Featured Minnesota Resource: Fall Color Finder by the MNDNR

Featured Minnesota Resource: Fall Color Finder | Bendare Outdoors

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The nights are getting longer and cooler, which means it's that time of year in Minnesota when the trees begin putting on their annual color show. The Fall Color Finder by the MNDNR is essential when it comes to keeping up with all the changing colors!

Resource Highlights:

The Fall Color Finder has a color-coded map of Minnesota based on the percent of peak color the area is experiencing. There is also a filtered search of Minnesota State Parks by region or name. Not only does this provide the percent of peak color for the park, it also lists some tips on the best viewing areas and the current color observations around the park. Don't miss this if you are planning on visiting a State Park to view the colors this season. This park detail also gives you a better understanding of what the region around the park is most likely experiencing as well.

Timing and Intensity:

BENDARE PRO TIP: The timing and intensity of the peak colors are mostly affected by the longer, cooler nights and weather, but tree genetics and location also play a role.

  1. Longer and cooler nights: As the nights get longer and cooler, the chlorophyll production in the leaves slows down. Once this production stops, the chlorophyll is destroyed, and the leaves begin their color change. This is the biggest factor when determining the start of the color change.
  2. Weather and soil moisture: The temperature and the amount of moisture determine the intensity and vividness of autumn colors. This includes the weather leading up to the start of the change and during the change.

    Best colors: warm/sunny days and cool nights leading up to and during the change; adequate rainfall and moist soil throughout the year

    Color Delays: late spring; summer droughts

    Less colors: the leaves drop sooner with a warm period during fall; strong winds and/or heavy rain knocking the leaves down
  3. Tree Species: The genetics of the tree, based on its species, also play a role on the timing (e.g. ash and balsam poplar are some of the first to begin changing and tamaracks are one of the last).
  4. Location: Trees on the edge of cooler, low-lying areas change quicker (e.g. the north shore of Lake Superior).

Below you will find some of my favorite fall color resources, including typical times for peak color around Minnesota and a list of scenic byway links to help get you out dare!

Helpful Fall Color Resources:
  1. Fall Color Finder (MNDNR)
  2. Typical Peak Fall Color Dates (MNDNR)
  3. Science of Fall Colors (USFS)
  4. Minnesota's Native Trees (MNDNR)
Minnesota Scenic Drive Resources:
  1. Scenic Byways (MnDOT)
  2. Road Trips and Scenic Byways (ExploreMN)
  3. Arrowhead Scenic Roadway Routes (ExploreMN)
  4. Cook County Scenic Drives (VisitCookCounty)
Fall color guide based on tree species by Bendare Outdoors

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