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Living color: Minnesota's 'rich, beautiful' leaf season begins

Sep 12, 2018 08:07AM ● By Editor

By Nancy Yang of Minnesota Public Radio News - September 11, 2108

Depending on which camp you're in, you'll greet this news with either an "ugh" or an "ooh!"

Folks, it's leaf-peeping time. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' has launched its fall color finder for the season. So stop clinging to the summer. Fall will be great.

This week you'll want to head northwest or to the Grand Rapids, Minn., area if you want to see the best fall colors to date.

Generally, colors peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third of the state, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third, which includes the Twin Cities.

"For most of Minnesota, this fall's color display should be rich and beautiful," Val Cervenka, a consultant in DNR's forest health program, said in a statement.

Decreasing day length and the onset of long, cool nights trigger the color change in leaves, she said. "Brilliant crimson and purple leaf colors are produced by warm, sunny days and chilly, but not frosty, nights. Yellow color, found in ash, aspen, basswood, birch, cottonwood and elm, can be early or short-lived due to drought conditions."

Here are the best places to see red and gold this week, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' fall color finder.

Franz Jevne State Park

Walk the Hiking Club Trail for colorful views of the Rainy River. The DNR says the water level is currently low along the rocky shoreline, which makes walking the trail easier. 

Buffalo River State Park

Head here for fantastic views of little and big bluestem grasses — the grass is 6 feet tall or more in some areas! Meanwhile, the River View and Hiking Club trails are hot spots for anyone wanting to take in shades of yellow, oranges and red.

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