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 trip mates 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. On some days, we will travel by van or car to local farms.
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: The group size ranges from 6 to 18 participants, plus 2-3 Wilderness Inquiry guides. Each group consists of 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 equipment. 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. Also, looking into gear rental options can be a cost effective option.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. Van transportation between Minneapolis or Duluth and Little Sand Bay is typically not available. 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. Call us at 612-676-9400 if you have questions.
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!
I am riding in the Wilderness Inquiry van to the trip starting point. Where can I park my car?
Wilderness Inquiry has no participant parking available in our lot. We recommend you make arrangements to be dropped off and picked up at WI. If you are unable to make a drop off/pick up arrangement, you can park your car near WI for $5-10/day. Long-term street parking is not available.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
We require a nonrefundable deposit of 10% of the trip fee or $100, whichever is smaller. So, for example, if the trip fee is $250, the deposit would be $25. If the trip fee is $3995, the deposit would be $100.
If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— 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 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, 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. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!