Fall is in the air and the leaves are changing.  Locals know that the our north woods offer some of the best fall color sights to be seen - with bold flashes of red, robust yellows and brilliant oranges.

It seems like everyone has their own favorite drive-routes to take in all that Mother Nature is throwing our way this time of the year.  Surely the North Shore ranks high on the list - if not for the sure popularity of it.  But where else can you find those fall colors?  What if you were looking for a route that promised a little less traffic and maybe the possibility of a unique experience?

We've collected five fall color route suggestions and are offering them up as starting points for your weekend Sunday (or Saturday) Drives.  Four of them start (or end - depending on which direction you take) right here in the Twin Ports.  One of the routes would require about an hour's drive - but we've provided some lunch or dinner suggestions to make it worthwhile.


  • 1

    Highway 7: Twig To The Iron Range

    This route starts just north-west of Duluth in Twig and follows the same north-south path that Highway 53 takes - albeit a few miles to the west. Not only will you pass by miles of excellent fall colors from the hardwoods along the way, you'll also drive through the Sax-Zim Bog and experience the yellows of the Tamarack trees.

    Google Maps
  • 2

    Highway 210: Carlton To The Cayuna Range (Highway 169)

    This route starts just a little south of the Twin Ports - off I-35 in Carlton.  Follow Highway 210 to the west and you'll pass through some fantastic displays of the north woods - right along the highway.  210 eventually T-bones with Highway 169 and you could use that as a turn-around spot - or - you could continue on to Crosby, Deerwood and Brainerd.

    Google Maps
  • 3

    Highway 23: Fond Du Lac To Sandstone

    This route begins just past Gary-New Duluth in the Fond Du Lac neighborhood - right where the Jay Cooke State Park touches the city limits.  Highway 23 offers a great drive through the woods - eventually ending in Sandstone at I-35.   If you take this route, make sure you stop and take in the view from the scenic overlook near Wrenshall.

    Google Maps
  • 4

    Highway 35: South Superior To Danbury

    This route starts just to the south of Superior  and allows for some great views along the way.  Highway 35 passes through Pattison State Park which is also worth a stop and exploration.

    Google Maps
  • 5

    Highway 5: Chisholm Through Side Lake

    This is the outlier of the suggested routes - as it doesn't begin within the Twin Ports Metro.  That said, it's a worthwhile drive.

    Highway 5 starts just to the west of Chisholm and if you follow the path north you'll eventually pass through the Side Lake and Big and Little Sturgeon Lake areas.  Deep hardwoods and majestic pines like the path - with a multitude of lakes, rivers and streams along the way.

    My suggestion?  Make a day of it.  Drive up from Duluth and stop for lunch in Chisholm at one of the local restaurants like Choppy's or Valentini's.  Then - head out on Highway 5.  Later, stop at Bimbo's Octagon or Riverside for dinner.

    Google Maps