Minnesota is a state that just calls out to you in the fall, it doesn’t just whisper either. It knows your name and knows how to shout it. Already, we are in the running for some of the best fall color displays in the United States. But if you are busy, you just might miss your calling.
With school starting and the upswing at work, you get quite busy and forget to look outside. I challenge you, the reader, to stop for that few seconds and get your bearings, gear up the car, and head out for the last few remaining weekends to take in the spectacular view about to be put on display.
If you don’t know where to head, here is a guide to three of the best fall routes to take in Minnesota.
One of the earliest spots for a fall outing would be the George Crosby Manitou State Park. The ride up the I-35 corridor from the Twin Cities is a mere 3 hours up into the very north east corner of Minnesota. It will give you an opportunity to span the fall color map from greens in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area to the color palate of the northern shore.
George Crosby Manitou Park is a great stop in itself. It boasts some of the best hiking in the state and offers secluded (hike in only) camping sites that rival some of the best camping in the United States. It offers landscapes and waterways sure to make you smile. The Park itself is filled with birch and maples making a blend of yellows, reds and oranges mixed with that still small hint of green from the spruce and evergreens. A palate for the eyes to behold.
If you are looking for a weekend fall getaway – pack your bags and head up north. For reservations and more park information head on over to their website: www.dnr.state.mn.us
One of the favorite, but slower routes for fall color is in East Central Minnesota. If you want a lazy day drive, just head up an hour and half north of the Twin Cities and begin your fall passage at the cross of I 35 and State Highway 23.
Starting with Banning State Park, State Highway 23 rambles through countryside and sparsely populated areas winding itself north and east to the portage of Duluth. Roads are touched with colored leaves and fabulous scenery sure to embrace you with a hint of warmth yet remind you of the chill yet to come.
Before you start your journey, you can stop off at the Banning Junction restaurant for some good home cooked meals and a cup of joe which will surely set the tone for a day’s drive. When you reach Duluth, Minnesota, you can stop off at the peer and take a in a miniature bonanza of culture, restaurants and a fresh water aquatic center, capped off by the beautiful ships in the harbor.
Once you have had your fill of the harbor and its offerings, you should climb the steep trek up Mesaba Avenue and wander over to East Skyline Parkway for a look down over the hill at the fall foliage. A back drop of the massive Lake Superior at the bottom of your vision and capped with a clear, deep blue, beautiful sky– an awesome sight you surely do not want to miss.
If you have short day in mind, you can stay around the Minneapolis – St. Paul area and enjoy a day of bountiful scenery because the Twin Cities has its own bevy of city parks, bike/hike trails and scenic settings for the colorful whisperings of fall.
One of the local favorites is a chain of bike/hike trails that travel from Minnehaha Falls to Lakes Harriet and Calhoun making a family outing on a fine fall weekend day, well, a family festival of fun. Not only do you get to soak in the fall colors, you can entertain the kids with sites like Minnehaha Falls. Looking from high above on the bridge or hiking to the basin where the kids can feel the spray of the waterfall as it crashes down upon the rocks below. Just off the falls is a sandy beach pressing itself onto Minnehaha Creek offering hours of good plain fun. Within steps picnic tables and a playground offer plenty to do for energetic kids, yet parents can relax with a good cup of coffee from the park café and relish in the glorious color of the leaves.
Information on Minnehaha Creek Park: www.minneapolisparks.org
Yes Minnesota has boasting rights to some of the top fall color tours, sites and lounging areas in the United States. Best bet – make plans, whether it’s a short day’s tour of the colors in the Twin Cities, a lazy day’s drive up East Central Minnesota, or a weekend get away up the North Shore and enjoy….