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.
A typical summer day at Bluefin Bay Resorts
We’re well into summer at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts and we’ve had a string of beautiful weather weeks on the North Shore. These are the days we savor, especially this year!
Guests are enjoying warm days and cool evenings, the quiet beauty of the Superior National Forest and gentle summer breezes off Lake Superior. Families are spending time together enjoying the hiking and biking trails, and some are learning to kayak for the first time. Almost everyone is enjoying our expansive water views and quality time with those they love.
We are privileged to provide up close and personal access to the North Shore’s natural beauty, and to provide our special brand of warm and friendly hospitality. We delight in helping you escape the stresses of life in 2020, and in helping you create very special vacation memories. It’s a privilege we never take for granted.
So, for those of you who can’t be with us on the North Shore this year — and for those who want more of our beautiful lakeside resorts — here’s a virtual taste of summer at Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing on Lake Superior.
We created this video so you’ll never we miss a wave, even if you can’t travel right now. Please know you’re with us in spirit, and we hope you are staying safe and healthy.
Enjoy our video snipped from a typical summer day at Bluefin Bay Resorts shot last week.
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Oberg Mountain Hike
The Oberg Mountain Loop is a spur trail of the Superior Hiking Trail and is a staff and guest favorite year-round! After meeting at guest services we’ll start off with a short drive up to the top of the Onion River Road.
From the trailhead, we’ll gradually climb through a Maple and Cedar forest for a half mile before coming to a steeper ascent to reach the top of Oberg Mountain. This gorgeous trail travels in a loop atop the mountain and follows the ridgeline offering panoramic views and several overlooks of Lake Superior, Oberg Lake, and The Sawtooth Mountains.
Don’t forget…sturdy shoes, dress for the weather, water bottle, camera! Sign up ahead of time. Meet in the Guest Services building at Bluefin Bay Resort.
Stay Safe 2020 Update: We are recommending all participants drive separately, if it is an offsite activity. If requested, there will be space for a family group up to four in our vehicle to the offsite location. Reservations are not take prior. All participants are required to wear a mask if they choose to ride in a Bluefin vehicle. We will also encourage you to stay back if you have been experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19 in the last 14 days. Masks are required indoors, at the trail head, and in areas where physical distancing is not possible. Masks will be given prior to the trip departing. Please participate in helping to protect staff, community members, and other participants.
Relax and Recharge With a Hike!
Have you heard about the Japanese practice called Forest Bathing? Basically, it’s the act of being in nature with an awareness of the sights, sounds, and smells that are all around us in order to benefit our well-being. In other words, we allow ourselves the time to unplug, relax, and recharge in nature. Interested in learning more about this ancient practice? This article is a nice starting point.
Here among the forests of Minnesota’s North Shore we have almost unlimited opportunities to immerse ourselves in nature. Hiking is the #1 favorite activity of our guests! Because of this, the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts activities department strives to make access to our incredible surrounding forests easy, inspiring, and fun. We offer many complimentary guided hiking opportunities year-round. In addition, all of our hikes include a shuttle to and from the hiking destination and are led by an experienced guide.
We’ve listed just a few of our favorite late-summer hikes:
OBERG MOUNTAIN HIKE: If we had a signature hike this would probably be it! There is something about this beautiful little mountain that keeps people coming back time and time again. This gorgeous trail travels in a loop atop the mountain and follows the ridgeline offering panoramic views and several overlooks of Lake Superior, Oberg Lake, and The Sawtooth Mountains.
LOWER FALLS: New this year, this hike takes place in the heart of the beautiful George H Crosby Manitou State Park. Once on the hike, you’ll quickly realize that this is a hidden gem here on the North Shore. Most of the hike is on the Superior Hiking Trail where we’ll make a stop at a trail shelter to talk about the natural history of this wilderness paradise.
Visit the resort activity schedule for more hikes and other fun outdoor adventures to enjoy during your getaway.
Remember… ‘Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.’ ~John Muir
Minnesota State Parks: A Summer Tradition!
Summer is a favorite season for exploring Minnesota’s beautiful state parks. Here at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we are fortunate to have easy access to 4 state parks. The closest one is within walking/biking distance! In addition, we are near 4 others for the perfect day trip excursion. These state treasures can be explored year-round and offer limitless opportunities for nature lovers, families, and adventure seekers.
Stay at Bluefin Bay and find your next adventure at these Minnesota State Parks:
Temperance River State Park: This amazing park is located within a couple of miles of Bluefin Bay and walking distance from Surfside on Lake Superior. Walk or bike here via the paved Gitchi Gami trail that leads from all 3 resort properties. You’ll love the hikes that wind up along the river just as much as the trail leading to the beach. Who doesn’t love rock skipping and agate hunting? Our activity department also offers complimentary guided hikes and bike rides to this park!
Tettegouche State Park: We love this park for its diversity of activity options – you’ll find hikers, bird watchers, climbers and waterfall viewers. Don’t forget your camera for the hike to the spectacular High Falls on the Baptism River. Their beautiful visitor center complete with gift shop and interpretive center is a nice pit stop during your adventures.
George H. Crosby Manitou Park: Who doesn’t want to visit this great park when the description for it is ‘where waterfalls cascade through a volcanic canyon surrounded by majestic forest.’? This park is ideal for those looking for more challenging hiking options – the views are worth the effort! Combine this park with nearby Tettegouche for a full day of state park adventures!
Cascade River State Park: The name says it all. Enjoy the series of waterfalls easily viewed from the trails and wooden bridges winding along the top of this beautiful river gorge. Look for our complimentary guided hikes to this park including a spectacular hike to Lookout Mountain.
Fall Color Report: Happy October From Lookout Mountain!
Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report:
1+ miles inland: 50-75% Fall Colors. 30-40% Fall Colors along Lake Superior.
October is here! We decided to celebrate with a morning hike to Lookout Mountain in Cascade River State Park to check out the fall colors. After a couple of cold nights this past week most of the area is now in prime fall color viewing. We are still only at 30-40% fall colors closer to Lake Superior but the farther inland maples and aspen are showing their best bright orange, red and golden colors!
For today’s hike, we started off on the same route that our complimentary guided Cascade River Hiking Trip goes on – winding along the beautiful Cascade River with stops at a series of stair-stepping waterfalls which give this river its name. If you are looking for a little longer hike with the addition of some breathtaking overlooks we suggest trying the trail to Lookout Mountain. This out-and-back 3.5-mile trek along the Superior Hiking Trail through cedar, birch, aspen, and maple forests ends at an overlook with breathtaking views of the Sawtooth Mountain Range in full color. Plus, you’ll get great views of Lake Superior and the shoreline that leads up toward Grand Marais. This overlook is the perfect spot to stop for a snack and some Instagram-worthy photos!
This week’s Lookout Mountain trail fall photo gallery…
Superior Hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail!
Hiking really is ‘superior’ in our area. Considered one of the finest trails in the United States, the 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail passes through the Lutsen-Tofte area and provides many opportunities to explore trail sections within close proximity of Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. We offer guided hiking excursions year-round with a variety of distances and degrees of difficulty. Many of our resort guided hikes take advantage of the epic hiking on the Superior Hiking Trail or the spur trails that lead to incredible overlooks, rushing waterfalls and dense forest areas.
Hiking is a favorite activity of our guests and the Bluefin Bay Activities Director is always busy adding new hikes and adventures for all skill levels to the weekly activities line-up. Visit our Activities & Events calendar to browse through the different guided hiking trips we offer. These trips are included as part of your stay and a great way to experience our area trails with an experienced guide. We are passionate about sharing the incredible views and the incredible joy that come with time spent on the trails.
The Superior Hiking Trail has been in the spotlight this summer with the release of a Star Tribune 6-part series about a hiker/writer and her incredible journey hiking the entire distance of the trail. From the start just south of Duluth to the end at the Canadian Border, she captures the immense beauty, varied terrain, and obstacles this awe-inspiring trail provides. Follow along at the Star Tribune – Feeling Superior page.
‘Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.’ ~John Muir
Waterfall of the Week!
When it comes to waterfalls we don’t like to pick favorites. We love them all for their unique settings and impressive displays of rushing water each spring, but the Caribou River is a waterfall hike we never miss this time of year. The Caribou Falls State Wayside is located on the border of Lake and Cook Counties and just a 15-minute drive from Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. The parking area was greatly expanded and paved last year adding to the ease and accessibility of visiting this waterfall.
The ¾ mile long trail winds right along the beautiful cedar lined river with a couple inviting spots to hop out on rocks during the drier months. Continuing on, the trail quickly starts heading up and you will have some great views of the river gorge below. About a half mile from the parking area is a long set of wooden stairs taking you down to a breathtaking view of the 40-foot Caribou Falls. The deep canyon walls and the loud rush of the falls creates a magical and exhilarating experience. Well worth the trek back up those stairs! At the top of the stairs, you will want to continue on up the trail to the large observation deck that sits just above the falls. A perfect spot for a water and snack break as you take in the awesome view of Lake Superior and the river valley below. If you would like a longer hike, this trail also continues on to hook up with the Superior Hiking Trail.
Check out our waterfalls page for more wonderful falls to visit, maps, and viewing tips. Your waterfall tour adventure is even better when you take advantage of our Spring Fever Offer through June 14th. Enjoy a FREE night when you purchase two nights (midweek night is free)!
Minnesota State Parks: Family Fun in the Great Outdoors!
Here at the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we have easy access to four spectacular MN State Parks featuring waterfalls, rivers, and pristine forests. These state treasures can be explored year-round and offer limitless opportunities for adventure seekers: hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and wildlife viewing.
We are almost at waterfall season! All of these parks have spectacular rivers and falls to view as the melting winter snow and ice makes its way to Lake Superior.
Tettegouche State Park: We love this park for its diversity of activity options – you’ll find hikers, bird watchers, climbers and waterfall viewers. Don’t forget your camera for the hike to the spectacular High Falls on the Baptism River. Their beautiful visitor center complete with gift shop and interpretive center is a perfect pit stop during a day of adventure.
George H. Crosby Manitou Park: Who doesn’t want to visit this great park when the description for it is ‘where waterfalls cascade through a volcanic canyon surrounded by majestic forest.’? This park is ideal for those looking for more challenging hiking options and the spectacular views are worth the effort!
Temperance River State Park: This amazing park is practically in our backyard. When the Gitchi Gami paved trail is clear of snow you can even bike or walk there right from all the Bluefin Bay properties! We love the hikes that wind up the river just as much as the walk that leads to the beach for some rock skipping and agate hunting. This is a not-to-miss park during waterfall season!
Cascade River State Park: The name says it all. We love the series of waterfalls that are easily viewed from hiking trails and wooden bridges that wind along the top of this beautiful river gorge.
March is here with the North Shore seeing the most snow cover in the state, longer days, and higher temps. It’s time to get outside! Here’s an update on the area trail conditions and resources for planning your late-winter getaway:
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: The local Sugarbush Trails have a nice packed base of 6-12 inches of snow with all groomed trails open and in good condition. With 65 kilometers of groomed trails and direct access to Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior, you’ll enjoy all the opportunities to explore and discover this beautiful area on skis.
Cook County has 400 kilometers of cross-country ski trails making it the largest network of trails in North America. The current overall trail base in the area ranges from 6-25 inches creating some of the greatest groomed trails we’ve had in years. Check out the Visit Cook County website to discover all the wonderful trail systems to be explored in our area.
DOWNHILL SKIING: Recent large snowfalls have made for some epic ski and snowboard days. Lutsen Mountains has a snow base of 30-60 inches on all primary runs and they’ve reported enough of a base to be open through April! With 4 mountains and 95 runs, the whole family will enjoy skiing or snowboarding at the Midwest’s only true mountain ski area experience.
We provide free shuttles to the base of the mountain and you’ll love the Ski and Stay Packages for the best deals.
HIKING & SNOWSHOEING: Winter hiking is a favorite activity here on the North Shore and trails are in great condition right now. Just after a snowfall, you can strap on a pair of snowshoes (complimentary rentals for guests) to trek through the deeper snow. Many trails that you enjoy in the summer are packed and accessible during the winter – a good pair of winter boots and ice grips are all that you need to experience a walk through the snowy woods and views of stunning winter vistas from atop a mountain. Let our activities staff show you the way on a guided hike, snowshoe or river hiking adventure! Visit our Resort Activities & Events page for details on our guided adventures.
SNOWMOBILING: Explore the Lake Superior shoreline plus inland woods and lakes on the endless miles of groomed snowmobile trails in our area. Local snowmobile clubs are reporting excellent conditions on the trails and many riders are reporting the best riding they’ve had in a long time. The Cook County Snowmobile Club has updated trail conditions and maps for the local trails. Visit the North Shore Visitor website for info on snowmobile trails all along Highway 61.