The kids are back in the school which means fall is fast approaching here in tranquil Northern Minnesota. Although the rousing summer months have come and passed, everyone’s favorite cozy season is nearly here! Autumn brings pumpkin spice lattes, hayrides, apple picking, harvest festivals, and, of course, the breathtaking blend of fall foliage in our vast wilderness. There’s still ample time to book a fall getaway to one of the premier Northern Minnesota resorts: Big Sandy Lodge & Resort, nine miles north of McGregor. We have handpicked three area locales that are ideal for leaf-peeping, hiking, picnics, photography, and water activities.

Savanna Portage State Park

Savanna Portage State Park remains one of Northern Minnesota’s premier hidden gems. This secluded, lush wilderness offers the area’s best hiking trails and wildlife viewing. Some of the brightest color in this state park can be witnessed on the Continental Divide and Wolf Lake trails, although the highlight of Savanna Portage is the Lake Shumway loop. The Lake Shumway Trail features rolling hills, lake vistas, and a breathtaking bog walk where hikers will often spot otters, swans, deer, beavers, birds, and muskrats. If you only have an hour or two to spare, Lake Shumway is the trail of choice. Loon Lake and Beaver Pond are easier trails for those looking for a leisurely stroll. Big Sandy Lake has the only Northern Minnesota resorts within 10 miles of beautiful Savanna Portage.

Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Only locals know the beauty of the Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, a mostly vacant park with stunning wildlife, marshland, a hardwood forest, and grassland. Pack a picnic and explore the tranquility of Rice Lake by embarking on a moderate 6.2-mile hike through the lush refuge. The 6.2-mile hike is split into shorter loops with multiple parking opportunities, so most visitors choose to hike a mile or two. We highly recommend parking at Rice Lake and completing the 6.2-mile loop that passes Mandy Lake, Twin Lakes, and the North Bog – you’ll be rewarded with bright yellow grasslands, picturesque lake views, and peaceful hardwood strolls. The refuge is the home to many woodland animals, such as owls, deer, porcupines, raccoons, hawks, bald eagles, waterfowl, and black bears.

Big Sandy Lake

Big Sandy Lodge & Resort, unlike many Northern Minnesota resorts, is steps away from a memorable autumn lake adventure. Take the family on a lazy pontoon ride around the island chains and through the many coves. Big Sandy Lake is encircled by stunning fall foliage every harvest, making our resort a popular fall fishing, kayaking, and canoeing destination. Enjoy the beautiful foliage with a picnic on Emerald, Frog, or Battle Island! Experienced kayakers and canoers can access Aitkin Lake, Sandy River Lake, and Flowage Lake via nearby connecting rivers. Start planning your autumn getaway to Big Sandy Lake by dialing 1-218-426-5040 or visiting our up-to-the-minute website!