November has arrived! And with it, Storm Season. While November is a quieter time of year on the North Shore in terms of visitors, it is Lake Superior’s loudest season.
In late Fall, low-pressure systems pass over Lake Superior which result in stronger winds. The winds, sometimes called “Nor’easters” can reach up to 50 miles per hour, with gusts up to 100 miles per hour. These wind patterns can result in large waves on our Great Lake, known as the Gales of November. The highest recorded wave on Lake Superior is 28.8 feet, although unofficial wave heights are believed to have exceeded 40 feet.
Thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, many have heard of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. But Lake Superior has claimed hundreds of ships into her cool depths. Another notable shipwreck event occurred on November 28th, 1905 when the Mataafa Storm caused 29 vessels to sink or be seriously damaged. One of those vessels was the 478-foot iron ore carrier William Edenborn, which was towing the 436-foot barge Madeira. The large waves caused the towline to part around 3 a.m. and the unpowered Madeira crashed into the shoreline. Around the same time, the Edenborn was whooshed into the mouth of the Split Rock River. The carrier was split in two. Luckily, the Edna G. provided life saving services to both crews and only 2 seamen lost their lives. That storm led to the construction of Split Rock Lighthouse, which was completed in 1910.
And if you have not had the opportunity to discover this memorable season for yourself, consider visiting us this year! Stay 3 nights and take advantage of our Gales of November offer for a free night on us.
A Season of Contrasts
The closing of MEA weekend always brings about a feeling of a new season on the North Shore. It represents a quieter time with stormy, sometimes tumultuous weather. There is a cold chill in the air as we all recognize winter knocking on our door. It is also a time when we lower our nightly lodging rates and begin our Gales 3 for 2 offer. When you stay three nights or more at any of our resorts – Bluefin Bay, Surfside or Temperance Landing – receive one of those nights (midweek night) completely free!
We hear from many of our return guests that it’s their favorite time of year to visit Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. They appreciate the peaceful, calm feeling around the area. These days, that sense of tranquility is more attractive than ever before.
In contrast to the serene atmosphere around the resort, the Great Lake tends to kick things up a notch this time of year. In late Fall, low-pressure systems pass over Lake Superior which result in stronger winds. Sometimes they can reach up to 50 miles per hour, with gusts up to 100 miles per hour. These wind patterns can result in large waves on our Great Lake, known as the Gales of November. The Gales are notorious and they are truly a sight to be seen, heard and felt. Combine fewer crowds with lower rates plus the potential for a dramatic display on Lake Superior and you have one exceptional season.
Fall Color Report: October 6 – Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts
For this week’s Fall Color report, we couldn’t resist telling you about the delightful scene at our different properties: Bluefin Bay, Surfside on Lake Superior and Temperance Landing on Lake Superior. The DNR’s Fall Color map shows that the North Shore area is past peak, but near the lake the leaves tend to hang around a bit longer than they do inland. It makes for a magnificent view from the guest rooms, pool areas and Bluefin Grille. The dark blue of Lake Superior is the perfect contrast against the yellows and golds. We also begin to see a bit more wave action in October on the big lake. Here are updates from all 3 of our resorts.
Whether you select a stunning lakeside suite, multi-bedroom condo, or a guestroom overlooking the ancient Sawtooth Mountains, you’ll get a front row seat to one of nature’s greatest shows. At Bluefin Bay, we bring you closer to the lake, and to each other.
Dramatic angles, vaulted pine ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, vast expanses of glass, in-suite fireplaces, double whirlpool tubs, glass and tile showers, and more balconies and patios than any other resort on Minnesota’s North Shore – are all right here waiting for you.
There is perhaps nothing as warm and inviting as a log home for escape from our hectic, fast-paced lives. Place it on Lake Superior’s North Shore and you’ve got the perfect destination for family vacations, a couples’ retreat or friends’ getaway.
This will be our last Fall Color report for 2020. We’ve received questions from guests wondering if the colors changed earlier this year than usual. The answer is yes! You can view maps from previous years on the DNR’s fall color page on their website, which we found to be very interesting!
Fall Color Report: September 29 – Britton Peak
We are due for an update as the color has shifted quite a bit since last week’s Fall Color Report. We had some rain over the weekend and the maple canopy is beginning to come down. On a happier note, the Birch and Aspen trees are totally at peak right now. This means that the drive to the North Shore is breathtaking. It also means that any of the hiking trails closer to the lake are lit up with golden hues. Think Carlton Peak, Tettegouche State Park, Palisade Head, Lookout Mountain and today’s choice, Britton Peak.
This is the overlook from our hike at Britton Peak. Britton Peak is a swift vertical climb that offers sweeping views of Lake Superior and Carlton Peak. It’s perfect if you are looking for something quick and close to Bluefin Bay as it’s less than 3 miles away.
The perspective from the hiking trail is exquisite. The undergrowth is changing and the forest floor is covered in vibrant leaves. The little bit of rain also permeated the woods with the delicious scents of Fall.
It’s an extraordinary season on the North Shore. We all wish that Mother Nature would extend it, but it doesn’t look like that will happen this year. Stay tuned for next week – we’ll update you on the fall colors at the different properties that make up Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts!
Fall Color Report: September 22 – Oberg Mountain
We are kicking off Fall Color reporting with our favorite destination for this time of year, Oberg Mountain. We tagged along with the Activities Crew as they ventured out on their tour on Saturday and boy are we glad we did! As of today, the DNR is currently reporting our region to be in the 25-50% range.
It’s always a challenge to predict the peak colors on the North Shore. As many of you probably know, it happens in two distinct phases. First, the maples come ablaze with bright red and brilliant orange leaves. Secondly, the aspen and birch present their golden glory. Some argue there is a third phase when the tamarack trees begin to change, which usually occurs in late October or even early November.
We are very much in that first peak now and Oberg was a fantastic spot to view the colors. The maple trees are beautiful both from the ground and from the overlooks. The birch and aspen have just begun changing and have a little ways to go. The good news is that we don’t have any storms predicted in the forecast, which should help the leaves to hang on a bit longer this year.
If you are coming to stay with us this Fall, be sure to check the activities schedule in advance. We have guided hikes, bike & hikes, fall color kayaking and wilderness canoeing. All of these activities are designed to get our guests outside exploring the most colorful season on the North Shore.
Fall Color Report: September 23rd Leveaux Mountain Hike
Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report: 50-80% Fall Colors. We’re reporting about 50% fall colors by Lake Superior with 80% a few miles inland.
We went on a hiking adventure to Leveuax Mountain to check out the fall colors. This hike provides panoramic views of the inland hills, Lake Superior, and southwest views of the Sawtooth Mountains. Because of this, we knew this hike would be perfect for viewing the color change difference between areas farther inland and areas closer to the shoreline of Lake Superior. The inland maples are just about at peak creating a stunning blanket of oranges and reds on the rolling hills. The birch trees have barely started to change color, and in some spots have yet to change color at all. Their yellows and golds will take over the landscape in the next couple of weeks. Closer to the lake, there is only about 50% color change but we should see a big change in the next week and a half.
The Leveaux Mountain Hike is one of our many complimentary guided hikes offered to resort guests. The distance of this hike is 3.4 miles and considered moderate in difficulty due to the length and a few short but steep climbs. The views are worth it! The trail follows a ridge through old-growth cedar and red pine forests rising 1,000 feet above the lake.
From the gallery below you can see how the trees went from mostly green toward the bottom of the trail, and areas closer to the lake, to mostly fall color as you look inland from the top. We felt like we were traveling through different ends of the autumn season in one hike!
Fall Color Report: September 16th – Color Tour AND Family Fun at Lutsen Mountains!
Photo: Sept 15, 2019
Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report: 25% Fall Colors. We are reporting little color change by Lake Superior with more fall colors peeking through 1-2 miles inland.
Experience more fall fun on Minnesota’s North Shore with a trip up to Lutsen Mountains. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts and offers fun for the whole family!
Lutsen Mountains is located a couple of miles inland from Lake Superior. On our Fall Color Report adventure this past weekend we hiked along the trails winding through this area and spotted some beautiful Fall colors starting along the top of the ridgelines.
The Summit Express Gondola is one of our favorite ways to view the fall colors. You’ll travel above the treetops heading up 1,000 feet to the top of Moose Mountain with views of the autumn colors, Lake Superior, and the Sawtooth Mountains. Hop out at the Summit Chalet for breathtaking views, scenic overlooks, and hiking trails.
For those looking to add a long hike to their Lutsen Mountains experience, we recommend heading out on the Superior Hiking Trail starting from the end of the road that runs past the main ski area. This 4.5-mile hike winds across the Poplar River and around the back of Mystery and Moose Mountain through forests of cedar, brightly colored maple and aspen. In addition, this hike ends at the top of Moose Mountain where you can purchase a ticket and head back via the gondola – a sweet way to end a rewarding hiking adventure! The Summit Express Gondola is open daily through October 20.
The Alpine Slide is perfect for those looking for a few thrills during their fall color tour. One of the best parts of this activity is the chairlift ride to the top of Eagle Mountain. Sit back and enjoy a unique view of the fall beauty. Then, zip down a 1/2 mile track on your sled! Your trip can be fast and thrilling or slow and easy. This one is a family favorite! The Alpine Slide is open weekends through October 20.
Fall Color Report: September 9th
Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report: 90% Summer Colors and 10% Fall Colors
Here on the North Shore we typically see peak fall colors between mid-September and early October. Because of Lake Superior’s power, we are fortunate to experience longer color than the rest of Minnesota. The first color change starts inland and gradually moves toward the Lake Superior shoreline where the last of the trees turn for the season. For almost a month, you can enjoy many different spectacular color drives or hikes depending on when you visit.
This past weekend we took a single-track biking adventure on the new Jackpot Flow Trail. This amazing trail, that is nearing completion, will connect the nearby Britton Peak single-track mountain bike trails to the Lutsen Mountains Ski area. We did get to see some great pops of color a few miles inland from Lake Superior! Most of the forest is still lush and green but the inland hills are definitely showing signs of fall. We’ll provide a weekly report on the fall color progress through peak color in mid-October.
5 Best Things To Do on the North Shore This Fall
1 – Go for a Hike…or Two or Three! Hiking is at its best on the Superior Hiking Trail in the Fall. The temps are cooler, the leaves are in their glory, and area wildlife comes to life! Check our resort activities calendar for a guided hike or try one of these favorites on your own. Our Fall Favs: Oberg Mountain Loop, Carlton Peak, and Caribou Falls, New this year – Section 13!
2 –Enjoy a Wilderness Canoe Trip – Experience fall colors via a wilderness canoe paddle on the Poplar River in Lutsen. Bluefin Bay Resorts will shuttle you there and back and provide all of the equipment for a great group or family outing on the water.
3 – Hit the Bike Trail – we’ve got inland off-road biking and the paved Gitchi Gami State Trail along the shore. From Bluefin Bay you can take the Gitchi Gami to a number of great hiking trails such as Temperance River State Park and the Onion River trail. Our Fall Favs: Heartbreak Hill Loop by Bike and the Temperance River Hike & Bike. Like to go off-road with your biking? The Britton Peak single track trailhead is only a few miles from Bluefin Bay Resorts. The new (almost completed) Jackpot Flow Trail connects the Britton Peak trails to Lutsen Mountains Ski Area and offers some of the most beautiful mountain bike riding in Minnesota!
5 – Enjoy our NEW Fall Activity – Fall Color Tour! All things Fall! Hop into one of our vans as we take you on a backroads driving tour of the Lutsen-Tofte area blanketed in fall colors. Plus, a stop at Wild Country Maple Syrup! This tour starts September 21 and will run through mid-October.
NEW Fall Activity – Fall Color Tour!
September is here and it’s officially time to get excited about the upcoming fall color show along the North Shore! At the same time, we want to enjoy the late summer as long as possible. We will NOT be breaking out the pumpkin spice quite yet. But, we do want to announce a new complimentary activity starting on September 21st:
Fall Color Tour – Leaves & Maple Syrup!
All things Fall! Hop into one of our vans as we take you on a backroads driving tour of the Lutsen-Tofte area blanketed in fall colors.
This fun tour starts with a drive up the beautiful Temperance River road. First, a stop at the upper falls to enjoy a short walk to the perfect photo op – a river view with a beautiful colored hill in the backdrop. Then, it’s back to the van to head to the Six Hundred Road and eventually a stop at “Heartbreak Hill”. Another photo op of the canopy of leaves along this picturesque road. Our trip continues down the Six Hundred Road leading us to the famous Honeymoon Trail via the Sawbill Trail. Enjoy a scenic stopping point at White Pine Lake with a fishing dock perfect for viewing the colors around this serene remote lake. Our next stop will be Wild Country Maple Syrup! While here, we’ll tour the facility to see where they tap the trees, learn how the system works to transfer sap to the boiling room, and visit where they bottle the final product. In addition, enjoy a self-service store with a variety of products to sample and purchase!
On our final stretch, we’ll head down the Caribou Trail back to highway 61. A quick stop at the Poplar River Falls (another short walk) will give us one last waterfall and scenic view of the leaves.
This new activity will be available 4 days a week starting September 21st through October 12th. This will be a popular activity – you may sign up online ahead of time.
Fall Color Report: Autumn Beauty at Sugarloaf Cove
Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report:
1+ miles inland: 75% – Peak Color! 50-65% Fall Colors along Lake Superior.
We didn’t let a little rain stop us from heading down the coast along Highway 61 to Sugarloaf Cove today to check out the fall colors. The mist in the air actually made the golden colors more vibrant and the lake was putting on a great show as the waves crashed in. The birch and aspen along the shores of Lake Superior are changing to their beautiful yellow and orange colors with pops of red sumac. The dark green evergreens provided a stunning contrast. We trekked along the easy one-mile interpretive trail that took us through forests, along the shores of Lake Superior, over a beach filled with smooth round rocks, and to the remnants left from the boom of the logging era. Grab a map or check it out online for information on the 17 marked interpretive areas you’ll come across on the trail.
If you haven’t been to Sugarloaf Cove yet we recommend a stop here or you can join one of our complimentary guided resort hikes to this wonderful place. Sugarloaf is The North Shore Stewardship Association and was founded in 1993 to protect and restore Sugarloaf Cove and the entire North Shore. It provides educational programs to become better stewards of our lands and you’ll love their interpretive nature center with exhibits on the unique history and ecosystem of Sugarloaf. Visit their Calendar of Events to discover their weekly programs like bird banding, North Shore Geology, and Fall Migration. They will also be having an open house on October 20th from 10am-2pm complete with speakers and family activities.