CHASING AUTUMN: Fall Colors Arriving in and Around Inver Grove Heights

Beginning Sept. 6, The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources began updating fall color reports online for Minnesota state parks and recreation areas.

Editor’s Note: As an ode to fall, we encourage Inver Grove Heights Patch users to show off the images you have captured this fall and add them to the gallery on this post. Feel free to add any fall events and activities to the comments.


The leaves are beginning to change color around the state, and staff at the Minnesota state parks are keeping you in the know when it comes to all things fall.

Starting last week, Minnesota parks staff began posting fall color reports online, and will continue to update the website by noon every Thursday.

As in past years, these reports will include percent of color change, peak color projections, flowers and grasses in bloom, and three parks considered "hot picks" of the week.

The DNR also offers fall colors "to go" on a mobile website compatible with smart phones and tablets. The mobile fall color reports include percent of color change, integrated with Google maps.

"The fall colors are arriving right on schedule in northern Minnesota, and they're making their way south," said Jana Albers, forest health specialist for the DNR's Forestry Division. "We had a decent amount of rain in August ... and if the sunshine and cool nights continue in September, that's the ideal recipe for fall color."

Check out this link to find out when Fall colors peak throughout Minnesota

Chasing Autumn

Afton State Park’s leaf color is between 0 and 10 percent changed, flower color is past peak and grass color is between 50-75 percent to peak.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR):

“The drive into the park along the tall grass prairie areas has the best color with the Big bluestem and Indian grass a golden brown. The views of the river valley are starting to show some color change.

With any wind you can see the tall grasses blowing like waves of brown. Some ash, cottonwood and boxelder are changing to yellow, and loosing their leaves. Some scattered maples are just starting to turn color.

A flock of 30+ turkey vultures was gathered on the beach, and more flocks of waterfowl are using the area.”

Things at Fort Snelling State Park are a bit more advanced. The color of leaves has changed between 25-50 percent, while flower colors is as much as 75 percent changed. 

According to the DNR: 

"From the beach at Snelling Lake you get a good vista of inland trees (Ash, Basswood, Cottonwood) and the river banks of Pike Island have views of Maples, Boxelders, White Oaks, Green and Black Ash.

The Whitetail Deer are getting ready for the change of seasons. Fawns can be seen at the full spectrum of just loosing their spots to being fully decked out and greyed down for the winter, but still at Mom's side. Woodducks are grouping on the shorelines off the NW end of Snelling Lake, and new Beaver lodges are appearing along the backwaters of the MN and the Mississippi Rivers. Eagles can often be seen gliding over the river bottoms watching for their next meal."

The leaf, flower and grass colors at William O’Brien State Park are between 0-10 percent changed.

According to the DNR:

“All park trails are open and in great condition. Cold nights and dry days have given us excellent hiking conditions (no mosquitoes!) throughout the summer and into the fall. Hike out to the Prairie Overlook trail to get to the highest point in the park. Tread quietly as the trail is a loop and there is an active beaver lodge in the center.

Leaf drop has been occurring throughout the park due to dry conditions. Though you may not see brilliant colors in the canopy or on the ground, the feel of Fall is definitely in the air and on the trail.”

This post will be updated with photos, events, and updated fall color reports, so check back for updated information.


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