superiortrails superiortrails - shovel point

Fall Foliage Tours, Fall Peak Color Report,
Scenic Color Drives Along Lake Superior Circle Route

porcupine mountains in fall color
View from Summit Peak, Porcupine Mountains
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Park

Best Scenic Fall Color Drives Around/Along Lake Superior
Fall Color Pictures

Western Upper Peninsula Fall Color Scenic Drives along Lake Superior

Fall Color Black River Harbor
invisibleScenic Byway & Recreation Area

Presque Isle Scenic Recreation

Porcupine Mountains State Park

Keweenaw Copper Harbor

Old Victoria Restoration

Fall Color Tahquamenon Falls

Color Drives Central Upper Peninsula

Maps Scenic Drives Fall Foliage Color Tours

Wisconsin Fall Color Drive Map

Michigan UP Fall Color Drive Map


Wisconsin Fall Color Scenic Drives along Lake Superior

Potato River Falls County Park

Bayfield & Ashland, Wi Area

Bayfield Orchard Tour

Copper Falls, Mellen, Wi Area

Amnicon Falls, Superior, Wi Area

North Shore Fall Color Scenic Drives; Fall Color Duluth, Minnesota

Scenic Highway 61 Fall Color

Moose Mountain Fall Color

Skyline Drive & Seven Bridges Road

Scenic Railroad Fall Color Train

Peak Fall Color Reports - 2014

Fall Color Report Overview

Fall Color Bayfield to Ironwood Scenic Drives

Fall color Black River Harbor Scenic Byway
Along the Black River Harbor
Scenic Byway.
Photo by Tim Zheng

* See our regional tourism and weather report links midway down the page.

Peak Fall Color is here in many parts of the Lake Superior Region and from this point on will allow you to enjoy some color and fall foliage across the region in the US side of the lake. (See our fall color updates lower below this section)

Rain today and cooler weather during this coming week should help hold the leaves on the trees.

One color trip we've enjoyed in the past and would be a great one this year is a scenic waterfalls color tour in Northern Wisconsin and the western Upper Peninsula. This route takes in Copper Falls State Park, Potato River Falls, the falls along the Black River Harbor Scenic Byway, and the water falls along the Presque Isle River in the western park of Porcupine Mountains State Park.

The Porkies are at peak now and if you go there don't miss the view from the top of Summit Peak and from the Lake of the Clouds Overlook. Peak color traditionally arrives late September, early October in the Keweenaw Peninsula. In the central UP a scenic fall drive I'd recommend is the H58 county road between Munising and Grand Marais, Michigan. Also consider a Pictured Rocks Boat Tour, in addition to the amazing painted rocks you'll get to see some nice leaf color as a backdrop. Tahquamenon Falls is beautiful at this time of year and should be near peak color soon.

In Minnesota Peak Color arrives in late September away from the lake and into the first week in October near the lake. We've found the best fall color along Scenic Highway 61 on Minnesota's North Shore is generally from Silver Bay to Lutsen, with hikes or a gondola ride to tops of mountain peaks giving the best color or a drive inland away from the lake. Some years along the North Shore you get a second season of fall color in October as the birches, aspen, and tamarack turn (always later than Maples, Oaks, and Hickories).

In Wisconsin, from Superior near Amnicon Falls to Ashland peak color usually arrives the last week in September and first two weeks in October. Sometimes peak color arrives at the same time as the annual Bayfield Apple Festival (the first weekend in October); other year's it is a little later, more towards mid-October.

See our 2014 Fall Color Report Updates below for more any more recent updates. Below our color report update are some links to regional tourism websites as well as weather reports from selected spots around Lake Superior.

Planning your Fall Color Tour Vacation. In addition to watching this space, also see our links to fall color reports from last year and earlier years to give you a better idea of when the color changes and when peak color arrives in the area of your interest.

ball Learn More about the best fall color drives around Lake Superior

triangle See weather report links for selected areas around Lake Superior


Fall Color Report Summary - October 5th

You'll see from reading the report below that most areas around Lake Superior are near, at, or just past peak color.

But that doesn't mean you've missed the color season
1) Because some tree species don't turn until October (Aspen, Birch, Beech, some Oaks). So some areas like Bayfield to Superior along Highway 13 won't reach peak color until week two or three in Octobr.

2) we've noticed in our travels that trees and foliage on or near the actual lakeshore or lining river beds and near waterfalls tend to turn a week or so later than the same species that are along the roadway. Just three days ago we were in Norhern Wisconsin and the UP. While the color was great, there also were areas with lots of still green foliage yet to completely turn.

From what we've seen in our recent travels, more so than many falls in our recollection, the leaves will hang on the trees longer and extend the color season another week or two beyond normal.

Get out of the car and take a walk on one of Lake Superior's many remote beaches and you'll see some color you won't see along the road.

Another tip to find the best fall color scenery. If you enjoy walking and hiking, in Wisconsin check out the hiking trails along Amnicon Falls and Copper Falls (both State Parks). In Michigan's Upper Peninsula hike the waterfall trails of the Black River Harbor Recreation Area or the Waterfall trails in Porcupine Mountains State Park. There's a nice walking trail between the upper and lower Falls in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. In Minnesota try the hiking trail from the Tettegouche Park Visitor Center to the top of Shovel Point or the Cascade River trail from Highway 61 in Cascade River State Park. All the waterfalls in these areas are flowing quite strongly and with the splashes of color nearby there still is plenty of good scenery left this Autumn.

Fall Color Report Update - October 1st

Upper Peninsula

Sandy Richardson at Porcupine Mountains State Park reports full color in many parts of the park. This past weekend and perhaps next weekend the park is also offering chairlift rides up to the top of the ski hill. I expect good color to persist til at least the coming weekend

The drive between Grand Marais and Munising on H58 through Pictured Rocks National Park should be showing good color this this coming week and into October. Theresa at Tahquamenon Falls State Park reports very good color now and expects full color breaking out by this coming weekend. If leaves hold may see color into second week.

Close to the Wisconsin border in the western UP and near Ironwood and Black River Scenic Byway color is now at peak and could hold good color for a week or more.

We are still waiting for a report from Houghton and the Keweenaw but based on past records they should be showing some good color this week and this weekend.

Over closer to Sault Sainte Marie in the far Eastern Upper Peninsula color is starting on the US side and showing nicely in Ontario.


Hurley is between 80 and 100% and Ashland is between 50 and 70%. Copper Falls State Park is excellent right now, near peak, but I expect good color for at least another week. US Highway 2 between Ashland and Superior is showing good color in places and is at about 70%, perhaps a little more in the Brule River State Forest. So color this coming week and weekend should be good in the northern counties of Iron and Ashland. Since good color is showing all across Northern Wisconsin, if you are driving up from central or southern Wisconsin you'll have some nice color on the drive up as well. See our Lake Superior Wisconsin Fall Color Map and our Wisconsin Fall Color Tours page for recommended scenic fall color tour drives.

The drives around Bayfield and Highway 13 going west towards Superior, Wisconsin won't see peak color for at least a week or two but if you are going to Apple Fest next weekend a drive through the Bayfield Orchards area should be showing some splashes of bright color.


Grand Portage Park on the Minnesota/Ontario Border is near 100% peak and the waterfalls should be an impressive addition to your visit. Kjersti at Cook County Visitors Bureau reports things looking brilliant right now and expects peak in the coming week, but also she expects the color seaon to extend for an additional week or two in October. From Split Rock State Park to Cascade River State Park color change is between 75 and 100%. The best and earliest fall color is often away from the lake. Stop in the visitor centers at Tettegouche and Temperance River State Parks for color tour maps. This coming week and weekend should be excellent for riding tthe Lutsen Mountain Gondola to the top of Moose Mountain.

Duluth to Two Harbors remains a week or two from excellent color. The next two weekends should be good color scenery. Areas along the North Shore with lots of Aspen and Birch generally don't show good color change until into October.


Because most of the hardwoods in the boreal forests of Ontario are Aspen and some birch you don't see much color change around Thunder Bay and north until October. On the eastern end between Sault Sainte Marie and Wawa, where the forest has more variety, expect some good color around the end of September and first week or two of October.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Rainfall in September along the south shore of Lake Superior has been ample which I think means that the leaves will hang on the trees a while. It also means the areas with attractive waterfalls - like Copper Falls State Park, Black River Scenic Byway. Presque Isle River (Porcupine Mountains), and Tahquamenon Falls - will be especially attractive with roaring waterfalls and decent fall color and foliage.(See links to these areas near the top of this page).

triangle For useful historical comparisons, see More Fall Color Reports covering our reports from 2010 to 2013

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Have a color report to pass along or a question - write me

Ross Reinhold -


Fall Color & Tourism
Regional Tourism & Peak Fall Color Report Links:

Michigan UP: Copper Harbor
Keweenaw Visitors Bureau
Western UP Visitors Bureau
Bayfield, WI Fall Colors
Superior-Dougles County Fall Color Updates
Minnesota: DNR NorthShore Parks
Ontario North Shore:
Ontario North East Shore:

Regional Weather from the Weather ChannelWeather Channel Links:
Ironwood, Michigan UP
Houghton, Keweenaw Peninsula Michigan UP
Marquette, Michgan UP
Sault Saint Marie, Michigan UP
Ashland-Bayfield Peninsula, Wisconsin
Duluth, Minnesota
triangleGrand Marais, Minnesota
triangleWawa, Ontario Canada
triangleThunder Bay, Ontario Canada

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

"A growing season with ample moisture that is followed by a rather dry, cool, sunny autumn that is marked by warm days and cool but frostless nights provides the best weather conditions for development of the brightest fall colors," - - - Learn more from this article from the PBS News Hour's website. - Reinhold Development - 2015

Lake Superior Circle Tour Travel Planner

bay furnace campground
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory

Lake Superior Circle Tour Route

duluth harbor and lift bridge
Things to Do and See in Duluth, Minnesota

Apostle Islands
See the lighthouses on an Apostle Islands Cruise

Piorcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds
Outstanding Fall Color Porcupine Mountains Lake of the Clouds scenic overlook.

rainbow falls - color tour
Fall Color & Waterfalls along Black River Harbor Scenic Parkway

Upper Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers some of the best fall color in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

Madeline Island Big  Bay Park
Enjoying the great swimming Beach Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island

Travel Information

lake superior circle tour map
Lake Superior Circle Tour Road Map & Guide to Travel Attractions around Lake Superior

Lake Superior Agate?Identifying Lake Superior Agates and Beach Rocks.

Walking along Canal Park Drive
Duluth's Canal Park, Shopping and Entertainment District

Enger Park Tower
Duluth's Enger Park Tower provides a panaramic view of the city of Duluth.

Oberg Mountain Oberg Lake
Fall Color Hikes along Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive.

Camping and Campgrounds Around Lake Superior
Lake Superior Camping
& Campground Directory

Lake Superior Circle Tour Route

About the Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail offers some of the best fall color and winter hikes in the midwest.

Golf Courses Around Lake Superior
See our
Reviews of golf courses around Lake Superior