Imagine driving through a tunnel of orange, red, and yellow leaves on a dirt road in the middle of the forest. There’s nothing quite like it. Below are a few of our favorite Fall Color Drives.
Caution: Always take a paper map with you when driving through the woods in our area. Cell phone service is non-existent on most of these roads. Many of these roads are used as snowmobile trails in the winter, so do not drive on them once snow has fallen.
1. Honeymoon Trail – Start at the Caribou Trail (County Road 4) just north of Lutsen off Highway 61. Wind past Caribou Lake and take Forest Road 164 (Honeymoon Trail) to the left.
When you come to the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2), turn left and return to Highway 61 at Tofte.
2. 6 Hundred Road & Temperance River Road – Start at the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2) and head north about 5 miles. Take a left at the 6 Hundred Road. Here you will find the stunningly beautiful Heartbreak Hill. Continue through the forest and take a left at Temperance River Road.
3. Gunflint Trail – The Gunflint Trail is a paved, scenic byway that winds 58 miles into the wilderness. The route begins in Grand Marais, where you’ll take Highway 61 through the town and then take a left onto the Gunflint Trail. You can take the Gunflint Trail as far as you want. Drive slowly as many moose call the Gunflint Trail home.
4. Grand Portage – As soon as the colors begin changing down by Lake Superior, we recommend a drive to Grand Portage. This stretch of the highway is beautiful, truly showcasing Lake Superior on one side and the Sawtooth Mountains on the other. Grand Portage State Park is home to High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. The trail to the waterfall is paved and accessible and would make for a great spot to stretch your legs before getting back into the car.
MEA Weekend on the North Shore
At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we like to celebrate all things Halloween on MEA weekend! And Halloween is one of our FAVORITE holidays. Creative costumes, scary movies, tasty treats – what’s not to love?
We begin with our annual pumpkin carving contest for guests. There are over $300 in prizes and three different age categories. You can pick up your pumpkin and carving tools at Guest Services beginning on Friday. We will be judging and presenting prizes to the winners on Saturday, October 23rd after 4pm. See official rules here: Pumpkin Carving Contest
Next, we like to set the tone for the weekend with a Halloween themed movie. We’ll be playing Halloweentown (what else!?) in the Tofte Room, across from the playground at Bluefin Bay.
Then on Saturday morning, we begin the medallion hunt! Find the Bluefin Bay medallion and win a $100 gift card! The hunt begins at 8 a.m. and clues will be released every two hours after that. Saturday evening we are hosting a picnic style event outside on the BBQ patio from 5-8 p.m. The picnic will feature live music, bonfire pits, BBQ and a bar (cash or room charge only).
And there’s plenty more to do other than our Halloween festivities. We’ll have guided hikes, kids adventure club, fall color kayak tours, live music, wilderness canoeing and more! All activities are complimentary for guests of Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing.See the full schedule here. Plus, Grand Marais will again be hosting its annual Moose Madness Festival.
Local Craft Classes
There’s something about the Autumn season that awakens the artist in all of us. The colorful leaves all around and the chill in the air bring out our creative side. At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we embrace that inspiration with local craft classes.
The classes below are completely free for guests staying at Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot by clicking on the links below. No artistic experience is necessary for any of these classes and all supplies are provided.
Classes at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. The Carolina Snowflake is simple to make and useful as a Christmas tree top ornament or a decorative wall hanging. Jane specializes in basketry utilizing a variety of materials such as birch bark, red osier dogwood and rattan reed.
This workshop is from 12:30 – 4 pm and you can drop in any time! No sign-up necessary. Learn how to dye your own silk scarf and take it home with you! The workshop includes a brief introduction to the dyeing method. You’ll then pick your colors and design, and go to work.
Fall Color FAQs
It may seem a bit early to be thinking about the vibrant red, pumpkin orange and lively yellow leaves that will soon be spread across our shoreline. Fall is notorious for being one of the best seasons to visit the North Shore of Lake Superior and because of that, lodging at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts tends to fill up quickly. If you’re hoping to visit us for this glorious season, read over the FAQs below and book your stay as soon as you can!
Fall Color FAQs
When is the best time to see the Fall Colors? Each year varies but typically the best time is mid-September through mid-October. September is when the maple trees change which brings the brilliant reds and oranges. Towards October is when the birch and aspen trees change, highlighting the forest in golden yellows.
What are the best hikes to see Fall Colors? Some of our favorite local hikes include Oberg Mountain, Lake Agnes and Carlton Peak. See the full list here.
What activities are happening at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts in the Fall? Resort activities including guided hikes, bike and hike tours, fall color kayaking, wilderness canoeing, kids adventure club, art activities, campfire & s’mores and more. Check out our activities calendar here.
Are there any specials or discounts? During peak fall colors, the best discount is our internet savings offer, which you can receive for booking your stay online. We begin our Gales 3 for 2 Special after MEA weekend on October 22nd, which offers 3 nights for the price of 2.
Missing our Girls Gone North!
As many of you know, this upcoming weekend would have been Bluefin Bay’s 13th (!) annual Girls Gone North event. We are bummed to not be able to host this event that is so close to our hearts this year. We wanted to take some time to look back to previous Girls Gone North events. You can see an amusing slideshow of photos from previous years here.
Girls Gone North Weekends are a treasured time for gals to get away and enjoy themselves. We always say that what happens on the North Shore, stays on the North Shore! Our goal at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts is to plan enough activities for the ladies to be as busy as they want to be.
We usually feature a mix of these events:
Hiking. There’s always a couple hiking options throughout the weekend to make sure we get outside to see the beauty of the area. November is an interesting month on the North Shore – we’ve had snow, rain, sunshine, November gales, you name it! There are typically a couple resort guided hikes and then we incorporate a “girls only” hike as well. Together we’ve explored Carlton Peak, Sugarloaf Cove, Oberg Mountain, Caribou Falls, Cascade State Park and more!
Indoor Activities. Last year we tried a new event – Silk Scarf Dyeing Workshops – and we had a blast! We’ve also mixed in other indoor events like our Fitness Fashion Show (2016), Paint & Sip (2017), Girls Only Happy Hour (2018) and more. It’s always fun to try something new with friends.
Yoga. Morning Yoga has always been a restorative and refreshing part of the weekend.
Wine Tasting. When the North Shore Winery opened in 2016, we knew it needed to be incorporated into our fun weekend plans! We have had wine tastings there (resort shuttle included!) every year since. The staff at the Winery are phenomenal and are happy to give us a tour and teach us about the wine making process while we’re there.
Spa Treatments. The Waves of Superior Spa has been generous in giving our Girls Gone North weekend participants discounts on spa treatments and extended hours upon request.
Signature Events. Always the highlight of the weekend, we have enjoyed some impressive signature events! From motivational workshops to skin care seminars to wine pairings, the signature event is always engaging and entertaining. And we are always open to new ideas if you have something you think would be fun.
Even though we can’t be together this year, we’ll be thinking of you all! If you can come visit us in November, we’ll be offering a 3rd night free for the rest of the month. Cheers to Girls Gone North 2021!
Beware the Gales of November
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.
Trick or Treat Yo’ Self
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Creative costumes, scary movies, tasty treats – what’s not to love? We love it so much that we like to kick off the celebrations early on MEA weekend.
So if you are visiting us this weekend, get ready for a spook-tacular time! We will have a pumpkin carving contest for guests. But be warned – we take these kinds of things pretty seriously around here. There are over $300 in prizes. You can pick up your pumpkin and carving tools at Guest Services beginning on Friday. We will be judging and presenting prizes to the winners on Sunday October 18th.
Not coming up for MEA weekend? Join us for Halloweekend! We have a staff costume contest each year and we love when guests join in on the fun.
We will also be beginning a few new activities in the coming weeks. Firstly, we’re bringing back Bonfire Hikes starting on on October 24th. These hikes are usually about 2 miles round trip and are complete with a bonfire and s’mores! Perfect for family-friendly excursions. Secondly, we are introducing a brand new activity that we like to call Guided Wood Burning Class. In this activity, we’ll use hot irons to burn fun designs into round slices of wood. You can create a fun souvenir (think coaster or holiday ornament) or create a gift for someone else. Lastly, we’ll be starting Guided Painting Classes on October 19th. In this class we will be painting a 3” by 4” canvas and we’ll focus on a simple North Shore landscape.
There are plenty of reasons to come visit Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts in the coming weeks! And don’t forget, our Gales 3 for 2 special begins October 18th. Happy Halloween, everyone! Remember to eat, drink and be scary!
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!