Northernmost Point in the 48 Contiguous States, at Minnesota's Northwest Corner

You could say I'm a total geography nerd. While on long family road trips, I used to spend countless hours poring over the road atlas in search of interesting places to stop along the way. My high school geography teacher, who was just out of college and bored with teaching a subject he didn't care

You could say I'm a total geography nerd. While on long family road trips, I used to spend countless hours poring over the road atlas in search of interesting places to stop along the way. My high school geography teacher, who was just out of college and bored with teaching a subject he didn't care about, let me teach the last few months of the school year, which included units on Australia and Antarctica. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I went on to study Social Studies with a focus in Geography in college. When I was a classroom instructor, I rarely used the prescribed textbooks, opting instead to create my own lesson plans and worksheets. My lifelong interest in geography naturally extends to the places I visit.

In the Southernmost Point (Key West) with my Friends.

While on vacation in Key West, Florida, in January 2003, my group and I visited the Southernmost Point in the Continental United States monument. This sparked my already-present interest in maps and globes. I was curious as to how difficult it would be to travel to the other ends of the United States' continental territory. S I had already decided to try and visit all of the national park units in the lower 48 states, and adding these two extreme points seemed like a simple extension of that plan.

In 2005, I went to the most western part of Washington state, and in 2008, I went to the most eastern part of Maine. During the month of June in 2009, I traveled to Kansas to see the Geographic Center of the United States. My original itinerary for that trip didn't include the final, northernmost point until much later.

The geographical oddity that is the northernmost point There is nowhere else in the United States north of the 49th Parallel. Despite being a part of Minnesota legally, it does not have a land connection to the rest of the state. Due to a misunderstanding of the location of the Mississippi River's headwaters and an error on the part of the earliest mapmakers, this 116-square-mile chunk of land is only a part of the United States.

The Ultimate Limitation

Crossing into Canada is required if you want to visit the Northwest Angle. Driving 85 miles through the plains of Manitoba, I crossed into Canada from North Dakota at the Pembina, ND border crossing. I was driving along Highway 308 in Manitoba when I came to the exit that would take me north toward the 'Angle.' Not much information was available when I looked into how to reach the Northwest Angle, but I did know that the two roads I planned to take (308 and 525) were not paved. I had no idea these roads would be so rough.

Manitoba's farmland was sparsely populated, but heading north, I found thick forest with barely any evidence of human habitation. Manitoba 525's final eight miles were some of the most jarring I've ever driven on. (The helpful clerk at the gas station in the Northwest Angle later informed me that the road was rougher than usual due to recent rains. The gravel road's constant pinging beneath the van and the monotony of the trip dampened some of the excitement I had anticipated feeling upon collecting this final token of the geographic conquest.

When it took me five minutes to set up the camera and tripod before I could begin taking pictures, I began to seriously doubt my decision. The Northwoods of Minnesota are notorious for their abundance of biting insects, so this shouldn't have come as a surprise.

The Northwest Angle has no official customs checkpoints. Instead, the above sign directs travelers eight miles down the road to a shed, where they can use a videophone to speak with both American and Canadian customs officials.

North American Border Patrol Agents

I made a call to the two different customs agents in the county. The phone's video features were broken. In addition to my passport number, I also read my travel itinerary. I felt a bit awkward trying to explain this to them, but I figured that most of the Angle's visitors were there for the same reason I was.

Phone Booth Outside of Customs

As was mentioned earlier, it was not easy to find data about the Northwest Angle. I took a trip to Angle Inlet, the territory's one and only settlement. It was one of the tiniest places I've ever seen. There were only a handful of essential establishments catering to the locals (116 people at the time of the most recent census). At the tip of the northern part of the peninsula was a resort with a golf course. Red Lake Indian Reservation comprises 70% of Northwest Angle. Summer retreats seemed to make up a large portion of the buildings I observed.

Post Office located furthest north in the United States

Northernmost Post Office in the Continental U.S. is the only thing remotely close to a "tourist site" in the Northwest Angle. At the time of my visit, it was closed, so I went to the convenience store across the street in hopes of buying some postcards or other small mementos to remember my trip by. There were no postcards to be found, so I purchased a tourist brochure/newspaper instead from the helpful clerk. I queried how many other people she thought might be there for the same unknown reason as me.

A few, I would say The majority of people end up looking just as down as you do now. ”

I apologize if I came off as morose. In retrospect, I really shouldn't have had any high hopes. Upon further consideration, I am proud that I am such a geography nerd that I would waste half a day of my vacation time to visit such a desolate location. At any rate, on that particular day, I drove away from the shop, pointed the van south, and prayed I'd reach dry ground before the impending downpour began.

I get that it isn't exactly a glowing recommendation for the establishment. You probably won't find it on any "hidden gems in the US" lists Lake-in-the-Woods, which spans the international borders of three countries (Minnesota, Ontario, and Manitoba), is a stunning body of water surrounded by equally stunning forest. I've heard the fishing is fantastic and the fall foliage is breathtaking. From what I've heard, the lake freezes over in the winter, allowing people to drive across it to get to other parts of Minnesota. For many, reentering the United States at the Warroad, Minnesota border was the most unpleasant experience. S That was the easiest crossing of Canada's border that I've ever experienced. They must have figured that if you went to all that trouble just to have something to brag about, you were probably worth paying closer attention to.

If you decide to go, the nearest hotels with high TripAdvisor ratings are located about 30 miles away.

My blog post will detail the rest of my travels to the world's farthest corners.

The Northwest Angle - Top of the (Continental) USA

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