MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

All quiet up north

Like the leaves, room rates have dropped.

Devil's Kettle in C.R. Magney State Park.

© Beth Gauper

All across the north woods, lodge owners are heaving a sigh of relief: The fall-color rush is over.

But that doesn't mean lodges don't want guests. So they've dropped their rates by up to half until the holiday and ski seasons start.

It's just one reason the last week of October and first week of November is my favorite time to hike on Minnesota's North Shore (pictured, the Brule in late October); also, mud freezes on the trails and curtains of leaves fall back to reveal new views of Lake Superior.

Rates are the lowest until the spring slush season. Rooms start at $45 at good old Cascade Lodge near Lutsen, but this is a good time to try the pricier spots: the East Bay Suites in Grand Marais, where a two-bedroom, two-bath and two-fireplace suite that sleeps six goes for $189 on weekends, or the new Surfside on Superior near Tofte, which has a spa and two-bedroom suites for $155.

Lutsen Resort, which rents lodge rooms, log cabins, condos, villas and townhouses, is one of many places that offer a third night free. For more, see Quiet time on the North Shore. Rates finally have come down in Duluth, too; check its Hot Deals.

After Minnesota's firearms deer season starts Nov. 5, head for the north woods of Wisconsin, where the gun season doesn't start until Nov. 19. Rates drop there, too.

This is perhaps the best time to hike along the cross-state Ice Age National Scenic Trail; fallen leaves brighten the forest floor and make it easier to pick out the landforms created as the Wisconsin Glacier began its retreat.

Last updated on October 26, 2011