State’s ‘fall color finder’ map returns for 2020; DNR recommends 5 state forest color drives

The state’s "Fall Color Finder" has returned to help Minnesotans find the best spots to see the changing leaves.

The state’s tourism office, Explore Minnesota, and Minnesota State Parks and Trails has launched a weekly fall color report.

To update the map each week, state park staff check the trees, wildflowers and grasses in their area.

Those observations are used to create the color-coded map that shows the approximate percentage of fall color that can be seen.

"With wide-open spaces and diverse terrain, Minnesota offers scenic and close-to-home trips for travelers to enjoy the fall color show. Our weekly reports on color progression can help travelers make the most of this short and sweet season," John Edman, Explore Minnesota’s tourism director, said in a statement. "Along the way, businesses across the state continue to make visitor safety and health protocols a priority for those looking to take a trip this fall."

Val Cervenka, the forest health program consultant in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Forestry Division, said, this year, fall color "should be vivid and travel-worthy."

"It’s good to keep in mind that local weather conditions will affect local fall color, but all things point to this year’s overall color being especially lovely across the state," Cervenka said in a statement.

The DNR also suggested five forest drives this fall for people looking to enjoy the fall color:

Mid-late September

  • Smoky Hills State Forest.
  • Bear Island State Forest.

Early October

  • Rum River State Forest.
  • St. Croix State Forest and Nemadji State Forest.


  • Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest.

Those interested can sign up for weekly email updates on where to find peak fall color, here. You can also find more route directions and details on the fall color drives here.

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