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Category Archives: Oberg Mountain

Late in the day we drove over to Duluth for the evening. The following day was going to be the only nice day for a two week period. We decided to drive up the North Shore to Grand Marais with a stop at Oberg Mountain. Overnight there were some bad storms that brought many of the leaves down. Nevertheless there was some nice color. Most of the trees in the interior were on full display. There was still a lot of green along the lake.

Apparently a lot of other people had the same idea. Oberg Mountain was crowded. It was standing room only at the overlooks and the I had never seen so many cars in the parking lot. On the way around the top of Oberg we started talking with a young man that had driven from the Twin Cities overnight. He is shown in the lower left of the last photo. He was on his way to Caribou Lake and invited us along.

The following photo appears in the November 2018 Lake Superior Magazine. The article is entitled “Transitions – Celebrating Our Seasons of Colorful Conversion”.

Full color at Oberg Mountain is almost upon us. More photos of what you will find can be found on my website.


Our main destination for the day was Oberg Mountain. We always stop for a fall hike and some spectacular views of Lake Superior and the interior colors. We were a bit late for the interior colors. There had been strong winds and heavy rain in the previous few days so many of the leaves were down. The trail was in poor condition because of the mud.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs the fall leaves were not that great this year in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Everyone blamed it on the wet weather we had. Our only fall excursion in Minnesota was a short trip up the North Shore to Oberg Mountain. If you can catch the leaves just right it can be a spectacular location for photography. This was taken on an earlier visit.


This year the leaves didn’t have much color and heavy winds had taken down many of the leaves. There were a few patches of color and some nice color in the sheltered areas on the loop trail.





There are many places to photograph the fall colors in Minnesota but my favorite is Oberg Mountain. The Oberg Mountain trail is a short hike up the mountain with a circle trail at the top with stunning vistas of Lake Superior and the interior.Oberg-Mountain-13-10-_0084



Oberg Mountain

Oberg Mountain

The first time I tried to shot panoramas was at Oberg Mountain. This was several years ago but I still like to photograph panoramas at the overlooks at the top of Oberg Mountain. These are from this year. The fall color was good but not the best I’ve seen from this location. It’s all about timing.



The fall colors at Oberg Mountain were spectacular. It was probably the second best color I’ve seen at Oberg. The parking lot was full and there were lots of folks enjoying the fall colors. We were lucky because there were strong winds blowing and even stronger winds this weekend.




It’s the time of year when I start getting excited about the fall colors. Already some states have their fall color reports active. I started thinking about the places I would like to travel to this fall and came up with a list of my top 5 destinations. I’ve listed the ironwood area first because, for some reason, the leaves turn in this area before they do in any other area.

Ironwood, Michigan

Gile Flowage– is located just south of Ironwood, Michigan. What I like about Gile Flowage is that you can photograph at sunrise and sunset and get some great photos. In fact, at both times you can photograph the color of the trees and just turn around and then photograph the rising or setting sun.

Gile Flowage Sunrise


Gile Flowage Sunrise

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hillis the largest ski jump in the world and the top of the jump is nearly 1200 feet above lake Superior. On a clear day you can see for over 40 miles. Lake Superior and the Porcupine Mountains are visible from the top. The ski jump is open on weekends during fall color season.

Copper Peak International Ski Flying Hill

 Black Riveris just down the road from Copper Peak and offers some great fall views of waterfalls along the Black River.

Rainbow Falls

  Munising, Michigan

Hiawatha National Forestis located just south of Munising and offers some great photography opportunities along the many lakes in the area. The peak colors in the national forest are usually a week or so before the colors in Pictured Rocks. Most of the lakes are best photographed early in the morning. More information can be found in an earlier Blog.

Thorton Lake

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshoreoffers some spectacular photo opportunities. The fall sunset boat cruise is not to be missed. The many mile of hiking trails through the park offer a wide range of subjects for photography.

Grand Portal Point

Seney National Wildlife Refugeis located at the eastern end of Pictured Rocks and offers some great chances for sunset and sunrise photography. Large numbers of Trumpeter Swans can be found in the Refuge.

Seney National Wildlife Refuge Sunset

WaterfallsThere are a large number of great waterfalls within a short drove of Munising. This is a shot of Laughing Whitefish Falls.

Laughing Whitefish Falls

 Baraboo, Wisconsin

 Pewits Nestis located in the southern part of Wisconsin just outside Baraboo. It’s a small gorge with a stream flowing through it. The top of the gorge is covered with large maple trees. If you hit it right the maple trees are spectacular. The gorge itself is worth the trip even after most of the leaves have fallen.

Pewits Nest

Devils Lake State ParkIs also located just outside of Baraboo. It is one of the premier Wisconsin parks and a popular destination any time of the year but particularly in the fall. We usually combine the trip with a visit to Ski-Hi Fruit Farm which lies just outside the park.

Devil’s Lake State Park

Gibraltar RockIs just a short drive from Baraboo and offers some stunning views of the Wisconsin River valley. We usually combine a visit to Gibraltar rock with a trip on the Merrimac Ferry which crosses the Wisconsin River at Merrimac Wisconsin.

Gibraltar Rock

Minnesota North Shore

There are photography opportunities all along the Minnesota North Shore from Duluth, Minnesota to Grand Portage State Park on the Canadian Border. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites. The fall leaves turn first in the interior away from the lake. The Maples turn earlier than the Birch. Generally it will take several trips at different times to take in all of the fall color along the North Shore. If the leaves disappoint the Lake will not so there is always something to photograph.

 Gooseberry Falls State ParkThis is usually my first stop on any trip to the North Shore. I try to time my visit so I’m not there on a weekend because it is one of the most popular parks in Minnesota.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

 Tettegouche State Park –  They are building a new visitors center at the park so the visitors center will closed for the fall 2012 season. Lots of nice hiking trails into the back country.

Mic Mac Lake

Oberg Mountain – My favorite place for fall photographs on the North Shore. The top of Oberg Mountain offers stunning 360 degrees of the surrounding forests and Lake Superior.

Oberg Mountain

 Cascade River State Park is a great place to photograph any time of the year but it can be beautiful in the fall if the water level is high. Best photographed early in the morning or late in the day when the cascades are in the shade and provide a uniform light.

Cascade River

Grand Portage State Parkis located on the border with Canada. It offers spectacular views of the highest waterfall in Minnesota. Late in the fall color season the Birch Trees at the top of the falls turn brilliant colors. If you happen to be there late in the day the sun will highlight the fall colors while the falls is in the shade.

High Falls

 Crex Meadows

Crex Meadows stands alone as a destination for photography. It is a great place to photograph fall colors, sunrises and sunsets. It is also the one of the best locations in the country to photograph the fall migration of the Sandhill Cranes. You will want to plan on spending the night in Grantsburg, Wisconsin so you can take in the evening and morning flights of the cranes. About an hour before sunset the cranes start returning to the meadows. Folks bring their lawn chairs and just sit and watch them fly into their rousting grounds. You can return to the same location at sunrise and watch the cranes leaving to feed for the day in the surrounding fields. During the day you can drive the back roads south of town to watch the cranes feeding. Make sure you make the trip this year because if the Wisconsin creates a Sandhill Crane hunt you may not be able to see this spectacular event in future years. I have more details on photographing at Crex in an earlier Blog.

Sunset Crex Meadows

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes Sunset Flight

Oberg Mountain is a popular fall gathering place for hikers and photographers because it offers panoramic views of the fall colors along the Minnesota North Shore. We try to stop at least once each fall to hike to the top of the mountain and then hike the trail around the top. The trail provides visitors with a 360 degree view of the surrounding forest and lake Superior. The views are spectacular if you hit the fall color at its peak.

Additional Photos from Oberg Mountain can be found on my website.

Gile Flowage Sunrise

Gile Flowage Sunrise

On Monday we were up early to catch the sunrise at Gile flowage outside of Hurley, Wisconsin. This is a great place to photograph the sunrise because county highway D runs through the flowage allowing you to photograph the sun rising over the flowage (right) as well as the front lit trees (left).

Ring-billed Gull

After photographing the flowage we headed toward Ashland, Wisconsin on highway 2. The trees along the route will likely be close to peak next weekend. We photographed this Ring-billed Gull on the dock at Bayview Park in Ashland. It allowed us to walk right up to it and didn’t make any attempt to get away.

We continued to Superior on highway 2. Again the leaves likely will be near peak next weekend. The trees closer to the lake will likely peak a week later.

Tettegouche Camp Dock

Once in Minnesota we headed north on highway 61 with our first stop Tettegouche State Park. After consulting the ranger we decided to drive inland and hike to Tetegouche Camp. This is a shot across Mic Mac Lake from the camp boat dock.

After our hike we continued north along highway 61 to Grand Marais. The trees from Duluth north were not very colorful. They are mainly birch and the birch are dying, they are also being stressed by the drought along the North Shore. The strong winds of last week didn’t help matters. The water levels in the streams are very low. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera when we walked over to Gooseberry Falls. Given the fact that the parking lot was full I figured you wouldn’t be able to get a photo of the falls without people. I forgot that older folks don’t climb around the falls and the kids were in school.

Grand Marais Harbor Sunset

After a great dinner at My Sister’s we headed out to the harbor for some sunset photography. We just made it as the sun was setting. We walked out onto the breakwater where I took this shot, about a half hour after sunset, of the lighthouses with the Sawtooth Mountains in the background.

Grand Marais Harbor Sunrise

In the morning we were back at the harbor for some sunrise photography. I didn’t have a chance to scout out Artists Point for morning shots so I decided to shoot from the parking lot. This is the sun rising over the east side of the parking lot.

Juvenile Herring Gull

We had just finished shooting and I had already put my gear away when my wife asked me if I had ever seen a gull in a tree? I said no why was she asking? Well there is one in the Mountain Ash tree. I got my camera back out and took a shot of this Juvenile Herring Gull eating the berries on the Mountain Ash.

We then drove down to Oberg Mountain. This is a popular hiking destination in the fall because of the great views of the interior colors. We weren’t disappointed. The colors were some of the best we have seen. There were quite a few leaves already down but those that remained were worth the hike. We were a little surprised at the large number of people on the mountain. Normally we would expect to see these numbers on a weekend not during the week. This is a panorama shot from one of the viewpoints looking north into the interior.

Oberg Mountain

Heartbreak Hill

We took a couple of drives inland to view the great maple colors. This was taken at the top of heartbreak hill on the maple leaf drive outside of Tofte.  It got its name from the early logging days when loggers found their hearts were broken when their team could not make it up the hill.

I know it is a bummer but we expect 40 mph winds later in the week. I’m not sure what this will due to the leaves.

We then headed home. It would have been nice to stop at Betty’s Pies but the place was packed both times we passed it.