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Plan Now to See Fall Colors

Late September through October is the best time to plan a long drive through the countryside in Missouri to see the leaves turn color.

Missouri is full of long winding highways through wooded hills—the perfect places to see the annual autumn color show. You can pick almost any country lane or state park to see great trees, but it’s helpful to know when to plan your fall adventure.

Roads designated as “scenic byways” by the U.S. Department of Transportation are a good bet for driving tours of the countryside. In Missouri, try the Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River. Try a drive north along Hwy 79 and Hwy 61 which will take you to Clarksville and Hannibal. Or head south along Hwy 61 to St. Genevieve and make a stop in .

A trip down to will also yield great scenery, especially if you take Hwy 21 or Hwy 67 on your way to the park. Pack a picnic and tour the rocks once you get there.

According the Missouri Department of Conservation trees in our state change slowly from mid-September to mid-October. Leaves begin to change in the northern part of the state first—where it’s cooler—and progress slowly southward. Dave Murray, Fox 2’s meteorologist with more than 30 years of local experience, said good fall color typically comes to the St. Louis area in the last two weeks of October.

But if you want to take a road trip to the north, now might be the time.

There are a couple reliable websites to help you plan your drive. The Missouri Department of Conservation keeps track of the autumn color on tits Fall Colors website, with reports from live observers in those areas. The reports are broken down by region and go into details on which trees to watch. As of September 22, reports are showing that walnuts, silver maples and ash in the northern parts of the state are starting to turn gold.

The Weather Channel also has a map displaying color shifts across the country. The map is updated on Wednesday and Friday.

It’s hard to predict what kind of fall color we can expect because of the various weather factors that affect each tree. Plentiful autumn sun makes for brighter colors, but drought during the growing season can cause trees to just turn brown and drop their leaves.

If you’re curious as to why leaves turn such spectacular colors, you can read all about it here, at the U.S. Forest Service and here at the Missouri Department of Conservation.

 

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