Jay Cooke State Park in October. Photo: Dennis Anderson


For many Minnesotans, fall is an enchanted time — not least because of the brilliant leaf colors that are a hallmark of autumn.

Not only are North Shore forests splashed in bright reds, oranges and yellows. Many of these same fiery hues can be seen throughout the state.

This autumn, the Department of Natural Resources says, those hues may shine brighter than they have in many years.

“With adequate rain during the growing season for two consecutive years and recent weather patterns that have included the ideal combination of warm, sunny days and cool evenings, we’re predicting an especially vivid display of color across the state in the weeks ahead,” said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist.

Grouse hunters who parade across northern Minnesota in October are accustomed to planning their visits well in advance. Otherwise, motel, resort and hotel rooms can be difficult to find as peak colors across the region approach.

According to the DNR, colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of the state, between late September and early October in the central third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third, including the metro.

The DNR website (www.mndnr.gov)  has fall color reports, and the agency developed a mobile website last year that provides leaf-color information to some smartphones.

The same website has information about special fall state park programs and other events, such as Leaf Days at Maplewood State Park in Pelican Rapids, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2.

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