Fall has arrived in Minnesota, so this last weekend we went chasing the fall colors. Some of the most dramatic overlooks in Minnesota can be found along the shoreline of Lake Superior. So we loaded the car with our backpacking gear and started our drive north for a night of backpacking followed by a day-hike on the popular Oberg Mountain Loop.
The Oberg Mountain Loop is a 2.5-mile roundtrip spur loop off of the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail departs from the trailhead parking lot, heading uphill for about half a mile before leveling out. The trail then splits. Head either direction to enjoy a loop filled with impressive views of Lake Superior, the surrounding Sawtooth Mountains, and Oberg Lake.
While the Oberg Mountain Loop is worth a visit year-round, we highly recommend a visit during the fall and have filled this blog post with photos taken on September 20th, 2020.
The Parking Lot
To access the trailhead, you will have to drive about 2 miles up the Onion River Road. This road is gravel, so be prepared for a little dust on your car.
The parking lot itself is large but fills up quickly on popular weekends. Although the area can be congested, a nice perk to parking at a popular trailhead is that the area is used enough that the MN DNR has placed a rustic bathroom at this location.
After you park, you will need to cross over the road to access the spur trail. The spur trail is well labeled, but make sure to take a right at the first fork in the trail unless you want to hike on the official Superior Hiking Trail (a 310-mile backpacking trail).
Then you can head up the side of the mountain (less than 250′ elevation gain).
The Loop Around Oberg Mountain
Once you get to the top, you can head either direction. We went to the right and were happy with our choice, as the views just kept getting better and better along the hike. Here are some of the overlooks in order if you hike counter clockwise.
While the overlooks are definitely the highlight of this trail, the trail itself is great as well. Well-maintained and relatively level for the hike around the loop. This is an easy trail to share with family members and casual hikers. The only real elevation change is the trail up to loop, which is then repeated on the hike back down to your car.
And if you are looking for something a little less trafficked, consider the Leveaux Mountain Loop. You can access this loop and the southbound Superior Hiking Trail at the south end of the parking lot.
We really enjoyed the easy Oberg Mountain Loop, especially after a night of backpacking into a campsite along the Devil’s Track River near Grand Marais. Comparing these trails really does lead to the conclusion that the Superior Hiking Trail has an adventure for every level of hiker.
Looking for other hikes along Minnesota’s North Shore?
We love Minnesota’s North Shore in any season. Check out some of the following blog posts for other recommended hiking adventures in this beautiful region:
- A Dog-Friendly Winter Weekend at the North Shore’s MN State Parks
- Bear and Bean Lake Loop: A Dog-Friendly Superior Hiking Trail Day Hike or Overnight Adventure
- The Dog-Friendly Superior Hiking Trail: Gooseberry Falls to Castle Danger