Fall colors emerge just in time for the start of autumn

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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By Madison Moroder

Tuesday is the first day of autumn, but it’s already feeling like fall. And according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ fall color map, we’re well on our way to what seems to be a promising fall season.

Areas near Bemidji and Lake of the Woods are starting to see some long-awaited fall foliage peek through.

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Color maps from the past two years indicate northern pockets of the state are not as far along as they have been in previous seasons.

However, Rachel Hopper, DNR visitor services and outreach manager, said it’s nothing to worry about.

“As long as we have warm sunny days and then cooler nights, it should be yet another beautiful fall color season for us,” Hopper told MPR News host Cathy Wurzer.

In the meantime, if you’re anxious to get your fall fix, listed below are several areas that will be showing off some fresh color this weekend.

If you’re looking to plan an upcoming trip, take a look at the DNR’s “typical dates for fall peak colors” to find out where to go and when to maximize the vibrance of your visit.

Big Bog State Recreation Area, Waskish

The DNR recommends a walk down the Old Marina Trail. The white bottle gentian are in bloom at the beginning of the trail, the DNR said.

Be on the lookout for the white-winged crossbill and the boreal chickadee —  they have recently been sighted on the boardwalk.

Zippel Bay State Park, Williams

For a different view of the fall colors, the DNR recommends using its boat launch to gain access to the lake.

Also recommended by the DNR: a walk on the 2 miles of beach along the southern border of Lake of the Woods.

Itasca State Park, Park Rapids

After last week’s frosty weather, color is quickly spreading throughout the park. “All varieties of Itasca’s trees are showing some signs of color change, unusual for this time in September,” the DNR said.

Here’s a timely tip: Hit the park in the early to midmorning hours or late afternoon —  the angle of the sun helps accent the colors, according to the DNR.