Rocky overlooks, tranquil forests, rushing waterfalls, and countless critters on one of the best-marked trails in the country create the perfect day hike experience for guests of all ages and abilities.
The Superior Hiking Trail has been dubbed the “Appalachian Trail of the Midwest” by the Chicago Tribune and was listed on Backpacker Magazine’s “10 Prime Trails That Leave All Others in the Dust.”
The initial inspiration for the Superior Hiking Trail came from the Appalachian Trail out east as a way to showcase Minnesota’s North Shore. Construction began in segments back in the 80s and, as of now, hikers can enjoy a 313-mile continuous hike from Duluth to Canada. The unique geography and Lake Superior views have put this trail on many folks’ bucket list. And Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts’ guests are no exception — hiking is our most popular guest activity.
Fall hiking offers some of the best, up close and personal views of the North Shore’s breathtaking fall colors. Waves of red, orange and yellow extend as far as the eye can see from the rocky ridges overlooking Lake Superior. In contrast are the pine green forest and blue hues of Lake Superior herself.
Fall enthusiasts contend there are actually two fall peaks on the North Shore. First to turn are the inland maples, followed by the yellow and golds of the aspen and birch along Hwy 61/North Shore Scenic Drive. So in a good year, fall colors lasts for weeks! Lucky for us.
For those new to the North Shore area, new to hiking, or who simply enjoy the company of others, Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts offers guided hiking excursions almost daily free to guests. If you prefer to venture out on your own, our Guest Services team can provide tips for the best fall color hikes during your visit, as well as maps and directions to the trailhead.
Here are a few of our favorite fall hikes on Minnesota’s North Shore:
- Oberg Mountain: A great hike for the whole family — This loop travels atop Oberg Mountain, following the ridgeline and offering expansive views and overlooks of Lake Superior, Oberg Lake, and the Sawtooth Mountains covered in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows. It’s rated easy/moderate and is a great hike for families. It is busy in almost any season, but especially fall. Bring your phone/camera!
- Lake Agnus: Offers challenge & views — Expect a steep climb for the first about .2 miles of this 3-mile hike, and after that the trail levels off. The forest is mixed hardwood, with sections of maples and old-growth cedars, and this hike offers a great view of Caribou Lake. It’s rated moderate and one of our fall favs.
- Carlton Peak: The impressive Carlton Peak is visible from the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts and our guided hike is your chance to climb to the top! The panoramic views of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains are breathtaking in any season, but especially fall.
- Section 13: Scenic beauty with challenge — Section 13 is a down and back hike on the Superior Hiking Trail along the Baptism and Sawmill River Valleys. It’s considered by many through-hikers as one of the most scenic sections of the trail. This 2.7 mile hike isn’t for the faint of heart, the terrain is rough and the trail can be muddy during certain seasons. But, the view at the top is well worth the challenge!
- Cascade River State Park: Great in the Spring & Fall — Cascade River State Park in Lutsen is an easy hike for the whole family and offers Superior National Forest fall color and cascading waterfalls as you hike along the beautiful Cascade River and see the series of stair-stepping waterfalls that give the river its name. We also offer a slightly more challenging hike to Lookout Mountain in Cascade River State Park.
- Temperance River Bike & Hike: Easy, Colorful & Fun — Bike along the paved Gitchi Gami Bike Trail to Temperance River, where we hike up river to catch breathtaking views of fall color and waterfalls, then bike back to Bluefin Bay. We also offer an Onion River Hike & Bike excursion.
Learn more about our specific guided hikes and the fall schedule on our resort activities and events calendar.