Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 21, 2017

Eastern National Forests Fall Color 9/21/17

Eastern Region National Forests reports

Illinois On the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, you can still catch a glimpse of fall prairie flowers in in bloom, including asters, goldenrods, and orchids. They provide a beautiful array of color from varying hues of white, yellow and blue.

Indiana The Hoosier National Forest has changed only slightly from last week and is close to 10% color change. The dogwoods, sweet gums and hickories are beginning to show off their wonderful dark reds and yellows. Another perfect weather weekend is on the horizon – low 80’s during the day and 50’s at night.  We hope you will come out and enjoy the Hoosier!

Michigan Leaves continue to lighten and turn colors throughout the Hiawatha National Forest with about 10% fall color presentation. Maples continue to impress with their bright, rich reds, while aspen are becoming silver and yellow, a nice contrast among the remaining green. There are beautiful bursts of color at every turn, with the choke cherries ripening to their deep rich color and bright yellow flowers blooming. Fall is a fantastic time to visit the Hiawatha!

The Ottawa National Forest is at approximately 30-45% color, in varying degrees across the Forest. The fall color season got off to an early start around the Forest, however, recent warm temperatures have slowed the rapid transition. While fall color coverage varies, visitors will enjoy stretches of brilliant color along major road corridors and further inland from Lake Superior. Consider a fall camping trip to Bob Lake campground on the Ontonagon Ranger District or Sparrow Rapids Campground on the Kenton Ranger District, where the changing foliage provides a spectacular view right from your campsite. Or take a stroll along the river and check out the Kakabika Falls on the Bessemer Ranger District. Whatever fall activity you choose, remember its hunting season around the Ottawa, so please wear orange.

Minnesota We are beginning to see fall color on the Chippewa National Forest with color change at about 25%. The Sugar maples are transitioning to their bright orange and red, while the staghorn sumac is turning a deep red. Even the forest floor is colorful due to a scattering of leaves thanks to recent winds and rain. For a spectacular viewing of the Chippewa’s fall color, check out one of the Forest’s scenic byways, such as the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Highway, on State Highway 38, north of Grand Rapids. Or consider a camping trip since a number of the Forest’s campgrounds are still open. Plan your trip to the Chippewa today and experience the brilliant fall colors by vehicle, boat, bike or foot!

The leaves are changing rapidly on the Superior National Forest, with color at about 40-60% of peak. The Forest’s little northern corner of the eastern hardwood forest has beautiful colors. Be sure to plan a visit to an overlook to take in the majestic landscape. Though some rain is in the forecast for this week-end, next week should be some of the best for fall color touring!

Missouri Across Missouri, a hint of fall is in the air at night and leaves are beginning to change hues. The full fall color change is still a few weeks away; but cooler weather is giving us a sneak preview on some trees scattered around the northern reaches of the Mark Twain National Forest.  Recreation opportunities abound on the Forest. It’s a great time to hike and camp now that less bugs are out and the summer flowers are trading places with colorful leaves.

Ohio Although temperatures have rebounded somewhat, the show of fall colors is underway!  Berries are ripening to red and purple, and oak trees are starting to glint with orange and gold.  We hope you’ll enjoy the season; the Wayne National Forest is just getting started! Visit us at to see what recreation opportunities await—it is a great time to visit southeast Ohio! Follow us on Facebook.

Pennsylvania Fall colors are starting to brighten up the Allegheny National Forest with leaves at about 30% change. There are a plethora of recreational opportunities available on the Forest to take in the spectacular fall color display; pan your trip today!

West Virginia What a difference a week has made! The beautiful reds, oranges and golds of fall are popping all across the Monongahela National Forest. For some amazing views right now, check out Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Areawhere color is at around 20%. A beautiful blanket of color can also be found looking out toward Guardineer Knob. Visitors are invited to attend two events celebrating West Virginia’s heritage and the beauty of fall this weekend:

  • In the southern part of the forest visitors can stop by the Cranberry Nature Center’s Annual Cranberry Shindig held September 24 in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. There you will find vendors demonstrating and selling their creations including blacksmithing, spinning wheels, and wood sculpturing; just to name a few. Additional information on the Cranberry Shindig can be found at
  • If you are visiting the northern section of the forest stop by The 29th Annual Leaf Peepers Festival held September 22—24 in Tucker County, West Virginia. This festival brings several activities for families to enjoy together including a 5K run for charity, scenic chair lift rides, horse drawn wagon rides and live music. More information can be found at

Wisconsin Fall colors are at about 40% across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The color varies from the various corners of the forest but there are some very vibrant pockets. For more details on the Wisconsin Fall Color Report visit

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