Peak time is now for fall foliage
Though the trees in the lakes area started showing their fall colors a couple of weeks ago, the blazing orange, fiery reds and golden yellows are at or nearing their peak this week.
“This week is our peak fall color time,” said Carrie Johnston, president of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“The scenic overlook on Detroit Lake on Highway 10 East is one my favorites,” she added.
“The views looking north to Detroit Mountain are beautiful and looking towards the sandbar on the lake is really gorgeous just before sunset. But don’t forget Dunton Locks; standing on the little red bridge, the views are so picturesque.”
Johnston also noted that the section of County Road 22 near Bleachers, approaching the Soo Pass Ranch is ablaze with some brilliant oranges and golds as well, and the Sucker Creek Preserve, just east of Detroit Lakes off Highway 10, is also a great place for observing the season’s beauty.
“County Road 29 north towards Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see color, and soon the tamaracks will be changing too,” said Detroit Lakes Tourism Bureau Director Cleone Stewart.
Though the hiking trails through Tamarac NWR are closed due to the partial federal government shutdown, the county roads that wind through there remain open for driving tours.
“The Lakes Country Scenic Byway on Highway 34 East has a great variety of colors, especially between Snellman and Osage,” Stewart added.
Maps of the Lakes Country Scenic Byway, as well as brochures showing which driving routes in the area offer the best opportunities for viewing fall foliage, are available at the Chamber offices, located at 700 Summit Ave. in Detroit Lakes (next door to the Becker County Museum and DL Community & Cultural Center).
The Chamber also offers a map detailing which areas of the region offer the best birding opportunities, Johnston said, noting that the fall migration is well underway for several of the region’s popular bird species, such as the majestic trumpeter swan.
In addition to these printed tools, there is a section of the Chamber’s website at visitdetroitlakes.com where people can go to find fall color updates, courtesy of the Chamber and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Branching out a little farther south, to Maplewood State Park, the colors are reaching their peak this week as well.
“Anytime during the day this week is going to be very good color this week, because of the weather we’re having,” said Jeff Fjestad, Maplewood’s assistant park manager. “There’s a lot of yellow, orange and shades of gold — the colors are very pretty.
“We’re close to peak right now — I see changes every day when I come to work. The next few days are going to be the peak color for the season. We’re having a very good color year.
"There are still some shades of green out there too, so it adds some nice contrast to the landscape.”
For more information on where to go for the best fall color viewing around the state, please visit the Minnesota DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/fall_color.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.