Fall Colors In Minnesota: The Leech Lake Area Fall Color Drive
October 13, 2016
The Fall colors are reaching their peak in the Leech Lake area, and with our wide variety of small county roads and narrow highways, the area is the perfect place to take a fall color drive. Enjoy a day passing beneath and along the colorfully shrouded pavement as you enjoy the natural beauty of the area. From Walker to Bemidji along lake-shores, forest roads, state forests and more, the Leech Lake Fall Color Drive is the perfect way to spend a day and provides many opportunities to stretch your legs on hiking trails and enjoy the colors of fall from up close. Our route is customized based on our experience to provide you with some of the best roadside color and scenery in the area. So take a drive up to Leech Lake get a lakeside cabin and spend the day on the road enjoying the beauty of fall.
Minnesota State Highway 200
Start your fall color drive off in Walker and head out along the southwestern tip of Leech Lake on Highway 371, where you will get some great views of the now colorful leaves reflecting off the clear waters on your way to MN 200. On MN 200 you will proceed east along the southern edge of Leech Lake on this colorful road with plenty of opportunities to explore tree shrouded county roads as you move towards County Rd 8 NE.
County Rd. 8 Northeast
After passing along the southern edge of Leech Lake you will turn north on County Rd. 8 NE, where the in the Chippewa National Forest the dark green of the intermingled pine tress against the changing colors of the roadside deciduous trees truly make the reds and yellows pop. Just before you reach Bena we recommend a detour on Forest Road 3033 left off of County Rd 8. The trees stretch over top the entirety of this narrow dirt road and offering a wonderful tunnel of oranges, reds, and yellows. This small forest road will take you directly to your next destination – US 2.
US 2 will take you west towards Bemidji and out of the Chippewa National Forest and towards the famous Paul Bunyan and Babe Statues of Bemidji. However if you feel like a more nature filled stroll along the shores of this lake we recommend you turn right onto Roosevelt Rd SE as you enter town and then North on Lake Ave SE along the shores of Lake Bemidji as you make your way to the Picturesque and colorful Lake Bemidji State Park. After enjoying the color make your way south Towards US 71 and back to beautiful Leech Lake.
This route is straight and fast with colorful crimsons looming behind golden fields as you make your way back to Walker and the same State highway you started your Minnesota fall color drive on. As you reach Kabekona Corner take MN 200 back east towards Leech Lake. Don’t worry the rest of the route wont be wide highway, soon you will be entering a state forest.
Minnesota State Highway 64
Take a right on MN 64 and head south into the beautiful birch lined highway of the Paul Bunyan State Forest. This route offers a truly wide array of intense shades of yellow as you pass by the whitened birch trees along it’s edges. This narrow highway through the Paul Bunyan Forest is the quintessential Minnesota fall highway drive, with gentle hills, colorful skies and gentle turns. Now put an end to the gentle turns, and enter a winding Minnesota county road.
Blue Trail Forest Road
Just after you pass Kabekona Road keep an eye out for Blue Trail Forest Road and turn left off of Highway 64 onto this winding path. The trees envelop the entire path and offer a wonderful sight. This little traveled road offers some beautiful colors and little traffic so you can slow down and enjoy them at your leisure. Then turn north onto Parkway forest road and make your way north to County Highway 39 and then 38, back to the gorgeous lakeside town of Walker where your started your beautiful Leech Lake Fall Color Drive.
The Leech Lake Fall Color Drive offers the route to our favorite fall color tour on little traveled and little known roads (Many don’t even have a street view in google!) that offer some of the biggest color in the area. It takes you through National and State Forests, State Parks, and Small towns, along lake-shores, past shops, and much more. All while enjoying the many hues fall has to offer. So enjoy it with your windows up when there is a chill, or down as the sun comes out and the air warms. We hope you enjoy the fall colors and the Leech Lake Fall Color Drive as much as we do.
Looking for lodging, want great fall rates? Explore all our options on the Lodging page. We hope to see you soon.