Autumn sweeps across the upper Midwest like a blaze. Lakes and rivers shimmer in the Autumn sun add to the beauty. It’s time for a leaf-peeping trip.
One of the best ways to enjoy the views is on a chairlift ride to the top of the ski hill. Here’s some of the best leaf-peeping in Midwest ski country.
Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains offers the uniqueness of a gondola ride to the top of Moose Mountain. Get breakfast and lunch at the Summit Chalet while enjoying views of Lake Superior, 1,000 feet below, and the colorful Sawtooth Mountains. It is open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Oct. 11 and Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 15-18. Cost is adult $15, senior (62+) $12.50, and child (7-12) $10. Six and under free with paid adult.
Granite Peak at Rib Mountain State Park in northern Wisconsin rises over 700 feet above the surrounding countryside offering splendid fall views that seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. It overlooks the city of Wausau and Wisconsin River. Chairlift rides run weekends Sept. 26-27, Oct. 3-4 and 10-11 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The cost is $9 per person.
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan offer stunning valley views from the tops of the ski hills. Once on top you can enjoy the views and take the lift back down, hike trails back down or jump on the cross-country mountain bike trails. The cost at both resorts is $5 per ride, per person. Bikes are included.
Fall hours for Boyne Mountain’s chairlift are Friday, 4-8 p.m., Saturday, noon-8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through mid-October. Boyne Highlands’ hours are Sept. 12-27, Saturday noon-7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m-5 p.m., and Oct. 3-18, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. you can enjoy sandwiches and a micro-brew on top at the appropriately named Eagle Nest at Boyne Mountain. Chairlift rides are complimentary to house guests.
Crystal Mountain also offers scenic chairlift rides to the top of the ski hill on Saturdays through October from 11 a.m-1 p.m. Panoramic views overlook the Buck Hills and Betsie River Valley. You can ride back down or hike colorful trails back to the bottom. Live music will be performed at the top. Cost is $6 per person. Kids eight and under are free as are house guests.
Treetops is offering fall color chairlift rides overlooking the scenic Pigeon River Valley during their Fall Festival, Sunday, Sept. 27. Hikes, complimentary cider and donuts and a campfire are on tap. Tickets for the festival are $10 and those 12 and under are free.
All of the above resorts are offering fall lodging packages and many area restaurants are serving farm-to-table harvest dinners.
Photos: Top -- Chairlift views from Boyne Mountain (Boyne Mountain); Right -- Here's the view at Boyne Highlands (Boyne Highlands); Left -- Crystal Mountain shows off its colors (Crystal Mt.); Bottom: Lutsen Mountains' colorful fall viewing (Lutsen Mountains).