Border to Border Touring Route

Fall landscape along a road.
Fall landscape along a road.

Border-to-Border Touring Route

A new "adventure route" will 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 hires the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) to help plan the route. 


  • The DNR hosts a series of listening sessions to provide an opportunity for public input on an off-road touring route. Those who can’t attend the listening sessions can provide feedback via phone and email.
  • NOHVCC reviews public input, drives potential routes, and proposes a touring route.


  • During January through March, the DNR hosts another series of listening sessions to get feedback on the proposed route.
  • DNR Parks and Trails staff review and adjust draft alignment based on input from internal and external project partners through summer.
  • DNR submits newest draft alignment for internal DNR Area Team Review.


  • DNR conducted internal Regional Team Reviews.
  • DNR held listening session in Lake of the Woods County to gather input on newest draft alignment.
  • NOHVCC’s contract ends and DNR continues project scoping with road authorities.
  • DNR adjusts proposed alignment as a result of discussions with local road authorities.

2020 & Beyond

  • Lake County supports moving the eastern terminus of the route to Silver Bay.
  • Cook County is removed from the proposed route.
  • Final Preferred Draft Alignment is posted to DNR website and submitted for DNR Environmental Review needs determination.
  • Review and comment on Final Preferred Draft Alignment by US Forest Service and Tribal Nations.
  • Project implementation including hiring route administrator, partnership building, outreach, route planning, securing agreements, designating, signing and promoting the route.


The Border-to-Border Touring Route is an opportunity to provide a quality adventure touring and off-road vehicle riding opportunity while assisting smaller, rural communities in northern Minnesota with a positive economic influx. In order to accomplish both those goals, as well as to be sustainable, input from people and communities is important to planning where it will be located. MN4WDA members own highway licensed vehicles that are also ORV registered and want to spend time in Minnesota instead of traveling out of state to tour backroads.

Rick Langness, president, Minnesota 4-Wheel Drive Association (MN4WDA)

We are very pleased to be partnering with the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and the Minnesota Four-Wheel Drive Association on this project, which has potential to bring significant tourism benefits to northern Minnesota.

Erika Rivers, director, Minnesota State Parks and Trails

For more information contact DNR Project Manager Joe Unger.

Joe Unger
Division of Parks and Trails
[email protected]