Leaf-peepers, the time is now. Minnesota is a sea of red, orange and gold, meaning peak fall color season has arrived.
Fall foliage enthusiasts won't go wrong in basically any part of the northern third of Minnesota, but the southwestern portion of the state also has a pocket that's peaking right about now. Central Minnesota is catching up pretty quickly and should be in top form by about next week.
• From the DNR's leaf color forecaster: 4 fall foliage hunting tips
Here are some of the best spots to hit this week, courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' fall color finder.
Keep an eye out for the resident beavers preparing for winter around Norberg Lake. Or, several scenic overlooks of Bear Head Lake could afford opportunities to spy on otters, beavers and ducks.
Hike the milelong boardwalk and see the tamaracks changing over to orange — or spot some unique and sometimes rare plants and animals along the way. Some of the mushrooms are huge!
The 3 1/2-mile Hiking Club Trail will take you up Lookout Mountain for some pretty colorful views. The summit offers a 50-mile view across the valley. Plan for about two hours for the hike. And bring boots — it could get muddy, thanks to the rain earlier in the week.