No disrespect to leaf-peeping drives, but sometimes autumn's golds and crimsons take on an added glow when that old tradition is tweaked. Instead of spinning down the road in a car, find a slower pace, get closer to the trees and listen to the leaves rustle in the breeze or crunch underfoot. Here are three suggestions for gaining a whole new perspective on the season.
Fly among the treetops
Want a bird's-eye view of autumn's splendor? A new canopy tour near Henderson, Minn. — featuring two suspension bridges and nine zip lines — offers just that. With Kerfoot Canopy Tours, you'll be among the autumn leaves — even as you drop-and-stop your way down a 120 foot-deep ravine along the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway. During the two and a half-hour experience, guides add their own color by providing insight into the trees, birds and geology of the region. Cost is $89 per tour. More info at www.kerfootcanopy tour.com; 952-873-3901.
Roll along the Root
Peddling a bike might require work, but it has its rewards. Along the Root River Trail System, those include views of hills ablaze with the red of maple trees, flat trails free from cars and stops in quaint river towns such as Lanesboro and Preston. The Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley Trails offer 60 miles of smooth riding in Minnesota's bluff country. Taste of the Trail, on Sept. 14 and 21, means that food samples will help fuel riders. For information on the trails and the towns they pass through, go to www.rootrivertrail.org. For trail information, call 1-507-206-2841.
Study the view
To see, really deeply see, North Shore leaves in their full glory, regard them as a painter. Wilderness Inquiry is offering a three-day "Superior Fall Watercolors Hike and Explore" trip. At scenic vistas and serene island lakes, participants will attempt to capture fall's beauty with watercolor paints, water-soluble pencils and ink. The instructor, Sandra Muzzy, is a former president of the Minnesota Watercolor Society. The class will be Sept. 27-29; cost is $495, including guides, two nights at a cozy North Shore lodge and all food. More info at www.wildernessinquiry.org; 612-676-9400.