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Where to find fall colors: Leaves hit their peak across northern Minnesota

This could be a top-notch leaf-peeping weekend.

Minnesota's fall colors are at their breathtaking peak across much of northern Minnesota. 

The DNR's Fall Color Finder shows the northern third of Minnesota blanketed in red — meaning leaves in those areas are at 75-100% of their peak color. (See the map to the right.) You'll get dramatic, bold views in those areas. 

The lower two-thirds of the state is on its way. After being toward the lower end of the scale one week ago, many areas are at minimum 25% peak colors. The Twin Cities remains stubbornly behind in the 10-25% range. 

(Though this writer took a walk at St. Paul's Crosby Farm Regional Park earlier this week and would like to say: The fall colors were excellent.)

There are currently 14 state parks, including Split Rock Lighthouse, at top0tier fall color levels. They are:

  • Savanna Portage
  • Jay Cooke
  • Lake Bemidji
  • Split Rock Lighthouse
  • Scenic
  • Schoolcraft
  • Cascade River
  • Gooseberry Falls
  • Zippel Bay
  • Frank Jevne
  • Itasca
  • Old MIll
  • Lake Brosnon
  • Buffalo River

The drought that has plagued Minnesota for months has impacted fall colors. Val Cervenka, the Minnesota DNR's forest health program coordinator, told Bring Me The News in August that leaves were changing much earlier than normal.

Related [Aug. 11]: Here's what the drought means for fall colors in Minnesota this year

The drought is also expected to make some of those vibrant reds and oranges a little more muted this year.

However, Cervenka stressed that everything won't be brown — there will be "pockets of awesomeness" for leaf peepers this year. 

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