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Minnesota state forest drives offer ‘travel-worthy’ fall color

Sep 28, 2019 07:59AM ● By Editor
Photo: Visit Cook County

From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - September 26, 2019

A scenic drive through Minnesota’s state forests is a great way to view beautiful fall color. 

Grand Portage State Forest

Depending on the forest drive, visitors might see a spectacular mix of dark evergreen amid vivid autumn hues of maples, oaks, and aspens, set against a backdrop of bluffs, lakes and winding rivers. Minnesota’s 59 state forests cover more than 4.2 million acres, from Kabetogama State Forest at the top of the state to Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in the south. Each one is a unique experience.

“This fall’s overall color display should be vivid and travel-worthy,” said Val Cervenka, the forest health program consultant in the Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division. “Minnesota has had one of the wettest years on record since 1871, so our fall color should be impressive.”

The DNR has highlighted five fantastic forest drives for this fall. Visit the state forest scenic drives website for route directions and more details.

Late September

  • Kabetogama State Forest in the northwest
  • White Earth State Forest in the northwest
  • Bowstring State Forest in north central

Early to mid-October

  • Rum River State Forest in central Minnesota
  • Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest in the south

Visit the state forests page for more information about visiting a state forest. Entrance into state forests is free. State forest campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 a night.

Visit the Minnesota state parks and trails Fall Color Finder to find areas in Minnesota with peak fall color. The Fall Color Finder is updated every Thursday through the end of October.

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