Lake Superior, the northernmost of the Great Lakes, is the largest freshwater lake in the world. While the Minnesota North Shore attracts adventure seekers and their dogs year round, fall is an especially spectacular time to visit. Rocky cliffs, cobblestone beaches, rolling hills, spectacular waterfalls, and ridges covered by boreal forests make it a perfect place for leafing through and dog fun.
Duluth, the birthplace of Bob Dylan and runner-up in Outside magazine’s “World’s Best Adventure Hub” competition, has quite a show this fall. The best way to see the sparkle of the hardwood forest is to take a drive along the Skyline Parkway Scenic Byway and take in the colorful views. When you cross the parkway, the 398-mile Superior Trail and shorter city trails offer plenty of opportunities to get out and about with your dog. (Hiking maps are available from the Upper Hiking Trail Association.)
Lake Superior MagazineParkway’s list of top viewpoints includes Bardon’s Peak, Thompson Hill, Enger Tower, and Hawk Ridge. Local dog lovers point out that the area’s many cross-country ski trails are also great places to take your well-behaved dog off a leash for a walk before winter sets in. For more dog distractions, check out the on-site dog park at Keene Creek Park or take a stroll through town on the Lakewalk on the shores of Lake Superior. Dogs must be kept on a leash on Lakewalk, and you will find fountains with faucets at puppy level. The city’s Canal Park also has a lot to offer in terms of shopping and local flair. Cathy Kates, one of Duluth’s self-proclaimed “dog fanatics,” tells us that some restaurants – including Green Mill, Caribou, Little Angie’s, and Bellisio’s – host guests and their canine companions on the patio.
Pet-friendly accommodations include the historic Fitger’s Inn, a former brewery that’s now a luxury lakefront hotel (luckily there are no size restrictions or additional fees for dog guests). As you explore the Fitger’s Brewery Complex shopping mall, look out for A Place for Fido, which is geared towards active outdoor dogs. Shop owner Jamie Parent tells us that dogs are allowed in all stores, not just theirs. Pick up branded Sojos and Minnesota treats at Jamie’s for your cruise down the coast.