September 28, 2017
Fall is a time when the trees prepare to lose their leaves. Unlike the sure and steady evergreens, deciduous trees go through a spectacular display during their final hurrah.
This spectacular display goes well with the spectacular natural features in Minnesota State Parks. There are a number of state parks near Grand Superior Lodge where you can witness these colorful scenes during the fall.
Gooseberry Falls is just down the road from Grand Superior Lodge. It has the most accessible falls, which are wide and full of water. Around Lower and Middle Falls you will see a concentration of yellowing birch trees mixed in with the evergreen trees.
You can also walk up the trail toward Upper Falls and then Fifth Falls and beyond. Further up the hills, along the Gooseberry River, deciduous trees will generally increase and bright red maples will become more plentiful.
The falls of Tettegouche are harder to reach, requiring a brisk fall hike. But it will be a beautiful hike. The falls at Tettegouche
are further into the area where trees like oaks and maples tend to dominate. This is rugged country with great places to look up at the orange, yellow, and red hills or down into equally colorful valleys.
One particularly colorful vantage point is the swing bridge above High Falls. From here, you are right above the powerful Baptism River, which is churned up into white waves by rocks before it thunders over the falls. You can also look down in the valley below, where the water spreads out into a pool and trees spread out on the shore.
After hiking further, you reach the bottom of this valley. Now you can see High Falls from below, and notice the shape of this valley. It is a bit like being at the bottom of a giant soup bowl. While you look toward the falls, you see a wall of stone is wrapped around the valley. There isn’t much growing on these imposing cliffs, but above them you see the brilliant oranges and fiery reds.
George Crosby Manitou State Park is a lesser known park where fall colors are king. At this park, the hardwoods really dominate the landscape. There are sections where only a few evergreen trees are scattered among the deciduous trees. Like
Tettegouche, you need to hike a fair amount to reach the better spots.
While the park has many spots where the water is violent and flows strong, there are places where the water is calm and tranquil surrounded by all the brilliant fall colors.
Benson Lake is a peaceful, pristine, and unpopulated lake surrounded by a good concentration of hardwoods. There are many orange sections and some reds scattered in. As you look higher into the hills there is more red. The lake also has peaceful sections where tall plants are growing out of the water.
The upper Manitou is another section where the water is calm. Here there is a peaceful little lake ringed by small boulders. Here there are solid patches of pines and thick sections of deciduous trees.
At George Crosby Manitou State Park’s Upper Falls, the water rages among the deciduous trees that closely hug the waterfall. While the Upper Falls at Tettegouche go straight down, the water here falls at more of a 45 degree angle along a rock face. Middle Falls looks a lot like Upper Falls.
Lower Falls is more gentle, but has the same colorful arrangement as Upper and Middle Falls. It also has a pool at its base surrounded by large boulders.
The Manitou Overlook offers the park’s most commanding view of the fall landscape. From this high vantage point, you can look down upon a wide expanse of no buildings and miles of mostly hardwoods. To complete the color scheme, the blue Lake Superior is beyond all this land.
There are many other state parks near Grand Superior Lodge, in which you can enjoy the already beautiful scenery, enhanced by the temporary colors. Fall is a good time to visit the north shore and stay at Grand Superior Lodge.