North Shore, located along the beautiful Lake Superior in Minnesota, is a magical place in all seasons. It stretches more than 150 miles from Duluth at the south tip of lake Superior to the Canadian Border in the north. This scenic drive is along the lake on one side and the Sawtooth Mountains on the other side, with several hundred miles of hiking trail.
One such hiking trail is the White Sky Rock hike, overlooking the Caribou Lake and the surrounding maple forests. This trail is part of the Superior Hiking Trail. I hiked it this year in order to capture the fall colors, as this is one of the recommended trails to see the fall color change. Since there are lot of maple trees, view from the overlook is amazing.
While i was there in the last weekend of September, i got to know that maples were past peak. Hence, i was not able to capture lot of red. Despite this, it was worth the hike and the view. Once i was at the overlook, i wanted to capture the view of the lake in one shot, which did not seem possible with my 18-55 mm lens. This was the widest lens i had. An ultra-wide lens would have been more ideal.
Left with no option, I decided to experiment with panorama shot. I took two shots with both shots overlapping almost 30-40%. Since this was the first time i was shooting the panorama shot with my digital SLR camera, i was little short on the experience and instead took 2 shots. Now in the hindsight, i realize that i should have taken atleast 3 shots. Later in the post-processing, i merged both the shots in Adobe Photoshop Element, and did some minor adjustments in Adobe LightRoom. Above shot is the post-processed panorama of the Caribou Lake.
How to Reach: On Highway 61, drive approximately 92 miles North of Duluth. A mile past Lutsen on the Highway 61, drive into the Caribou Trail (County Road 4) for about 4 miles. You will find the Cathedral of the Pine son the right. Drive further to find an unpaved road on the right side which is White Sky Road. There is a small parking area for car and boat launches. You will also find the trailhead sign to the White Sky Rock trail. Follow the short little trail upto the Caribou Trail Road you just came from and cross it. You will find the trail leading uphill into the woods.
Length of Trail: This is a very short hike but with an elevation gain of 230 foot. Trail-head sign mentions 0.3 miles. This is a steep hike but manageable. Half way into the hike, you will reach the junction of White Sky Rock Trail and Lake Agnes Hike. Both are part of Superior hiking Trail. Take the right for White Sky Rock Trail. Overlook is very much exposed with no guardrails. Hence, take care if you have kids.
Best Time to Visit: Fall color is definitely the best time to see maple at its peak. However, you can hike this any time of the year to get the beautiful view. This is one of my recommended hikes and it does not require lot of planning and execution time.
Let me know what do you think of my first panorama shot.
Few of my other posts on fall colors are: