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Fall Color Report for the North Shore
The Season Forecast

Inland colors, especially maples along the ridge lines turn first with the birch and aspen providing a follow-up season of gold. Fall colors occur from early September through about the third week of October with maple colors peaking the last week of September into the first week of October. The next week the golden peak season occurs.

Rainfall and temps affect both when the colors occur and how long they last, so it is variable each year. Starting Labor Day, I will provide weekly fall color reports with suggested tours each Thursday.

Get the update below.

 

eagle mountain

October 14th Fall Color update

What you’ll see:  Most of the shore is just past peak. Most of the maples lost their leaves in the high winds earlier this week, but you will find some from Duluth to Gooseberry. Highway 61 and along the shoreline is lovely with golden aspen and birch leaves and burgundy underbrush. The tamaracks are already turned to a full gold [below], and are gorgeous! Pictured above is Eagle Mountain, taken late afternoon October 11th.

Chilly but sunny weather predicted for the weekend, making for excellent hiking and sightseeing!

 

Looking for fabulous Fall Colors right now?
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on any photo; it will enlarge and you enjoy a little North Shore Fall Color right now! The photos at the top are most recent and go back to early September as you scroll though.

 

Last Updated: 10-14-2015

Suggested Tours

What to expect: Area Reports

Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park The colors are Peak: It'll take your breath away. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves: 75-100%
Wildflowers: past peak    

Where to go
Three hike suggestions for visitors: Gitchi Gummi Trail loop with spectacular views of Lake Superior. (2 miles round trip from visitor center) Fifth Falls Trail loop offers a quiet hike following Gooseberry River to the upper most water fall. (2.5 miles round trip from visitor center) Take a walk from the Picnic Flow to Mouth of Gooseberry River to enjoy Lake Superior

What you’ll see
10/14 – Spots of yellows and golds can be found throughout the park. Along the shoreline, trees are further along than those by the 5th falls. Gooseberry River is still running higher than normal for October. Wildlife has been sighted from the lake to the forest with an otter at the 5th falls, eagles by the upper falls, a pine martin in the campground and falcons at the lake.

Split Rock Lighthouse  State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park The colors are Past Peak: Hello brown. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves: past peak    
Wildflowers: past peak  

Where to go
Hike to the top of Day Hill on Day Hill Trail for a panoramic view of Lake Superior and Split Rock Lighthouse. Along the shore you will see the green disappearing as the colors emerge.

What you’ll see
The asters are still in bloom but the bright yellow goldenrod is dull and brown. The birch and aspen are turning a little more golden each day. The contrast against the dark spruce and bright blue sky is beautiful.

More tips
Check out the Little Two Harbors and Pebble Beach area where a small commercial fishing village was active from 1910 through the 1940’s. Watch the waves or the sparkling sunshine across the water as you take a picture of Split Rock Lighthouse on top of the 300 foot cliff.

Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park The colors are Past Peak: Hello brown. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves: past peak    
Wildflowers: past peak

Where to go
Starting at the Trailhead, hike the Superior Hiking Trail up over the Drainpipe to Raven Rock. You’ll get panoramic views heading all the way down to Lake Superior.

What you’ll see
The famous North Shore maples are mostly leafless after heavy winds and rain in the early part of the week. There are a few trees stubbornly clinging to their colors, but the show is mostly over. The golds of the aspens and birches are pretty brilliant, but again, don’t wait to see them.

More tips
The Baptism River in the fall is often running fairly low, but late summer rains, this year, mean that the waterfalls are still running hard and fast.

George H Crosby Manitou State Park
George H Crosby Manitou State Park The colors are Past Peak: Hello brown. see more

reporting October 13th
Leaves: past peak
Wildflowers: past peak

Where to go
From the Superior Hiking Trail parking lot you can choose from several casual loops, bringing you to the Manitou River or Benson Lake. These trails wind through a variety of woodland types.

What you’ll see
The maples have shed most of their leaves so the reds and oranges are mostly gone from the canopy. Birches and aspens are showing their golds, but those leaves are dropping quickly.

More tips
As the trees and the shrubs lose their leaves it’s easier to see the landscape and even wildlife when hiking through the woods. How’s that for a silver lining if you missed the peak colors of last week?

Temperance River State Park
Temperance River State Park The colors are Past Peak: Hello brown. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves: past peak    
Wildflowers: past peak

Where to go
Views from Carlton Peak are always great, even despite the advanced state of maple leaf fall. You’ll get panoramic views of the surrounding forests.

What you’ll see
The maples are mostly done, but the aspens and birches are still showing a lot of gold!

More tips
The water levels in North Shore streams have been unusually high, this fall, with all of our recent rains. A hike up the Temperance River Gorge should be fairly dramatic.

Cascade River State Park
Cascade River State Park The colors are Past Peak: Hello brown. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves: past peak     
Wildflowers: past peak

Where to go
Take the ever popular short half-mile loop around the Cascade Falls or take the 3.5 mile loop to Lookout Mountain to get some inland views of the Maples and Birches that have started to turn.

What you’ll see
We are past peak now. There are still a few very vivid yellows right now that are left, but most of the leaves have fallen off the trees over the past couple of days.

More tips
This is the final Fall Color Report for Cascade River State Park. The water in the campground and dump station will be shut off on Sunday, October 18th. No restroom or shower facilities available in 2016! The current restroom and shower building is scheduled to be demolished in spring of 2016 and construction of a new facility will take place during the 2016 season. There will be no showers or flush toilets in the park during this time. Rustic vault toilets will be available. Campsites located near the existing building may also be closed. Please check back for updates or contact the park office at 218-387-3053.

Judge CR Magney State Park
Judge CR Magney State Park The colors are Past Peak: Hello brown. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves:past peak   
Wildflowers: past peak

Where to go
Adventure awaits; go beyond the Devil’s Kettle for a water’s edge encounter of the Brule River. Traipse through the leaves of the mile-loop of the Timberdoodle Trail. Ford the Gauthier Creek and transport yourself through the naturally regenerated white pines to the north. Or, hike 10 miles from the park to the Kadunce River wayside.

What you’ll see
The tops of the birch and aspen are ever thinning as fall winds continue to grab the gold and pile the paths with the spoil. Look to the protected under story where color is still full.

More tips
The fall winds and cooler temperatures are here; wave action is picking up on Lake Superior, and many mornings the dews have been replaced with frost. Sunny days are predicted for Friday and throughout the weekend.

Grand Portage State Park
Grand Portage State Park The colors are Peak: It'll take your breath away. see more

reporting October 14th
Leaves: past peak
Wildflowers: past peak

Where to go
The leaf colors overall are just past their peak, but don’t let that stop you from making a trip up the shore! We still have some nice color in the area, especially right along the shoreline of Lake Superior and the Highway 61 corridor. As the leaves continue to fall from the trees, new views of the forest open up and you can see things you couldn’t see in the summer.

What you’ll see
There are quite a few mushrooms visible right now along the park trails. Always keep your eyes open for wildlife, as sightings of various animals are always possible. Our most frequent animal sighting lately has been a Ruffed Grouse that has been hanging around along the High Falls Trail. We have also had a few signs of black bear scat along the trail, however bear sightings are incredibly rare because of the numbers of people on the trails.

More tips
Experience the majesty and scenic wonder of Minnesota’s tallest waterfall! Three viewing decks at High Falls provide park visitors with various views for photography or quiet contemplation.