This Is The Most Underrated Scenic Fall Overlook In Northern Minnesota
Each of those locations provided great views of Lake Superior, with the trail at Oberg Mountain also offering that iconic pond nestled among the brightly-colored trees to the northeast of the popular hiking destination. You know the one I'm talking about. You've seen it all over social media each fall, as seen below.
While both of those give some pretty breathtaking views, there's another North Shore destination that I would argue rivals - and maybe event beats when it comes to stunning panoramic scenery.
Meet the North Shore's most underrated scenic Fall overlook
What destination am I talking about? White Sky Rock Overlook, which is a spur trail off the Superior Hiking Trail just inland from Lake Superior on the North Shore.
A brief (but slightly challenging) hike not far from Lutsen, Minnesota will give you the reward of a sweeping view of Caribou Lake. This lake has a unique shape that includes a peninsula that extends well into the lake.
During the fall colors season, the shoreline and peninsula light up with brilliant fall colors, flanked to the right by the tall hill that's part of the Sawtooth Mountains that follow the Lake Superior shoreline. This offers a dramatic backdrop that is also covered with colorful trees in the fall.
How do you get to White Sky Rock?
Just north of Lutsen on Highway 61, you'll turn north on County Highway 4, which is also known as Caribou Trail. You'll follow this road for just under 4 miles to a parking area on the right side of the road. It is located in the same place as the Caribou Lake water access.
Once you're parked, you will head across Highway 4 and up the hill. When I say up the hill, I mean about 230 feet of elevation gain over the course of a hike that is about .3 of a mile in length. It isn't grueling, but it is steep in some places and the trail can be a bit challenging to navigate.
Parts of the trail will require you to climb up basketball-sized rocks and tree roots, which can be slippery from mud, even if there hasn't been any recent rain. This is all pretty commonplace for trails on the North Shore, but if you're unfamiliar, you'll want to be aware of that.
About halfway up the trail, it will fork. You'll want to take a right. There's a sign at the fork. Taking a left will continue along the Superior Hiking Trail toward Lake Agnes.
Once you're at the end of the trail, there are two different vantage points to see the spectacular view of Caribou Lake and the rest of the panoramic scenery below.
How long does the hike take?
The average person could probably complete this hike in about a half hour. That certainly doesn't include the amount of time you'll want to enjoy sitting on top of the world, enjoying the view. On days that aren't as busy, it's easy to want to spend quite an amount of time drinking in the views and maybe catching your breath after the hike.
When is the best time to visit White Sky Rock?
The view is stunning any time of year. If your goal is to see the fall colors, you'll have to keep an eye on fall colors predictions from the Minnesota DNR. Leading up to and during peak fall colors in Cook County is the best time to go. This varies a lot from year to year, but you can usually catch a pretty good show in the last week or two of September and the first week or two of October.
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Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper