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Happy fall: Minnesota is starting to show its true colors

Thursday marks the first day of fall, and the DNR's Fall Color Finder shows a lot of trees are starting to change color.
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Leaf-peepers, rejoice!

Thursday marks the first day of fall – and the leaves in northern Minnesota are really starting to turn.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource's Fall Color Finder, about 50-75 percent of trees in far northwestern Minnesota have peaked, while about 25-50 percent of trees in central Minnesota are showing their fall yellows, oranges and reds.

Check out the map below (updated Thursday) for the latest on Minnesota's fall colors:

There are six state parks where 50-75 percent of trees have turned, according to the DNR's website. So if you plan to check out the fall colors this weekend, visiting Old Mill State Park, Scenic State Park, Hayes Lake State Park, Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, Buffalo River State Park, or Lake Bronson State Park are probably your best options.

You can check out the latest fall color photos taken at the state parks in the DNR's 2016 fall colors photo gallery. The gallery also lets you upload the photos you took while on your leaf-peeping adventure.

Rain helps the colors

DNR officials say trees this fall are expected to be especially colorful thanks to all the rain we had this summer.

Rain helps keep things "green and healthy, which is the first building block for great fall color," Erika Rivers, the director of Minnesota State Parks and Trails, said in a news release. Warm, sunny days and cool nights also contribute to vivid colors.

The Duluth News Tribune notes that peak fall colors may be coming a little later than normal because of the warm fall we've been having, so be patient.

If you're planning to check out the fall foliage in the weeks to come, this interactive map by SmokyMountains.com predicts the peak fall colors for every county in the United States.

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