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Fall Colors on the SHT

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Fall Colors on the SHT

Fall is one of the best times to be on the Superior Hiking Trail. The fall colors are gorgeous, the insects are gone, and the weather is cooler. It’s a wonderful time to get out on the trail and hike through blazing forests or to gorgeous overlooks of Lake Superior.

Maple Color Peak

The maple peak with its riot of color is usually about the end of September. Here are some nice maple hikes with great views:

  • Magney-Snively Park Trailhead in Duluth: hike southwest through the Magney-Snively old growth maple forest to Bardon Peak area and back, 3.8 miles total.
  • Bean and Bear Lake Loop, 6.8 miles total, Penn Blvd Trailhead, Silver Bay.
  • Hwy. 1 Trailhead north of Silver Bay: go northeast to climb the steep ridgeline to the Fantasia spur trail; take the 0.5 mile spur trail to the end and return the same way, 2.8 miles total.
  • Finland Recreation Center Trailhead: to scenic Egge Lake and back, 4.6 miles total.
  • Cook Co. Rd. 1 (Cramer Road) Trailhead near Schroeder: hike northeast toward Temperance River to a first overlook and then signed Tower Overlook and back, 3.2 miles total.
  • Leveaux Mtn. Loop, 3.7 miles total and the Oberg Mtn. Loop, 2.3 miles total, both with dramatic overlooks of maple forests, both from the Oberg Mtn. Trailhead north of Tofte.
  • Take the Lutsen Mountains Recreation Area gondola to the top of Moose Mtn., see the blazing colors from the top of the mountain, and take the 0.8 SHT spur trail and then the 2.7mile main SHT back to the chalet for a total hike of 3.5 miles.
  • Caribou Trail (Cook Co. Rd. 4) Trailhead north of Lutsen: take the spur trail west to Lake Agnes, hike along the lake, cross the bridge and climb to a dramatic overview of Lake Agnes at Hunter’s Rock and back, 3.2 miles total. Take the optional spur trail to White Sky Rock Overlook for an additional 0.2 miles.

Aspen/Birch Peak

The next peak is early October when the aspens and birches leaves glow with bright yellow on exposed hillsides overlooking the deep blue of Lake Superior. Good hikes to experience this gorgeous peak are:

  • Split Rock River Wayside north of Two Harbors: hike southwest along Bread Loaf Ridge to Blueberry Hill Campsite 6.2 total out and back.
  • Caribou River Wayside south of Schroeder: take the spur trail to the viewing platform and back. Also include the short spur trail to the base of Caribou River Falls. 1.9 miles total. Or from this trailhead, hike northeast to Crystal Creek, the only covered bridge on the SHT and back, 4.0 miles total.
  • Temperance River Road parking lot (about 2 miles north on Temperance River Road just southwest of Temperance River Wayside): head west to climb the ridgeline and then hike to the Cross River Bridge and back, 5.4 miles total. Or from this parking lot, head downstream along the Temperance River to the bridge and back, 1.4 miles total.
  • Temperance River State Park to Britton Peak, 4.8 miles one way (use the Superior Shuttle) or do an out and back hike from the Briton Peak trailhead parking lot to Carlton Peak and back, 4.4 miles total.

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