Remember all that rain this summer? The moisture fed the trees, making them generally happy and healthy — and great conduits of fall color.
Online resources can help ensure that you will see the best as the reds and golds descend from Warroad to Brainerd to Lanesboro and beyond.
The state's tourism promoter, Explore Minnesota, e-mails fall color updates. Sign up on its website (exploreminnesota.com), and a weekly report will land in your inbox on Thursdays — timed just right for a weekend drive.
According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, fall color hits first in the northernmost reaches of the state, generally from mid- to late September. A broad swath of the midsection should be at peak from late September to early October. The final blazes hold on in the far southeast corner of the state until early to mid-October.
The DNR also has a fall color finder — because some years, nature defies the usual patterns. Find it at dnr.state.mn.us/fall_colors.
The site explains the science behind the colorful show. In brief, as green chlorophyll recedes with shorter days, other chemicals have a chance to shine. Up comes carotenoids, which appear as yellows and oranges; anthocyanins, which bring on reds and purples; and tannins for rich browns.
Each state park also offers its own report of autumn displays. Because much of the state is still green, they haven't begun yet. But if you have a park destination in mind, do a little advance research by heading to its website.
For Wisconsin information, go to travelwisconsin.com/fall-color-report.
South Dakota offers a fall color viewing guide at tinyurl.com/y54a9aal.
Find North Dakota's version of the same at tinyurl.com/y6tea244.
Heading to Iowa? You can get details and sign up for that state's fall color report e-mails at tinyurl.com/y6chr7fh.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.