lakes that can be explored. The largest headwaters lakes are part of a reservoir system that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each of the dam and reservoir sites has campgrounds and day-use areas for visitors. Many visitors like to camp and go boating, swimming, picnicking, fishing and more. The Chippewa National Forest also offers a wide range of recreational facilities that can be used all year round. You can go ice fishing, snowmobiling, skiing and snowshoeing, camping, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and picnicking. Another unique opportunity is to learn about the Ojibwe culture of the Leech Lake Reservation. Visitors can experience the Ojibwe culture at Lake Winnibigoshish and other headwaters areas by attending Pow Wows and trying some of the area’s wild rice harvested by the Ojibwe people.

Enjoy Majestic Views and River Town History along Minnesota’s Great River Road!

Photo Courtesy of MN Department of Transportation

Peaceful and Scenic Serpentine River

After leaving Lake Itasca, the evolving Mississippi River follows a serpentine course for around 337 river miles to Brainerd. On this path, the river courses through or connects to Buena Vista State Forest, Bowstring State Forest, Schoolcraft State Park, North Country Trail (National Park Service), Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway and Lady Slipper Scenic Byway. Together, with small towns, resorts and campgrounds as hosts, these places provide a rich scenic experience. You can visit these places on your own and explore on a whim, or plan a trip by visiting the Minnesota Great River Road and the Minnesota DNR websites to learn more about the parks, campgrounds, recreation and more. The Minnesota DNR provides a handy guide to winter activity ideas – “Minnesota State Parks & Trails in Winter.”

Plan Your Trip

Plan your escape today at www.mnmississippiriver.com.

Enjoy Majestic Views and River Town History along Minnesota’s Great River Road!

Minnesota’s Great River Road​
mnmississippiriver.com