Instead of rushing on from Cloquet to Duluth along the freeway, consider taking the scenic route through Carlton. Though it has just 7 percent the population of its neighbor Cloquet, this city of 810 is the Carlton County seat. Carlton secured its dominion back in 1889 by stealing the county records and safes from the village of Thomson across the St. Louis River.
The only reason to come to town is to follow one of the scenic routes out. The 15-mile stretch of the Willard Munger State Trail between Carlton and Duluth is easily the most scenic part of this popular paved bike trail.
Highway 210 between Carlton and Highway 23 forms the Rushing Rapids Parkway, a winding drive along the wild St. Louis River. At nine miles it is the state’s shortest official scenic byway, but one that truly deserves special recognition. Highway 23 will lead you right into Duluth.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition