The heat of summer will soon retreat and, along with it, the green pigment that colors leaves. Already in the northern reaches of Minnesota, black ash, birch and aspen are tinged with yellow and a few maples are moving toward red. As days grow shorter, hillsides and forests will make up for the sun's diminishment by glowing with warm hues.
"Sunny days and cool nights set us up for brilliant fall color, and that's just what we're experiencing," said Jana Albers, Grand Rapids-based forest health specialist with Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources. Drought in the northwest may result in more subtle colors and an early shedding of leaves, but overall, moisture has been adequate for the state's trees, she said. To see the reds of maple trees, head to hilly areas where they are more likely to grow. If you like the golden glow of birch and aspen set off against the dark green of conifers, go to the far north.
No matter your preference, Albers said, "It will be pretty nice."
Get updates on fall foliage across Minnesota and neighboring states with these resources.
Iowa: 1-515-233-4110; www.traveliowa.com (updates begin mid-September).
Minnesota: 1-888-646-6367 (live operators Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.); www.dnr.state.mn.us
North Dakota: www.ndtourism.com (updates begin mid-September).
South Dakota: www.travelsd .com/outdoors/fall-foliage
Wisconsin: 1-800-432-8747; www.travelwisconsin.com