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The Best of Autumn in Duluth: 5 Must-Visit Spots

Autumn in Duluth MN

In Duluth, Minnesota, fall is a time to embrace the crisp air, the rustling leaves, and the stunning colors that transform the landscape into a picturesque wonderland. These must-see destinations capture the essence of autumn in this beautiful northern city, making it an ideal spot for a fall getaway. Whether you’re hiking through forests, taking in scenic views, or exploring historic sites, Duluth offers an unforgettable fall experience.

Visit Enger Tower in Duluth 

Enger Park and Tower, situated on Enger Hill in Duluth, Minnesota, is a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts and fall admirers. This park boasts an iconic tower that offers sweeping views of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscapes.

In the fall, Enger Park transforms into a blaze of vibrant foliage. The trees’ leaves take on fiery hues of red, orange, and gold, creating a stunning autumnal display. This season enhances the park’s allure, making it a must-visit spot for experiencing Duluth’s fall beauty.

Enger Tower
Enger Tower Duluth MN. Photo by

Enger Park Activities

Visitors can enjoy various activities in the park, including leisurely hikes along its scenic trails. The rustling of leaves and the earthy scent of autumn add to the charm of these paths. For a relaxed afternoon, consider packing a picnic and finding a peaceful spot amidst the trees or near the tower. The cool, crisp air and the colorful backdrop make it an ideal setting for an outdoor meal with loved ones.

Climbing the Enger Tower

The highlight of Enger Park is undoubtedly the tower. As you ascend its steps, you’ll be treated to a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area, with Lake Superior stretching out before you. The sight of fiery foliage in all directions is truly captivating. When visiting Enger Park during the fall, be sure to take a moment to climb the tower. It offers a unique perspective on the stunning fall scenery, making your trip to Enger Park a memorable celebration of autumn’s beauty in Duluth.

Duluth’s Lakewalk at Canal Park 

Duluth’s Lakewalk is a lovely pathway that winds along the serene shores of Lake Superior. In the fall, it becomes a tranquil and captivating route, offering picturesque views of the lake and the changing foliage. As you take a leisurely stroll along this pathway during autumn, you’ll be enveloped in a sense of peace and natural beauty.

Duluth Lakewalk
Lakewalk in Duluth MN

Duluth Lakewalk in the Fall

The fall season transforms the Duluth Lakewalk into a serene and visually striking setting. The crisp, cool air carries the distinct scent of fallen leaves, adding to the seasonal charm. The trees flanking the path burst into brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a visual spectacle that perfectly complements the natural splendor of the area.

What makes the Duluth Lakewalk particularly appealing in the fall are the stunning views it offers. As you walk along the trail, you’ll be treated to expansive vistas of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes.  Work up an appetite? Make sure to stop by Canal Park Brewing. This family-friendly neighborhood brewery and eatery serves refreshing beer and a delicious lunch. Their award-winning ales rank among the finest in the Midwest, and their diverse and hearty menu ensures there’s something to satisfy every palate.

A Peaceful Escape in Downtown Duluth 

The gentle sound of waves lapping against the shore adds to the overall ambiance, creating a soothing backdrop for your walk. It’s a sensory experience that enhances your connection to the beauty of the season. Whether you’re a local or a visitor looking to immerse yourself in Duluth’s fall charm, the Duluth Lakewalk in autumn provides a perfect setting. It allows you to relish the cool, refreshing air, witness the remarkable transformation of the landscape, and savor the breathtaking views of Lake Superior—all while basking in the tranquil allure of fall along its banks. It’s an opportunity to fully embrace the wonders of this captivating season.

Split Rock Lighthouse Along North Shore Drive 

A day trip drive outside of Duluth is an amazing way to take in the beauty of Autumn! The North Shore of Superior boasts breathtaking scenery, with eight state parks that have earned it the prestigious national designation of an “All-American Road.” Along this route, you’ll discover charming small shoreline towns that offer a delightful blend of local cuisine, including fresh fish and produce, as well as a treasure trove of unique shops and art galleries.

Split Rock Lighthouse
A View from the Shore at Split Rock Lighthouse

Visiting Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse is a historic and picturesque landmark perched on a 130-foot cliff overlooking Lake Superior in Minnesota. Built in 1910 in response to a tragic shipwreck, the lighthouse served as a crucial navigational aid for ships on the lake. It stands 54 feet tall with a classic white tower and red roof. While once operated by resident keepers, it was automated in 1969. The site also includes a visitor center with exhibits that delve into the history of the lighthouse, the lives of its keepers, and the maritime heritage of the region. Visitors can learn about the technology used in lighthouses and the vital role they played in maritime navigation.

Split Rock Lighthouse Tours

Guided tours of the lighthouse are available, allowing visitors to climb to the top and experience the remarkable view from the lantern room. The tours provide insight into the lighthouse’s history and its importance in ensuring the safety of ships on Lake Superior. See tour schedule for more information. 

Exploring Gooseberry Falls State Park 

Gooseberry Falls, located along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, was actually the very first state park established in this region, which now boasts eight beautiful state parks. It’s become a favorite spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in Minnesota.

Gooseberry Falls
Gooseberry Falls Minnesota in Autumn

Hiking in Gooseberry Falls

If you’re eager to explore the trails at Gooseberry Falls this Autumn, you’re in for a treat. The park offers a variety of trails catering to different distances and activity levels. You can start with a leisurely 1-mile, wheelchair-accessible trail leading from the visitor center to a vantage point overlooking the Upper Falls. For a popular short hike, embark on the Falls Loop, which guides you along both sides of the river and across three bridges, granting breathtaking views of the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. It’s a fantastic choice for those seeking a quick yet impressive taste of Gooseberry Falls. And if you’re craving a deeper woodland adventure, the Fifth Falls hike is recommended. This 2-mile loop takes you to the fifth set of waterfalls within Gooseberry Falls State Park. As you follow the meandering Gooseberry River, keep your eyes peeled for intriguing hidden caves along the way. Learn more with this helpful map of Gooseberry Falls hikes.

Pop in to Betty’s Pies – A Minnesota Classic

Make your return journey from Split Rock and Gooseberry even more delightful by treating yourself to one of the delectable pies offered at the famous Betty’s Pies. While all their pies are outstanding, one absolute must-try is their tantalizing Pie Shake. It’s a sweet and creamy creation that combines the heavenly flavors of their pies with the indulgence of a milkshake. Whether you’re a fan of classic fruit pies, rich and velvety cream pies, or unique specialty pies, Betty’s Pies has an array of options to satisfy your sweet tooth. So, make a pit stop at Betty’s Pies and savor a slice of heaven as the perfect ending to your North Shore autumn drive!

Betty's Pies
Photos from Betty’s Pies 

Lake Superior Maritime Museum

Let’s face it – Autumn weather in Duluth can be hard to predict! If you find yourself in need of an indoor activity, check out the Lake Superior Maritime Museum, located near Canal Park. It is a fascinating place where you can dive into the exciting maritime history of Lake Superior and the surrounding region. Through its engaging exhibits, the museum uncovers the stories of shipbuilding, shipping, and fishing that have shaped the area’s identity. Visitors can explore detailed ship models that bring the lake’s history to life and check out nautical artifacts, like old navigation tools and mariners’ clothing, which offer a glimpse into the lives of the sailors who braved the lake’s unpredictable waters.

Maritime Museum
Photo of Maritime Museum from

Duluth History & Exhibits

What makes this museum stand out is its willingness to tell the whole story. It doesn’t shy away from the challenging and sometimes tragic aspects of maritime history, shedding light on notable shipwrecks and their causes. It also pays tribute to the essential role played by lighthouses along Lake Superior’s shoreline. These beacons guided ships safely through the lake’s turbulent waters, and their history is an integral part of the region. The museum also features interactive exhibits that let you get hands-on with maritime history. You can try your hand at navigating a ship, practice tying essential maritime knots, or even watch demonstrations of maritime skills. Whether you’re a maritime enthusiast, history lover, or just curious about the Great Lakes, the Lake Superior Maritime Museum is a fantastic place to explore the region’s rich maritime heritage and its profound influence on local culture and development.

Visitor Entry Information

The museum and its grounds are owned by the U.S. federal government, and they are open to the public free of charge. While there is no admission fee, the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association gratefully accepts donations. These contributions help fund essential aspects such as maintaining the building, creating new exhibits, acquiring artifacts, and supporting staffing needs. Your support is greatly appreciated and ensures the continued vitality of the museum.

Duluth Minnesota
Visit Duluth in the Autumn

The vibrant city of Duluth has stunning landscapes and an array of autumn attractions, offering a delightful experience for visitors and locals alike. Duluth truly shines in the fall season. So, whether you’re taking in the scenic vistas, indulging in seasonal treats, or immersing yourself in the city’s history and culture, the best of Duluth’s autumn offerings are not to be missed. This beautiful city beckons with open arms, inviting you to savor the season with its natural wonders and cultural treasures. Also be sure to check out our Winter Guide to Duluth.