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Where to Find the Best Fall Colors in Minnesota

Posted by Laura Landvik on Aug 14, 2014 10:27:44 AM

Experience Fall Foliage in the Midwest

Minnesota becomes a tourist destination in the fall, with the brilliant changes in colors and cooler temperatures.
Fall colors in MinnesotaAnd yet many of us locals miss out on the beauty of our state. Make plans now for a day trip to see the amazing display of colors in Minnesota. You have (at the maximum) a six week window to make it happen, so plan now to experience the fall colors at their best.


Exact timing and brilliance of fall colors depends on conditions during both the summer and fall.  Listen to your local Minnesota weather forecasters or check the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for tips on peak color changes. Remember, colors start peaking first up north, then move south.


Wondering where to go to find the best fall colors in Minnesota? Every corner of the state has something to offer!

North Shore – Starting in early fall (mid-to-late September) the drive north of Duluth provides beautiful views and color displays. Drive up old Highway 61, stop for a bite to eat and enjoy the colors of ash, aspen, birch and maple. There are eight state parks in the area and loads of hiking trails.

Northwoods – Up towards the Boundary Waters and Ely you’ll experience the mix of fall foliage amidst the evergreens. Cool temperatures and quaint towns make for a great weekend get-away. Peak time for the Northwoods area is also early fall.

Central Minnesota - The popular Brainerd Lakes area is home to many of Minnesota’s most popular resorts and lakes. Take a weekend to golf or boat around and see the beautiful changes of color. The time to visit this area of Minnesota is usually late September to early October.

Twin Cities Metro Area – Check out any of the local parks, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum or Minnehaha Park for nearby scenic views and colors, or venture a little further out towards Stillwater and the St. Croix River Valley. The time for these lovely colors is usually early-to-mid October.

The Prairies – In the southwest part of the state, near Luverne and Pipestone, there is a different kind of beauty. Take in the views of gold, rustic prairie grasses and purple, majestic prairie blooms. October is the prime month for this drive.

SE Bluffs – The scenic Mississippi River will provide breathtaking colors if you time things out right. Drive along the mighty Mississippi through Hastings, Red Wing, Lake City and Winona, and take in the bluffs, oak and elm trees along the way. Just spectacular. You’ll also find great little towns to stop at with good shopping and restaurants. Most of October is good for this kind of road trip.

Since you know where and when to find the best autumn colors in Minnesota, you have no excuse! Don’t let another Minnesota fall go by without a relaxing day of driving and enjoying the beauty of the foliage during what many people feel is the best season the Midwest has to offer. 

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Topics: Minnesota