Friday, September 16, 2005
With the first few color variations of maple and birch in northern Minnesota, Autumn has officially arrived. In celebration of this perennial phenomenon, I share with you "peak color information" for the Autumn season within the state of Minnesota. Check out these eight sample scenic and colorful byways.
And for those of you in the Great Lakes Region, check out for the changing colors in your area by clicking on AMAZING AUTUMN.
Shore Of Lake Superior
Great color and lake views, very popular with fall color fans. Several state parks with wilderness rivers, waterfalls, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks. Yellow aspen and birch along shoreline, with scarlet maples inland along forest roads. Make sure you have a reservation for a place to stay, and try planning midweek trips to avoid the busiest travel periods. Designated nationally as an "All American Drive" for its outstanding scenery.
Of The Wilderness
Designated as a National Scenic Byway, this beautiful road winds over rolling hills through the colorful mix of pine and hardwoods of Chippewa National Forest. Return via Co. Rd. 7, with a side trip to Scenic State Park. Or take one of the back roads through the forest, with stops at lakes and hiking trails.
The rolling countryside between Fergus Falls and Perham is a blend of wooded hills, lakes, and farmland. Highlights are Maplewood and Glendalaugh state parks, historic Phelps Mill, and the view from Inspiration Peak, off Co. Rd. 38.
Gull, Pelican and Cross lakes and the Whitefish Chain of Lakes sparkle amid woods of maple, oak, birch and aspen, for a pretty fall color scene. Fishing, boating, golfing and biking the Paul Bunyan Trail are favorite activities in this lake country.
Scenic St. Croix winds through wooded hillsides and sheer cliffs. Four state parks feature great river views: Interstate, Wild River, William O'Brien and Afton. Charming towns of Stillwater, Taylors Falls and Afton have numerous antique and gift shops. Boat excursions feature great fall color. This drive is very popular in the fall; consider a midweek visit to avoid weekend traffic.
Few major cities can boast such beautiful drives, especially pretty in the fall. Circle Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, Harriet and Nokomis lakes, and visit Minnehaha Falls. They're all along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The Lake Street bridge has a view of the Mississippi bordered by colorful, wooded hillsides. St. Paul's tree-lined Summit Avenue is bordered by stately homes.
Charming rivertowns and wooded bluffs along the Mississippi. Steep hillsides dressed in brilliant autumn hues of red, russet and gold. Several scenic overlooks, including those at Frontenac and Great River Bluffs state parks. Several roadside apple stands. This is a popular fall drive, so book your stay ahead of time. Part of the Great River Road National Scenic Byway.
Follows the bend in the river, and the ribbon of yellow and gold hardwoods that borders its waters. Riverside parks in LeSueur, St. Peter, Mankato, and New Ulm, blufftop overlooks in New Ulm and a waterfall at Minneopa State Park. Part of Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway, a National Scenic Byway.
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