Minnesota State Highway 61

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Trunk Highway 61 marker

Trunk Highway 61
Route information
Maintained by MnDOT
Length 148.843 mi[1] (239.540 km)
Existed 1991 – present
Lake Superior Circle Tour
North Shore Scenic Drive
Major junctions
South end I-35 at Duluth
  CR 2 at Two Harbors
MN 1 at Illgen City, near Silver Bay
CR 12 at Grand Marais
North end Highway 61 near Grand Portage
Counties Saint Louis, Lake, Cook
Highway system
  • Minnesota Trunk Highways
US 61MN 62

Minnesota State Highway 61 (MN 61) is a highway in northeast Minnesota, which runs from a junction with Interstate 35 (I-35) in Duluth at 26th Avenue East, and continues northeast to its northern terminus at the Canadian border near Grand Portage. The roadway becomes Ontario Highway 61 upon entering Canada at the Pigeon River Bridge, and terminates at the Trans-Canada Highway in Thunder Bay. MN 61 is 149 miles (240 km) in length.

The route is a scenic highway, following the North Shore of Lake Superior, and is part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour designation that runs through Minnesota, Ontario, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

This roadway was designated U.S. Highway 61 until 1991. This highway, then US 61, is the road that musician Bob Dylan referred to in the album and song Highway 61 Revisited.

The North Shore Scenic Drive is an All-American Road scenic byway that follows Saint Louis County Road 61 / Lake County Road 61 / MN 61, formerly US 61, from the city of Duluth, Minnesota, to the Canadian border near Grand Portage. The route stays close to the rocky North Shore, offering spectacular vistas of the lake to the southeast as it skirts along the foothills of the Sawtooth Range to the northwest.

Route description[edit]

Highway 61 entering Grand Marais from the south

MN 61 serves as a northeast–southwest route in northeast Minnesota between Duluth, Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Grand Marais, and the Canadian border.

21 miles (34 km) of MN 61 from Duluth to Two Harbors is a four-lane expressway officially designated the Arthur Rohweder Memorial Highway. There are no markers on the highway showing this designation, but there is a plaque at a wayside.

The roadway is located close to and in many places next to Lake Superior. Sights include forests, wildlife, cliffs, state parks, and a national monument.

Highway 61 passes through the Superior National Forest and the Grand Portage State Forest in Cook County.

The following state parks are located on Highway 61:

The Grand Portage National Monument is located adjacent to the community of Grand Portage on Highway 61.[9]

The southern terminus for MN 61 is its junction with I-35 in Duluth in northeast Minnesota. The national northern terminus for I-35 is also located at this same junction with 26th Avenue East.

The northern terminus for MN 61 is at the Canadian border, near Grand Portage, where it becomes Ontario Highway 61 upon entering Canada at the Pigeon River Bridge. The roadway continues to Thunder Bay.


U.S. Highway 61
Location Wyoming, MNCanadian border
Existed 1926–1991

Minnesota Highway 61 was designated and signed in 1991. The roadway was originally part of US 61 from 1926 to 1991.

After construction of I-35 in the 1960s, US 61 was co-signed with I-35 until 1991. During that year, US 61 was decommissioned from the Canadian border south to its present-day junction with I-35 at the city of Wyoming near Forest Lake. The section of US 61 north of Duluth was redesignated MN 61 that same year.

MN 61 is one of three state marked highways to carry the same number as an existing U.S. Highway within the state, the others are MN 65 and MN 169.

From 1991 to 1997, MN 61 continued southwest on London Road beyond I-35 to 14th Avenue East, where southbound traffic then turned northwest to end at MN 23 which followed a one-way pair of 2nd Street East (eastbound) and 3rd Street East (westbound); northbound MN 61 began following 12th Avenue East south to London Road. Both routes were turned back to end at their respective I-35 junctions in Duluth in 1997.

Early history[edit]

MN 61, between Duluth and the Canadian border, was commissioned as part of US 61 in 1926, ready for use by 1929, and paved by 1940.

The section of MN 61 from Hovland to the Pigeon River formerly ran inland, bypassing the community of Grand Portage. The new highway alignment and border crossing were constructed in the early 1960s.

The MN 61 expressway between Duluth and Two Harbors was constructed inland in the 1960s. The state then turned over maintenance of the original US 61 between Duluth and Two Harbors to Saint Louis and Lake counties. The two counties then redesignated this section as CR 61 or Scenic 61.

Major intersections[edit]

St. LouisDuluth1.4712.367 I-35 south / LSCT – St. Paul, MinneapolisI-35 exit 259; southern end of LSCT concurrency.
5.4258.731North Shore Drive (Scenic 61, to CR 61)
Duluth Township14.89023.963 CR 42 (Homestead Road)
LakeTwo Harbors24.66839.699 CR 61
26.18942.147 CR 2 (4th Street)
Silver Creek Township28.52645.908 CR 3
Beaver Bay51.16282.337 CR 4 (Lax Lake Road)
Silver Bay54.31587.412 CR 5 (Penn Boulevard / Outer Drive)
Illgen City59.30895.447 MN 1 west – Ely
Little Marais65.271105.043 CR 6
CookTofte82.682133.064 CR 2 (Sawbill Trail)
Lutsen92.528148.909 CR 4
West Cook101.704163.677 CR 7
Grand Marais110.256177.440 CR 12 (Gunflint Trail)
West Cook110.725178.195 CR 7 (5th Street)
Hovland128.867207.391 CR 16 (Arrowhead Trail)
East Cook134.643216.687 CR 17
Grand Portage143.353230.704 CR 17 (Mile Creek Road)
150.870242.802 Highway 61 north / LSCT – Thunder Bay
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing: Construction District 1" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. August 20, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 4, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  3. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  4. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  5. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  6. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  7. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  8. ^ "Park Info". state.mn.us. 
  9. ^ "Grand Portage". nps.gov. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata