Stunning Fall Photo by Karen Oothoudt.

The Fall season is a very short season in Minnesota, but it is one that you will want to take advantage of. Right now the leaves are stunning in the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area.  This week we have reached peak leave color. This is the golden opportunity for you to head north for a weekend getaway or mini vacation to experience autumn adventures in Minnesota’s nature.  But don’t delay Fall is a very short season and you won’t want to miss out on all of the fun and beautiful colors!  Check out the MN DNR Fall Color Map to see the optimized leaf colors.

IMG_0645Hike in Minnesota’s Nature

The Grand Rapids, Minnesota area has millions of public land to access for hiking.  Between the Itasca County land, UPM Blandin Paper Company Land and the Chippewa National Forests, you will find a lot of designated trails to hike. While on these trails you will see Minnesota native animals and birds like, Deer, Squirrels, Chipmunks, Minnesota birds like Eagles, Hawks and Owls, and the occasional porcupine and raccoon. The accessible forest land is a mixed geography from lowland bogs and hardwood and pine forests that intertwine with area streams, rivers and lakes. There are over 1,000 area lakes in Itasca County to enjoy. Many of these lakes are located in remote locations and access is foot travel only. Check out the hiking trail maps in the area.

Mary Shideler, The Kayak Lady

Mary Shideler, The Kayak Lady

Kayaking the Rivers and Small Lakes

There is something very special about kayaking on water in the fall.  Grand Rapids, Minnesota is a Mississippi River town. The mighty Mississippi runs right through town. This allows for a wonderful opportunity to paddle and access the river right from town.  The Mississippi at this point in the river is not as wide and very clean. Many parts of the river around Grand Rapids you can see to the bottom, and depending on the depth of the river, you might be able to walk across it at some points. The local paddle store, Paddle Hoppers, can help you with equipment rentals and guided tours if you don’t own equipment. Their store is located right on the Mississippi and allow for portage access from their location. Another river to consider is the Bigfork River just north of Grand Rapids approximately 40 minutes. You can access the river off of Hwy 38 which is also the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway or you can access north of Deer River off of Hwy 6. Both of these are beautiful drives in the fall. With over 1,000 area lakes in Itasca County, there are lots of opportunity to paddle. Some lakes to consider are Caribou Lake (just 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids), Wabana and Trout Lakes (north of Grand Rapids approximately 20 minutes north of Grand Rapids), and Coon and Sandwick Lakes within the Scenic State Park east and north of Grand Rapids 45 minutes). These are all smaller lakes with good access for kayaks. A good book to purchase is Mary Shideler;s The Kayak Lady, which will give you an in depth perspective of kayaking in the Grand Rapids, MN area.

ATV is fun for all ages!

ATV is fun for all ages!

Ride ATV

Itasca County has over 300 miles of designated ATV Trails to ride.  These trails are groomed and maintained by volunteer ATV Club members.  These trails are funded in part by Minnesota Grant-in Aid. Funding comes from registrations from four wheelers, side by sides and trailers; if you are a non-Minnesota resident you will need to purchase a year long registration to use the trails. The geography of our trails differs widely based on where you ride. Riding in the Chippewa National Forest is a mix of logging roads with spur trails created to access bar & grilles, gas stations and lodging properties.  Then riding on the Blandin trails you will experience hardwood and pine forest trails and logging road access. Then when you ride to the east and south you will access the Alborn and Rabey Line that are old railroad grade trail. In these sections you will get a mix of golden tamarack bogs, hills coming off of the UPM Blandin Trail that run through hardwood and pine forests.  It is a beautiful time of year to be in the forests.

Remember, don’t delay, book today for some amazing autumn adventures in Minnesota’s nature. For more information about the Grand Rapids, Minnesota area, check out Download the FREE Itasca County ATV Map today to view all of the trails, access, parking and places to stay.