Where to See Fall Colors in the Brainerd Lakes Area
Fall is the perfect time to visit the Brainerd Lakes Area and enjoy the glorious colors of autumn! Don’t delay booking your fall up north vacation. Fall color likely will pop early this year with the stresses of the heat and drought. In fact, some trees are already turning. Read more to find the best places to view fall colors.
Drive County Road 77
County Road 77 makes a loop around Gull Lake and is a very scenic drive, especially on the west end of the lake. Stop and grab lunch along the way! These resorts and restaurants are along—or near—County Road 77.
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway
Drive the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway and make stops in Jenkins, Pequot Lakes, and Crosslake. You’ll also traverse some scenic nature spots where you can see fall foliage, nature, and makes some stops at the interpretive kiosks to learn about the area. Check out the scenic byway map as you plan your route.
Paul M. Thiede Fire Tower Park
Just outside of downtown Pequot Lakes is the Paul M. Thiede Fire Tower Park. Here, you can walk the fire tower trail and the wildlife loop and see the fall colors. After, you can have a picnic at the pavilion.
If you’re feeling brave, climb the 135 steps to the top of the 100 ft. fire tower and see a panoramic view of the fall colors.
Brainerd Zip Line Tour
Fall is the perfect time to get a bird’s eye view of the Brainerd Lakes Area and see the peak leaves. The zip line tour is an exhilarating way to see Gull Lake and the surrounding area while soaring through the trees. Two guides will safely lead you and your group through a thrilling 2.5 hour outdoor adventure! The tour has 7 zip lines, a suspension sky bridge, and a 50-foot free fall experience.
Gull Lake Cruises
Take a public cruise aboard Gull Lake Cruises and see the vibrant hues reflect off the blue waters of Gull Lake! They offer a variety of cruises (live music, brunch, dinner, and sightseeing).
Bike parts of the Paul Bunyan Trail—the longest bike trail in the state at 115 miles—that winds through the Crow Wing State Park, south of Brainerd/Baxter, and heads north through Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, and Pine River. Along the route you will see wildlife, the fall hues of red, orange, and yellow as the leaves pop. Stop at any of the downtowns along the way!
The Gull Lake Trail is a multiuse trail around Gull Lake connecting into downtown Nisswa with scenic fall views.
If you need bike rentals, check out Up North Bike Rentals. They offer a variety of rentals, including e-bikes, and bike trailers, too, so even the youngest riders can come along. Easy Riders Bicycle and Sport Shop in Brainerd offers riders bike service & repair for all brands of bicycles, plus they carry a large inventory of new bicycles.