Fall in Cook County is a time of tumultuous beauty. The air turns crisp and clear. Moose get an amorous gleam in their eyes. Changing leaves paint the Superior National Forest and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness/BWCAW with a palette of goldenrod, pumpkin orange and firetruck red. In late fall, a different kind of show begins: the infamous gales of November. This is a chance to get cozy and watch Lake Superior unleash her wild side.
There is no shortage of activities to do in fall. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to experience fall in Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage. How many have you done?
North Shore Fall Bucket List – Cook County, MN
□ Embrace your inner leaf-peeper
Marvel at all of the color that nature offers. From the ruby reds to the pumpkin patch oranges the whole spectrum comes to life. Download the fall color report from the Superior National Forest for tips to see the best color.
□ Stargaze and look for northern lights
Set your eyes to the skies in the evenings. You will see more stars than ever before and, if you are lucky, a glimpse of nature’s light show – aurora borealis.
□ Go on a Gunflint Trail “moosefari”
For your best chance of seeing one of these massive, elusive creatures, drive the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway early in the morning or around dusk. Even if you don’t spy a moose, you’ll see spectacular scenery.
□ Paddle the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in a new season
Fall days are often sunny, mild and bug-free, with cool, clear nights perfect for hot chocolate around the campfire.
Learn about nature and get dramatic views enhanced by adrenaline on the Towering Pines Canopy Tour at Gunflint Lodge. Or, for a more relaxed experience, ride the Mountain Tram at Lutsen Mountains from summit to summit, passing over the Poplar River Valley near Lake Superior.
□ Hike the Superior Hiking Trail
Immerse yourself among the fall colors by traveling through the Superior National Forest on foot. Catch spectacular views from numerous peaks along the Sawtooth Mountain Range of Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest in full fall splendor. Try the Oberg Mountain segment of the Superior Hiking Trail. Or head out early to climb Eagle Mountain, the highest peak in Minnesota.
□ Eat like a local
From down-home diners to northern fusion cuisine to burgers featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” Cook County has a full range of dining to please every palate.
□ Try a new s’mores recipe over the campfire
Pick up some locally made fudge (try maple bacon) and elevate your palate.
□ Find your true colors and get inspired
□ Revel at a festival
Radio Waves – Sept. 9-11
Plein Air Painting Festival – Sept. 8-15
Unplugged XV – Sept. 15-18
Moose Madness Family Festival – Oct. 21-23
Lake Superior Storm Festival – Nov. 11-13
□ Encounter hundreds of species of birds
Cook County is a bird watchers paradise. Our boreal forest is at the heart of the migratory path for numerous bird species. From the peak of a mountain, witness a hawk migration or stay up late and listen for the hoot of an owl.
□ Take a fall colors drive on our scenic backroads
Download a printable map with highlights and hiking trails:
□ See a Lake Superior gale
In the fall, low-pressure systems from the Arctic swing down over Lake Superior and bump into warmer systems fed by the jet stream. These collisions can spawn ferocious gales. If you get a thrill from waves and wind, Cook County has plenty of snug harbors for storm-watching.
□ Start your holiday shopping early
Shop local, find unique gifts, support artists and reduce your holiday stress by getting a head start on your gift-buying.
□ Travel midweek
Take a few days in the middle of the week when the rates are best and get the fall colors to yourself. Find your perfect place to stay at http://www.visitcookcounty.com/interactive-map/
Did we miss a Cook County fall must-do? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.