Scenic Vistas and Natural Wonders along the Byway

Like nature's table of contents, the lakes and woods of the Scenic Byway are chapters filled with varied and vibrant viewsheds just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. With the wink and wit of Paul Bunyan lore slipped in for fun, sites and vistas turn easily into sparkling memories.

One such vista is the view of Trout Lake, traveling south on CSAH 66. So breathtaking is this view that it inspired local artist, Tom Ottoson, to capture it in an oil painting that does the scene proud, indeed. The original work was donated to Crow Wing County's Highway Department where the framed piece hangs today.

Gardens inspire our imaginations and bring us close to nature with their sweetly smelling flowers and leafy green foliage. The Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens is an environmental, educational and natural destination for all ages. Located at the Crosslake Recreation Area, this new amenity enhances about one acre between the entrance to the Corps campground, the Administration building and CSAH66. The Gardens are free to the public and will draw in visitors with colorful, climbable, walk-thru gardens including photo-op stops. Plans for statuary to be installed July 4th of 2016. Come often to see the evolution as the 'garden grows'.

The Lakes, of course, are always scene divas. Two lake chains, the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and the Ossawinnamakee Chain, as well as Pelican Lake and many smaller lakes decorate the Scenic Byway area and continue to draw adoring fans. Public accesses are well-marked. For spring, summer and fall travelers wishing to go out on the lakes for sight-seeing, boats or pontoons can be rented at marinas and most resorts. For winter travelers, depending on ice conditions, snowmobiling, cross country skiing or just walking on the ice are great ways to take in the view.

Wildlife watching is always available to travelers; day and night, and every season. With a simple pair of binoculars and a favorite camera, travelers are ready for whatever pops out, flies by, swims past, runs through, stares down or hops along.

Long ago glaciers have left their curious mark as well in the many boulder fields, easily viewable as one travels west along CSAH 1.

Boulders are one thing...erratics are another. Although similar in appearance, an erratic is a boulder transported and deposited by a glacier, but having rock characteristics different from the bedrock upon which it is sitting. Erratics are useful indicators of patterns of former ice flow. Such a glacial erratic lies shrouded in foliage on the south side of CSAH 16 a little less than a mile west of the Whitefish Golf Course. Old timers just know this scientific wonder as the 'Smoking Rock'. Back in the day, when young guys did such things, it was the place to go to meet the buddies and have a smoke.