Discover the magnificent fall colors of Lake Superior’s South Shore. Days are filled with coastal and inland hikes around the Bayfield Peninsula enjoying the stark beauty of the area. Lost Creek Trail, Houghton Falls, and Frog Bay offer hikes along sea caves through hemlock forests, hidden waterfalls, the country’s first tribal national park, and endless beaches. The South Shore offers countless miles of sandy beaches, awe-inspiring sandstone formations and red clay cliffs, including dramatic sea caves. Shrouded in boreal and hardwood forest, it’s the perfect destination for fall colors and rivals any location for the country’s best leaf peeping.
ItineraryExpand All Fields
Day 1: Arrive at WI's Little Sand Bay Base Camp and take a short hike to School Bus Rock.
Your trip starts in early afternoon at Wilderness Inquiry's beautiful Little Sand Bay Base Camp. Orient yourself to the quiet North Woods on our 40 acre property and take a short hike to School Bus Rock. Get to know your guides over a glass of wine and enjoy the crisp fall air together over a fire.
Day 2: Take in scenes of stunning fall colors as you hike along cliffs towering above sea caves.
After breakfast and great coffee, spend the day enjoying the beautiful fall colors as you hike above the National Lakeshore admiring sea caves below. Set off and explore the sandy shoals of the first tribal national park in the United States. You'll also have an opportunity to visit one of the area's local orchards before spending the evening around the campfire regaling in the day's events.
Day 3: Explore the charming town of Bayfield, followed by a hike to hidden waterfalls.
Visit Houghton Falls and see why this area has attracted explorers for the last three centuries. Stop in picturesque Bayfield and experience the charming town before a picnic lunch. Discover hidden waterfalls at Lost Creek Falls before relaxing under a star filled sky with your adventure companions.
Day 4: Enjoy one final adventure before saying farewell to your trip mates.
Walk down and dip your toes in Lake Superior taking in a final vista of the clear blue waters before saying goodbye to your new friends and heading home.
Dates & Fees
What to Expect
ACCOMMODATIONS: You will enjoy your stay at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp. At night you will sleep in comfortable platform tents with cots. Typically, there are 2-3 people per 4-person tent (other arrangements can be made). Our Little Sand Bay Base Camp has very nice bathrooms and shower facilities with hot water.
TYPE OF TRAVEL/DISTANCE: Your time will be spent hiking along Lake Superior. An average day’s travel consists of 2-6 hiking hours, depending on weather conditions. Travel distances vary from 4-6 miles each day.
MEALS: We’ll enjoy preparing our meals together using fresh, healthy ingredients for bountiful dishes. Rise to the smell of freshly brewed coffee to enjoy with your breakfast of eggs, oatmeal, or granola. We’ll pack picnic lunches with hearty snacks before heading off to explore. In the evening, we’ll prepare our dinner together over stoves and campfires, and then finish with s’mores or a glass of wine. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
YOUR GROUP: As part of our ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols, all of our groups in 2021 will be made up of 3-12 people who know each other and have indicated they are comfortable traveling together and 1-2 Wilderness Inquiry guides. We welcome people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however, most people pitch in where they can.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group gear and equipment. You will be assigned the same gear for the duration of your trip and it will be sanitized between trips. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.
HEALTH PRE-SCREENING: Upon your arrival, we will perform a health screening that will include confirming that you have no COVID-19 related symptoms (for example: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat) or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 related symptoms within the last 2 weeks. We will also take each group member’s temperature daily. If COVID-19 related symptoms develop during your trip, the trip will end immediately and everyone must return home as soon as safely able.
SAFETY WHILE ON TRAIL: All participants and staff will wear masks when social distancing is not possible (i.e. cooking) or when requested by a WI staff member. Participants will provide their own transportation to/from programming sites. Participants and staff will not share vehicles. Where available, participant groups will be assigned their own bathroom for the duration of the trip. When not possible, such as in backcountry sites, cleaning between each use will be facilitated. Thorough hand washing and/or gloves and masks will be worn during meal preparation.Read more »
Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do we meet?
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: Little Sand Bay Base Camp at 1:30 PM (local time)
End: Little Sand Bay Base Camp at 1:30 PM (local time)
This trip begins at 1:30 PM at our Little Sand Bay Base Camp, near Bayfield, WI, where parking is available. The trip ends at 10:30 AM at the same location. Detailed meeting place directions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Booking a flight? We recommend flying in the night before your trip to Duluth or Minneapolis St. Paul airports, and flying out from Duluth after 2:30 PM and from Minneapolis St. Paul after 6:00 PM.
Do you have any additional health restrictions on trail?
Is this hiking trip wheelchair accessible?
Since hiking over rugged trails is a primary activity of our hiking trips, we do not recommend these trips for persons who use wheelchairs. Several of the hikes and activities are not very accessible for people who use wheelchairs.
Our canoe, kayak, and dogsled trips are generally more accessible for people who use wheelchairs. Water based travel is the great equalizer when it comes to outdoor activities. Fortunately, we have many trips to choose from.
All that said, if you use a wheelchair and are interested in going, please call to discuss the trip with us. We never want to say never!
Do I need paddling experience to join a canoe or kayak trip?
Paddling trips with WI are appropriate for beginners and seasoned paddlers alike. On the first day of all trips, basic paddling strokes will be taught by the trip leader. Each trip gives participants multiple opportunities to practice their skills. Participants with more experience will have plenty of opportunity to paddle during the trip, and even to help teach less experienced paddlers!
Could the itinerary change after I sign up?
Your trip is dependent on weather. availability, and potential other unforeseen circumstances. All itineraries online are "sample" itineraries that are subject to change. Please check your confirmation packet for the most up to date information.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
*12 weeks or more prior to the trip — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
*Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
*Less than 4 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
Our cancellation policy is based on the allocation of Wilderness Inquiry staff and resources required for your adventure upon booking. For safety and health reasons, we reserve an entire trip and resources for your small group to travel with us. Our policy, including non-refundable deposits, ensures we can continue to serve our mission long-term.
In the rare event that WI cancels your trip, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet.
We understand that certain circumstances such as death of a family member, change in health status, exposure to COVID-19, or loss of employment happen and we may make exceptions to our refund policies on a case by case basis. Please contact us if you have a unique circumstance and would like to discuss your situation.