Border to Border Touring Route

Fall landscape along a road.

A new "adventure route" to connect rugged backroads across northern Minnesota.

Since 1992, Minnesota has had a system of scenic byways made up of roads that take drivers to some of the state's most significant natural, cultural and historical attractions, encouraging tourism and economic development in the communities along the way. Soon there will be a similar opportunity for people to explore more than 800 miles of northern Minnesota on (mostly) unpaved roads.

The new Border-to-Border Touring Route will cross the entire state from the North Dakota border to the shores of Lake Superior.

  • The route will consist entirely of roads currently open for public use, including state and national forest roads and township, county, and state roads. Many of these roads feature dirt, gravel, or other rugged surfaces.
  • Maps, signs, or other roadside markers will indicate the route.
  • Only highway-licensed vehicles currently allowed on these roads can travel the entire Border to Border Touring Touring Route.
    • Vehicles allowed to drive on the Border-to-Border Route include those described on pages 18-21 of the Minnesota drivers' manual.
    • Vehicles not allowed to drive on the Border-to-Border Route are those prohibited by federal or state law and/or local ordinance.
  • The Off-Road Vehicle account in Minnesota's Natural Resources Fund will support planning, mapping, visitor information and signing for this project. It will also help support local road maintenance on the touring route. Revenues for this fund come from fees paid by off-road vehicle owners.

Proposed touring route*

*This route is not yet final. The State of Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources make no representations or warranties, expressed or implied, concerning the use of maps or geographic data provided herewith, regardless of its format or the means of its transmission. There is no guarantee or representation to the user regarding the accuracy, currency, suitability, or reliability of this data for any purpose. The user accepts the data as is. The State of Minnesota assumes no responsibility for loss or damage incurred due to user reliance on this data. All maps and other material provided herein are protected by copyright.

Image of the Border to Border Touring Route, located in northern Minnesota.

Touring route draft maps

Draft alignment maps


Map size

Draft alignment map overview

Map segments 1-7 located in the northern part of Minnesota.

36" X 48"

Map 1

Kittson, Marshall counties

36" X 48"

Map 2

Marshall, Pennington, Beltrami counties

36" X 48"

Map 3

Beltrami, Lake of the Woods counties

36" X 48"

Map 4

Beltrami, Itasca counties

36" X 48"

Map 5

Itasca, St. Louis counties

36" X 48"

Map 6

St. Louis, Lake counties

36" X 48"

Map 7

Lake county

36" X 48"

Project history and timeline


  • 89th Legislature, 2015, 1st Special Session, Chapter 4, Article 3 Environment and Natural Resources Appropriations, Section 3 Natural Resources, subdivision 5 Parks and Trails Management Off-Road Vehicle appropriation requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to work with Minnesota 4-Wheel Drive Association (MN4WDA) to designate an off-road vehicle (ORV) touring route.

  • The DNR hired the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) to help plan the route.


  • The DNR hosted a series of listening sessions to provide an opportunity for public input on an off-road touring route. Those who couldn't attend the listening sessions provided feedback via phone and email.

  • NOHVCC reviewed public input, drove potential routes, and proposed a touring route.


  • Between January and March, the DNR hosted another series of listening sessions to get feedback on the proposed route.

  • DNR Parks and Trails staff reviewed and adjusted draft alignment based on input from internal and external project partners through the summer.

  • DNR submitted the newest draft alignment for internal DNR area team review.


  • DNR conducted internal regional team reviews.

  • DNR held a listening session in Lake of the Woods County to gather input on the newest draft alignment.

  • NOHVCC's contract ended. DNR continued project scoping with road authorities.

  • DNR adjusted the proposed alignment as a result of discussions with local road authorities.


  • Lake County supported moving the eastern terminus of the route to Silver Bay.

  • Cook County was removed from the proposed route.

  • The final preferred draft alignment was posted to the DNR website and submitted for DNR environmental review needs determination.

  • U.S. Forest Service and Tribal Nations reviewed and commented on the final preferred draft alignment.

  • Project implementation began, including hiring a route administrator, partnership building, outreach, route planning, securing agreements, designating, signing and promoting the route.


  • DNR and consultant developed draft route management plan.

  • DNR worked with consultant to develop route sign design.


  • DNR Parks and Trails Division shared the draft route management plan with other DNR divisions: Forestry, Fish and Wildlife, Enforcement, Lands and Minerals, and Ecological Water Resources. Division comments were implemented into draft route management plan.

  • DNR hosted a listening session for northeastern counties' road authorities and Tribal Nations to get feedback on draft route management plan items.

  • Route management plan information packet was sent to the U.S. Forest Service.


  • DNR contacted road authorities in the northwest counties and Tribal Nations to get feedback on draft route management plan items.

  • U.S. Forest Service continued its assessment and review.

  • Comments received from all counties road authorities and Tribal Nations used to make additions to documents.

  • Fall: Draft route management plan was made public for a 30-day review. Public input was addressed and edits made to the route management plan.

  • DNR produces agreement documents with road authorities.

For more information contact DNR Project Manager Joe Unger.

Joe Unger
Division of Parks and Trails
[email protected]

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