Fall Drives on the North Shore

North Shore Fall Drives

“Leaf Change” season is the shortest, but arguably the most popular, season on the North Shore. It’s a period of time starting mid- to late September through mid- to late October when the hills are ablaze with color. During the season, the maple leaves turn from green to fiery shades of orange and red, while the aspen, poplar, and birch trees turn their vibrant shades of yellow. Driving under the trees during “Leaf Change” season is like driving under a kaleidoscope of color and beauty.

If you want to experience this majestic time of the year on the North Shore, here are some of our favorite fall drives:

Seven Bridges Road in Duluth (4 miles)
This section of Skyline Parkway on the east end of Duluth passes over a series of Amity Creek bridges as the road winds its way toward Lake Superior. View Map

Scenic Highway 61 from Duluth to Grand Portage (149 miles)
From the moment you leave Duluth on Highway 61 all the way up to the Canadian border you will be able to enjoy spectacular views that make the North Shore a popular destination for leaf hunters. Enjoy the views while traveling to other North Shore destinations and attractions. View Map

Silver Bay to Birch Lake Dam (57.7 miles)
A quiet route that takes drivers through a valley of trees, passing through a unique and beautiful area not seen by many visitors. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife! This route has been known to offer sights of many deer, wolves, and even moose. View Map

Heart Break Ridge in Tofte (15.6 miles)
If you’re looking for a quick drive with lots of beauty, look no further! Drive through a beautiful canopy of maples on this breathtaking route. View Map

The Grade from Tofte to Lutsen (15 miles)
This route takes you between the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2) and the Caribou Trail (County Road 4). You will travel down an old railroad grade that was used when white pine was logged in the area. It’s an excellent drive to take any time of the year, but it’s especially beautiful as the leaves are changing. This is another area where moose have been spotted in recent years. View Map

Maple Hill in Grand Marais (4.7 miles)
Just a short drive up the Gunflint Trail and you’ll find yourself in a colorful paradise. This short route takes you by Maple Hill Church and is a great place to see the start of the leaf change early in the season. View Map

Trout Lake in Grand Marais (34.2 miles)
This is a nice gravel drive just outside of Grand Marais, perfect for viewing sugar maples in the early fall season. There are many spots along the route where you can stop and get out of your car to enjoy the views, including public lake docks. View Map