Where to see fall colors this weekend

Fall color finder map
Fall color finder map
Courtesy Minnesota DNR

The fall color season is off to a late start but now that temperatures are starting to dip into the 30s and 40s, pockets of the North Star State are turning yellow, red and orange.

The state's trees need cold weather for the leaves to pop.

Your best bets for this weekend? Northwestern and northcentral Minnesota.

The DNR's interactive color finder map is based on observations from all 75 of Minnesota's state parks and recreation areas. Here are the top picks this week:

  1. Scenic State Park, in Bigfork in northcentral Minnesota. The park, which features 250-year-old pine trees that tower over visitors, is peaking right about now. "It's worth the drive up there for the weekend to be able to see the colors," said the DNR's Pat Arndt. "The reds are starting to show."

  2. George Crosby Manitou State Park, along the north shore. Some of the trails are pretty rugged, so this may be for the more adventurous hiker. The colors on the shore aren't turning yet but inland; the maples are changing colors and could peak this weekend. Keep your eyes on the ground, too — the recent rains have been great for mushrooms.

  3. Itasca State Park, in Park Rapids. See the colors at Minnesota's oldest state park (it celebrates its 125th birthday next year) via boat on Lake Itasca or Mary and Elk lakes, along the bike trail, or by hiking the Ozawindib, Deer Park and Aiton Heights trails.

    Meanwhile, it won't be long now — leaves in the Twin Cities could start turning by next weekend.

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