In general, most areas of the state now have beautiful shades of fall color in their grasses and wildflowers. Pockets of trees throughout Minnesota are already turning color and displaying orange, red and yellow leaves.
The fall color season in Minnesota should progress as usual according to area park and forestry officials. On average, peak fall color occurs in the northern one-third of the state the middle of September to early October. The middle section of the state, including the Twin Cities, is most colorful late September to early October. And southern Minnesota trees reach the height of their fall color early to mid October.
One exception is the North Shore Drive where trees along Lake Superior turn color a week later than inland trees due to the warming effect of the lake.
BEAR HEAD STATE PARK-Ely
The spreading dogbane is beginning to turn yellow, and the understory maples are just starting to show some color. Pearly everlasting, white water lily, flat-top asters, swamp blue asters, and birdsfoot trefoil are in full bloom. A few of the ox-eye daisy and brown-eyed Susans are retaining their petals. Their are bald eagle and osprey nests in the park, as well as an otter family on the lake.
SCENIC STATE PARK-Bigfork
The birch, poplar, and maple trees are getting lighter and beginning to turn yellow. Roughly 50 percent of the ash trees are now golden. There are spots of yellow and red in the understory. Brilliant large yellow sunflowers can be seen in the road ditches. The pale blue of the asters are a beautiful contrast. Goldenrod is also at peak.
Nearly 10 percent of the birch trees are turning yellow. Many wildflowers, including the purple asters, are in full bloom.
GEORGE CROSBY MANITOU
The mountain maples are displaying a tinge of red and orange. The sugar maples, birch and aspen should soon begin their transformation. Once the leaves start changing color they are expected to turn rapidly. Pockets of early fall color can be found away from Lake Superior along Highway 1 and County Road 7 near the park. This area typically changes color before the Lake Superior shoreline. Red oaks along the park's ridges and pockets of tamarack in the low, wetter areas are among the last to turn color. Fall color is estimated to reach peak the end of September, and into the first week of October nearer to Lake Superior.
STATE PARK-Silver Bay
Red and orange leaves are beginning to appear in the mountain maples. Sugar maples will be turning soon, with birch and aspen following shortly thereafter. Asters are nearing full bloom. Pockets of nice color can be found along Highway 1, about 7 miles north of the park toward the city of Finland. This area typically changes color first. Reports of Pink Salmon in the local streams should soon draw anglers to the banks of the Baptism River. Fall color should be best the last week in September into the first week of October.
STATE PARK-Two Harbors
Wildflowers throughout the park are in full bloom, including daisies, pearly everlasting, turtlehead, asters, bird's-foot trefoil, brown-eyed Susan, sunflowers, goldenrod, orange hawkweed, fireweed, harebell and Joe-Pye weed. The mountain ash berries are very colorful this year and now are bright orange and red. Some fall migration is underway with good sightings of nighthawks, raptors and peregrine falcons. The North Shore of Lake Superior has two fall color seasons. The reds and oranges of the maples come to life within five days before or after Sept. 20. The yellows of the aspen and birch are usually most brilliant within five days of Oct. 1. Dark evergreens provide a striking contrast to the yellow tones close to Lake Superior, and red and orange tones along the ridgeline and inland from the lake.
Roughly 30 percent of the larger maples are starting to turn. More than one-half of the black ash have changed color. The small aspen are mostly yellow, with the larger trees still green. Sumac is becoming orange and red. Half of the underbrush has changed to yellow. The periwinkle closed gentians are nearing full bloom. Deer and a few small fawns are on the move. Fall color should reach peak the third or fourth week of September.
MOOSE LAKE STATE
The ash and willow trees are displaying yellow leaves, and the birch now have a tinge of gold. A few branches of brilliant red and orange can now be seen in the maples. The goldenrod is fully golden in the fields and along the roadsides. Late hatching and migrating monarch butterflies add flashes of burnt orange to fields. Patches of late great purple asters add to the beauty of the park. Sparkling Echo Lake offers excellent fall color reflections. Peak fall color is expected the last week of September and the first week of October.
A few maples are starting to turn red. The wildflowers, including goldenrod, aster, jewelweed, and Joe-pye weed are blooming. The best fall color views are along the park entry road, and the Quarry Loop Trail. Mushroom pickers have been in the park this past week. Peak fall color typically occurs between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6.
Some of the sumac and vines are now a deep red. The butternut trees are turning yellow, and dropping their fruit. Some of the smaller trees and shrubs in the park are now beginning to turn. The wildflowers are blooming along the main road and on the trails by the lake. The mushroom crop is excellent. Keep your eyes open for the resident white deer which are more active due to fewer visitors. Perch are becoming more active, and campers are catching sunfish right off the fishing pier within the park. Peak fall color is projected to occur the end of September or beginning of October.
ST. CROIX STATE
Birch trees are turning color, and the maples and sumac are beginning to turn red. The goldenrod and asters are in full bloom. Fall color should be best around the last week of September or the first week of October.
WILD RIVER STATE
PARK-East of North Branch
The trees are green, but the sumacs are nearly 30 percent red and orange. The understory trees and shrubs are starting to change from green to orange, yellow, and brown. Prairie grasses are turning a reddish-purple. The tops of the Indian grasses are completely golden-red. The little bluestem's reddish stems are beginning to fringe with white tufts as the seeds ripen. Sweet everlasting is visible as broad white patches in the open fields, and the bottle gentian is fully blue and white. In the low-lying areas, sunflowers, several species of blue and white asters, and yellow, daisy-like sneezeweed are in full bloom. The sky-blue asters are nearly at peak. Some of the best views of the emerging fall color can be found between the park entrance and park office, portions of the Amador Prairie Loops, and along the road from the office to the campground. Sunflowers, bottle gentian, sneezeweed, and a variety of asters are gorgeous along the Amik's Pond Loop. Mushrooms should be abundant in wooded areas due to good soil moisture, and the hazelnuts are worth investigating. Peak leaf color is expected to begin with the maples peaking the weekend of Oct. 5-6, and oaks should reach peak roughly a week to ten days thereafter. Prairie grass will remain colorful into late October.
A cooling spell last week has set the stage for a potentially colorful fall. Red maples are beginning to display shades of red along the outer edges of their leaves. Green and black ash trees, found along the wetlands, are starting to turn yellow. The deep purple-red leaves of the cherry trees and sumac can be seen along most trails. Goldenrod, asters and Joe-Pye weed continue to bloom. Yellow-shafted flickers and pileated woodpeckers are actively feeding during the day. The spotted coats on the fawns are beginning to fade to all brown. More waterfowl are being noticed among the wild rice on Lake Itasca. Peak fall color is projected for the last weekend of September or the first week of October.
CROW WING STATE
PARK-Southwest of Brainerd
The big bluestem and Indian grasses are coloring the landscape a deep bluish-purple and rusty red. The goldenrod is bright yellow and the blazing star and lead plant are purple _ a beautiful contrast to the grasses. Virginia creeper vines are beginning to display shades of deep red in the wooded areas. Peak color occurs the last week in September to the first or second week of October.
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