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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. A warmer than usual summer and ample moisture should delay colors by a week or so.

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.

 

 

September 28th Fall Color update

What you’ll see:  It’s starting to happen; the maple ridges are turning and are 50% to peak, mostly a golden orange glow while the young aspen are turning gold and the underbrush has a nice burgundy, brown and rust tone. The slow start and continued warm weather means peak will continue for another week on the northeast end of the shore. The southwest end of the shore may not see peak for another 10 days. Find the best colors 2-8 miles inland from Finland MN to the Canadian border.

A bonus, regular rainfall means waterfalls are rushing, too! The image below was taken Sat, Sep 24 at Lutsen Mountains. All other photos for the week were taken Wed, Sep. 28th, including the first 11 of the gallery at the bottom of the page.

fall colors

Looking for fall colors right now?

Scroll to the bottom of the page, then to see a slide show, click on a photo. Each week, I will add photos so you will be able to see the progression of color change throughout the season. And click below to see this week’s tour recommendations!

Last Updated: 09-29-2016

Suggested Tours

What to expect: Area Reports

Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park The colors are Just starting: See early show-offs and colorful underbrush see more

reporting September 29th
Leaves: 25-50%

Wildflowers: 50-75%   

Where to go
Look to the ground for color this fall. With the cool moist conditions, mushrooms are popping up all over. Leaf colors are doing their best to be bright but with the last week’s windy and rainy conditions early turning trees (birch, aspen) have already lost many of their leaves. The later turners (maple, oak) still have the potential to be of good color. Recommended hikes: Gitchi Gummi Trail with its view of Gooseberry River valley, Lake Superior and hidden fungus. High Point Lookout is a must for those who want a longer trail with great views. Bring a snack, water, hiking stick and don’t forget the camera to capture the views.

What you’ll see
Small patches of purple, white and gold can still be seen of the fall flowers. Asters and goldenrod dot the landscape of green prior to the rich fall colors. The smooth sumac is showing its fall colors of red and orange. Red squirrels and chipmunks are preparing for winter. Look for pine cone scale piles, freshly buried nuts, picked mushrooms placed in trees and signs of den making along the trails. Watch the forest and shrubby edges for migrating warblers. Small flocks can be seen flitting around during sunny afternoons catching bugs before heading south. In quieter areas of the park, the ruffed and spruce grouse have been seen along the trails. Deer are also active during morning and late afternoon hours.

More tips

Split Rock Lighthouse  State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park The colors are Just starting: See early show-offs and colorful underbrush see more

reporting September 28th
Leaves: 10-25% 
Wildflowers: 50-75%  

Where to go
Park at the Trail Center and picnic along the beautiful Lake Superior shore. Then take a short walk west along the trail to view Ellingsen Island and Split Rock Lighthouse.

What you’ll see
The mountain ash berries are turning orange-to-red and the high bush cranberries are deep red. You’ll also see black-eyed susans, goldenrod and asters.

More tips
Take a hike to the top of Day Hill to get a breathtaking view of the Lake Superior shoreline and the hint of yellow on the birches and aspens

Tettegouche State Park
Tettegouche State Park The colors are Worth the trip: Leaf and underbrush colors are 50% or more, come on up! see more

reporting September 28th
Leaves: 25-50%
Wildflowers: 25-50%

Where to go
Hike the Tettegouche Camp Road on the north side of the park. There are several hiking loop options accessible from that trail that will provide broad panoramas of the changing colors. Fall rains = rushing waterfalls!

What you’ll see
They’re trying. They’re really trying. The maple stands are yellowing quickly. There isn’t a lot of red, yet, but a few isolated branches are blazing in most places. Many of the earliest-turning tree species lost their leaves this past weekend during windy, rainy conditions, but there is still a lot of color coming our way.

More tips
Recent rains mean that our mushrooms should be putting on a good show in the coming week.

George H Crosby Manitou State Park
George H Crosby Manitou State Park The colors are Worth the trip: Leaf and underbrush colors are 50% or more, come on up! see more

reporting September 28th
Leaves: 25-50%
Wildflowers: 25-50%

Where to go
Recent rains have the Cascades of the Manitou River flowing well. Hike the Middle Trail about a mile in to get to these falls.

What you’ll see
They’re trying. They’re really trying. The maple stands are yellowing quickly. There isn’t a lot of red, yet, but a few isolated branches are blazing in most places. Many of the earliest-turning tree species lost their leaves this past weekend during windy, rainy conditions, but there is still a lot of color coming our way.

More tips
Mushrooms everywhere!

Temperance River State Park
Temperance River State Park The colors are Worth the trip: Leaf and underbrush colors are 50% or more, come on up! see more

reporting September 28th
Leaves: 25-50%
Wildflowers: 10-25%

Where to go
Recent rains have brought area rivers up. Check out the Temperance River gorge.

What you’ll see
They’re trying. They’re really trying. The maple stands are yellowing quickly. There isn’t a lot of red, yet, but a few isolated branches are blazing in most places. Many of the earliest-turning tree species lost their leaves this past weekend during windy, rainy conditions, but there is still a lot of color coming our way.

More tips
Our moist conditions are bringing out the fall mushrooms!

Cascade River State Park
Cascade River State Park The colors are Worth the trip: Leaf and underbrush colors are 50% or more, come on up! see more

reporting September 28th
Leaves: 25-50%   
Wildflowers: 25-50%

Where to go
As the peak of autumn color approaches, Lookout Mountain is rapidly becoming the must-see point in Cascade River State Park. This scenic trail winds along the river, over a small creek and finally up the mountainside to a gorgeous view of the Cascade River Basin, Superior National Forest, and even Lake Superior. The Trail consists of a 3.5 mile scenic loop.

What you’ll see
Throughout the whole Park colors are becoming much more pronounced. Pockets of orange and red maple contrast with the golds of birch and aspen, and the deeper hues of evergreens. From the Lookout Mountain overlook, bands of sugar maple are very noticeable.

More tips
Songbirds are flocking in the Park right now, including white -throated sparrows, American redstarts, and black and white warblers. Mushrooms are also extending their season, with prolific amounts of many different varieties. In addition, deer, grouse and even an occasional woodchuck have put in an appearance.

Judge CR Magney State Park
Judge CR Magney State Park The colors are Worth the trip: Leaf and underbrush colors are 50% or more, come on up! see more

reporting September 28th
Leaves: 25-50%  
Wildflowers: 75-100%

Where to go
View the distant maple ridges from a bench on the Devil’s Kettle Trail. Or, tour County Roads 14 and 17 through the maple forests. Try the Timberdoodle Trail for a quiet woodland hike, or head towards the mouth of the Brule to view the Highbush Cranberries and the white flowers of the Turtleheads.

What you’ll see
The Mountain Ash trees are starting to sport orange and yellows; the berries are rapidly ripening. Birch and Aspen are lightening to yellows and Mountain Maple are turning yellow and dusty orange. The Red Osier, Bush Honeysuckle, and Sarsaparilla of the understory are changing to reds, maroons, and oranges. Flowers that are at peak are Large-leaved Asters, Turtleheads, Black-eyed Susans.

More tips
The weather is turning cooler; expect daytime temperatures to be in the 60’s this week. Some raptors are fishing for the pink salmon in the river shallows. Passerines are enjoying the ripening berries.

Grand Portage State Park
Grand Portage State Park The colors are Worth the trip: Leaf and underbrush colors are 50% or more, come on up! see more

reporting September 29th
Leaves: 25-50% 
Wildflowers: past peak 

Where to go
Colors are starting to change a bit more now with some leaves beginning to fall as well. Color change within the park is still in the early stages but if you head inland along Old Highway 61 to the maple ridges, you’ll see more color up there. The maples always turn first and this year they are a little behind but they are turning. Also, a drive inland will give you a better chance at possibly seeing some wildlife!

What you’ll see
Colors along the trails within the park are changing but are not quite as far along as the area described above. High Falls is always beautiful and the water flow is pretty decent right now thanks to the rain we’ve had in the past week. You’ll likely see a little more color along the higher elevation areas of the Middle Falls Trail.

More tips
Wildflowers are past peak but there are still some in bloom around the visitor center and along the park trails. We also have quite a few mushrooms popping up thanks to all the moisture we’ve received lately.