Best Places to Check Out Fall Colors in MN
September 24, 2019
The Leech Lake area is famous for its fantastic fall colors. The hundreds of acres of state & national parks and forests, such as Chippewa National Forest and Itasca State Park, as well as the miles and miles of world-class hiking and walking trails, make Cass County the perfect place to take in the beauty of fall in the Northland.
If you’re planning a trip to catch the fall colors yourself, we have some insider tips on the best places and ways to find the most memorable views!
Chippewa National Forest
Established over 110 years ago, the Chippewa National Forest is one of the earliest National Forests, and the first to be established east of the Mississippi. It occupies more than 1.5 million acres of preserved and protected forest land, nestled right in the heart of Northern Minnesota.
The Forest offers nearly 300 miles of trails that wind throughout its trees and wetlands. You can find an online, interactive trail map by using the National Forest Service’s Interactive Visitor Map tool.
For those who seek to truly immerse themselves in the colors of fall, camping sites are available throughout the forest as well! Developed campgrounds (with electricity, a picnic table, fire ring, and parking) can be reserved for $14 to $26 per night. Backcountry camping sites are also available for those who prefer to “rough it” — these are free and cannot be reserved. Find more information on camping in Chippewa here!
Deep Portage Learning Center
Located in Hackensack, MN, Deep Portage is a combination of an environmental education center and outdoor recreation center. You’ll not only learn about the surrounding environment, but also have plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy it. When the fun is done, head inside the center for a delicious, family-style, home-cooked meal.
Surrounded by ten miles of forests and lakes, Deep Portage offers programs and activities including canoeing, archery, rock climbing, and bird-watching. It’s a great choice for families who plan to make a trip up North, as there’s truly something for everyone!
For those looking to simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the fall colors in a more relaxed atmosphere, consider a visit to Forestedge Winery! As the name implies, Forestedge is located on the edge of the Paul Bunyan National Forest, meaning you’re just a short walk away from one of the largest State forests in Minnesota.
Not only does the winery offer 21 award-winning varieties of wines, with ingredients and infusions ranging from blueberries to rhubarb, but plenty of outdoor seating is available. You’ll enjoy not only the sights and sounds of fall, but also the tastes and smells as well!
As you can see, there are many, many ways to enjoy the fall colors in the Leech Lake area, whether you’re interested in a long weekend camping trip, or taking it easy with a glass of wine. For even more ideas on ways to check out the fall colors, stop by our Attractions page for a full list of forests, parks, trails, and more.