Where to see fall colors this weekend

Published 10:06 am Friday, October 14, 2016

Colors in the south at 50 to 75 percent

By Nancy Young

MPR News/90.1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Minnesota — about two-thirds of the state is in peak fall color form.

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For those in southern Minnesota, fret not. The lower third of the state is 50 to 75 percent turned but should reach peak season in the next week or so.

You can track the progression of red, gold and orange across the state with the Department of Natural Resources’ interactive fall color finder map.

Here are this week’s top picks for leaf-peeping:

Afton State Park

Check out the overlook near the middle picnic area for a breathtaking view of the St. Croix Valley. Or, hike from the upper picnic area along the St. Croix on the North River Trail, and up to the northeast overlook and back down through the backpack campground.

Bonus: Watch for migrating birds riding the thermals along the bluffs.

Lake Carlos State Park

The maples and oaks on the Maple-Basswood or Forestry Demonstration trails are in full color. Or, if you’re just driving through, head to the upper campground to see the red oaks, then down the main park road to the beach area to see the colors of the tamaracks. Finally, check out the Lakeview Group camp area.

If you’re in the mood for fall prairie color, take a drive up to the horse camp, park and walk west on the trail.

Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park

Wander along Fawn Trail or through the campground to catch the best colors.

And this isn’t fall color-related but the DNR says another must-see is the waterfall — it has “bountiful flow” from all the recent rain.