The North Shore produces some of the best fall colors in Minnesota!
Fall happens twice along Lake Superior: The first foliage peak of maple trees occurs along the Sawtooth Mountain highlands from mid-September through early October. Then, the second burst of aspen and birch trees happens from late September through mid-October along Lake Superior’s shoreline. Travel up HWY 61 or HWY 1 north toward Ely for amazing roadside views. Or engage in countless outdoor activities while you breathe in the crisp autumn air.
“Fall” in Love with the Great Outdoors
Hiking Along the North Shore
Many outdoor enthusiasts travel north every fall to hike the Superior Hiking Trail and through four state parks in Lake County: Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche (pronounced “tetta-gooch”), Split Rock Lighthouse, and George Crosby-Manitou.
Inland, just a bit north of Silver Bay, the Bean and Bear Loop ranks as a local favorite. You can hit the Superior Hiking Trail at Penn Blvd. trailhead and hike north about three and a half miles to arrive at Bean and Bear lakes. The entire hike totals about 6.5 miles. Best time to visit: mid-September through early October.
For a more leisurely hike or bike ride with scenic lake views, hit the Sonju Trail in Two Harbors. The partially paved trail runs along the shore of Lake Superior for approximately one mile, between Burlington and Agate Bays. You’ll experience gorgeous lake views, beautiful wooded areas, picnic spots, wildlife, and spur trails to smaller beaches.
Craving more? Lake County offers a plethora of hiking trails for you to explore.
Mountain bikers enjoy the rich scenery throughout the Demonstration Forest, featuring Lake County’s first purpose-built mountain bike trails. In addition, serious mountain bikers will find the new Split Rock Wilds trails, featuring mostly rocky terrain and leading to many Lake Superior overlooks along the path.
For those who prefer a casual ride, The Gitchi-Gami State Trail features a paved, non-motorized biking and walking trail along the North Shore of Lake Superior. Its longest stretch extends from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Split Rock Lighthouse.
ATV Riding the North Shore
Load up the ATVs or OHVs and head up north for the weekend to endure the never-ending adrenaline of riding the ATV trails in Lake County. Silver Bay, Beaver Bay, Finland, and more inland areas are popular destinations for off-roaders offering miles upon miles of ATV trails.
Around the shore and back in the Superior National Forest of Lake County, the ATV/OHV trails won’t disappoint. Hairpin turns, rocky terrain, and endless rivers will entertain riders of all experience levels. Explore more about ATV/OHV riding in Lake County and download a trail map.
Explore Charming North Shore Towns
Stop into locally-owned shops featuring Lake Superior-inspired artwork, food, and gifts, such as smoked whitefish and salmon or wild rice harvested in Northern Minnesota. Sample various craft beers at Castle Danger Brewery or indulge in a slice of homemade pie at Betty’s Pies or The Rustic Inn Cafe.
Lodging properties inland and along the shore offer more than a place to stay: enjoy lake-life relaxation or a plethora of family-filled activities, such as kayaking, hiking trails, and games, as well as excellent dining options.
Visit our website to plan your fall adventure in Lake County!