Fall Color Drives from Larsmont Cottages

Fall colors

Larsmont Cottages is a perfect base camp from which to explore the fall foliage. From here it is an easy drive to explore the colorful hills around Gooseberry Falls and Tettegouche State Park. It is also an easy trip to explore the somewhat more urban hills of Duluth.

While there are great views of fall colors in the flat areas along the shore, there are good reasons to head to the hills. The ridgeline that runs parallel to the shore belongs to a special vegetation zone perfect for colorful trees.

Labeled “northern hardwood-conifer” by regional experts Chel Anderson and Adelheid Fischer, this zone contains an abundance of colorful deciduous trees including many of the coveted maple trees. Anywhere along the ridgeline is great, but here are a couple of nice fall color ridge drives near Larsmont Cottages.

Duluth’s Skyline Parkway is the first of our fall color drives. This drive begins 16 miles away at the intersection of Superior Street and Occidental Blvd in East Duluth. This drive goes around the backside of Duluth and shows you many sides of the city, including parts which hardly look like a city at all.

On the first section of Skyline Blvd, you might feel like you are hundreds of miles from populated areas. You start up Seven Bridges Road, and start your climb into the hills. Along the way you are constantly passing over a cascading river. After the first bridge, there is only one building until after Hawk Ridge.

After the Seven Bridges Road section, you start up the gravel road section of Hawk Ridge. Here you climb quickly and catch occasional glimpses of Lake Superior. When you reach the top, you will want to slow down, because of the bird watching crowd. Here things open up.

Now you can look down at all the trees leading down to the lake. Here you might be able to see the lines where the tree types change. You’ll also find a wide, commanding view of the Lake.

After Hawk Ridge, the trip becomes a mixture of natural and city scenery. Here you go through quaint Duluth neighborhoods with beautiful houses among the trees. There also are spots where you are looking straight down at Duluth’s lakeside industrial areas.

The section of Skyline Blvd near Enger Tower is a particularly great part of this journey. Here you can look at all the fall colors on the hills and the city beneath the tall cliffs. After this section, Skyline stays colorfully scenic for many more miles in less populated areas.

While the Skyline tour is a partly urban and partly wooded experience, the next tour is pure wild. It is long but will take you through many miles of rugged, beautiful, and colorful scenery.

For the Finland-Schroeder loop, start by going up Highway 61, past Silver Bay and Tettegouche State Park. Then, make a left on Highway 1 toward Finland. As soon as you get on Highway 1, the road goes steeply into the hills. You will pass over a tall ridgeline and then pass through flatter land on the way to Finland.

At Finland, you can make a right on Highway 7 and follow this until you make a right on highway 8, back toward 61.

Along this drive, there are long sections without any houses. You will be riding looking up at tall colorful ridges, often driving beside streams or lake. These streams are often surrounded by marshy wetlands. Beyond these clearings are thick woods.

After about 27 miles, you will end up back by the lake in the little town of Schroeder. From here you can take Highway 61 back to Larsmont.

Back at the resort, you may dream of all these colored hills. Fall is a great time to visit the northland and it’s even better if you get out and take it all in.