Fall color season is off to a pokier-than-normal start, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The state's trees need to feel some colder weather for the leaves to pop, says the DNR's Pat Arndt.
But there are a few spots where you can take in the yellows, reds, and browns of autumn — including La Salle Lake State Recreation Area, which is about 30 miles east of Itasca State Park in central Minnesota.
"They seem to have just a little pocket of color going on there," Arndt said.
The DNR, whose interactive color finder map is based on observations from all 75 of Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas, suggests a few other spots for weekend leaf peeping:
• Lake Bronson State Park, near Hallock, in northwestern Minnesota. There, you'll see the aspen and birch turning yellow, and sumacs beginning to sport red leaves. The best place to experience the colors is by walking around the lake, Arndt said.
• On the state's border with South Dakota is the prairie-grass rich Big Stone Lake State Park. Hike to the lookout on the Bluebird Trail, which looks across the state line. As long as you are in the park, throw a line into the 26 mile-long lake. "Walleye fishing is actually good on that lake," said Arndt. "I'm giving away some secrets here."
• Learn about the birds of Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota during a lantern-lit hike this weekend. People dressed as birds will be lining the illuminated trail under the evening sky, educating hikers about all things avian. You can get away from the city lights, and enjoy the quiet of a park where sounds are deadened by sphagnum moss. "It's magical is what it is," Arndt said.
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