orange red and gold maples line a dirt country road

Fall Color Report for the North Shore

The maple trees on the tops of the ridges and the hillsides sloping north and south turn color first. You will these colors from around Beaver Bay northeast to the US-Canada border and inland a few miles from Highway 61. As temps cool closer to the big lake, the second color season takes place. Poplars, birch and tamarack turn yellow and the entire Highway 61 corridor is lovely. 

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 [or more frequently] fall color reports with suggested tours.

2021 Fall Color Report
Wednesday, Sep 15th


Maples at 50%
Maple-covered hillsides are showing their color atop the ridges that rise out of Lake Superior. Find these ridge 1-3 miles inland from Highway 61 from about Tettegouche State Park to Grand Marais. Maples are turning rust orange, brick red, straw and an occasional deep wine. I am starting to see bald patches as the early maples drop their color.

Subdued with Pops of Stunning

With the drought this year, maple fall colors are subdued with some pops of brilliance. I am starting to see swaths of yellow and gold in the Gooseberry and Split Rock areas. 

What You Will See

Hiking under the maple canopies is quite lovely right now. In the birch-aspen-poplar woodlands, the majority of leaves are a faded green with pops of gold, and of crinkly and brown.  On the forest floor, you will see mushrooms, flowers – black-eyed susans, white and purple asters – red mountain ash berries, and purple, gold, bronze , gold and brown undergrowth. 

See Photos from September 14-15
Scroll to the bottom of the page for a slideshow of photos from the past few days.

recommended tours of the week

Here’s what I plan on doing this week:
walking /hiking in Lutsen
biking the new state trail out of Grand Marais
taking a back road drive
agate hunting and maybe a  picnic and hanging out along Lake Superior’s shores 

my top Fall Color Tour choices for the week

bike and hike britton peak
Drive Heartbreak Ridge (pictured below)
Hike Oberg Loop
see all the Fall Color Tours
heartbreak hill maples near Tofte

Keep the sun at your back for the best viewing, (look west  in the morning and east all afternoon). Don’t worry if it is overcast, sometimes the colors look best when they contrast against a grey day. Download a North Shore map. After fall color touring, see something new

check out these north shore favorites

upcoming events