Minnesotans may face long, cold winters and, this year at least, final days of summer that are more a hot kick in the pants than a soft kissing goodbye. Autumn is our true reward.

Even this year, when some trees already are turning in the metro area, the outlook for brilliant reds and golden yellows and oranges is good.

Last summer’s drought has stressed some trees, but as long as we get the classic fall combination of sunny days and cool nights, enough trees will give us the usual show, said Jenni Webster, naturalist at Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, Minn.

“Sunny days and cold but not freezing nights are the perfect formula for bringing out our fall colors,” Webster said.

Trees are on track to peak at the traditional time, she said. Expect late September and early October to be the height of brilliance in the Twin Cities region and at relatively nearby parks, such as Interstate. That park promises a full range of autumn colors. Ash and basswood trees are beginning to show a little yellow, offering a sneak peak of what’s to come. A smattering of maples will provide the oranges and reds, while oaks promise to turn burnt red or brown. Evergreens are in the mix, too.

At Interstate and around the state, “We’re predicting a brilliant fall color season,” Webster said.

Click here to see the state fall colors map.