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Where to See Fall Colors in Minnesota & Fall Color Report – Cook County, MN

Oct 9, 2022 | events/locations

Fall Color Report on the North Shore and Gunflint Trail

Fall is one of the most captivating seasons on the North Shore and Gunflint Trail. Our deep green forests transform into brilliant fields of red, orange and yellow over the course of a few short weeks. Whether your fall color viewing plan is to go for a hikebike or a scenic fall color drive – we’re here to help guide you toward the best activities.
The MN DNR does a great job of updating their Minnesota Fall Color Map on a regular basis to make planning peak viewing a little easier. Of course, nature does have a mind of her own and can change at any time. Our recommendation is to make a plan but be prepared for things to change.


Generally speaking, “Peak Fall Color” is when both the treetop canopy and the ground below are at their brightest. That typically occurs the last two weekends in September thru the first weekend in October. However, fall color continues to be stunning in different types of forests at different times. The Gunflint Trail‘s peak fall color sometimes doesn’t occur until October and there are pockets of tamaracks on the back roads that do not peak until late October.

Of course, you could always check out our local webcams for a current view. In particular, the 360 degree panoramic web camera at Lutsen Mountains is something to tune into daily.

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 Gunflint Trail Professionally Framed Giclee Archival Canvas Wall Art for Home & Office from Travel

Artwork by Artist Paul A. Lanquist 

Don’t forget about the Gunflint Trail!

Many think of the north shore communities as being the top spots for viewing the fall colors. However, it would be a shame to overlook the Gunflint Trail. For over a decade, the fall colors on the Gunflint were minimal due to the Ham Lake fire.  The forest was mainly spruce and pine trees with few deciduous trees like maples, birch and aspen. Now, after years of regrowth and forest evolution, variety has regrown and sprung up all around the Gunflint Trail. Treat yourself to a drive on the 57-mile Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway – who knows, maybe you’ll even spot a Moose too!



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