ABOVE MINNESOTA -- A helicopter tour of the gopher state quickly makes one thing clear: prime time for fall colors is upon us.
Sugar Maple (fluorescent red and orange) and Ash (golden yellow) are peaking now in the Twin Cities Metro area. Currently fall color in the Twin Cities is about 40% to 50% peak with expected peak conditions next weekend, October 9 and 10. Right now the best fall color in the Metro can be found around Lake Minnetonka and along the Saint Croix River from Hastings north through Stillwater and up to Taylors Falls.
Fall color is at peak in northeastern Minnesota along a line from Aitkin to Duluth and points north to the U.S./Canadian border. Traveling north on Interstate 35 from Hinckley to Duluth will provide some of the best fall color this weekend. US 169 from Lake Mille Lacs to Grand Rapids will also offer some breathtaking leaf views. Fall color is coming on quickly in the Brainerd lakes region and will be near peak this weekend.
Great fall color will start showing up in Alexandria, St. Cloud and Willmar over the next 5 days, then spread south into the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota next weekend.
The last spot to catch peak conditions is along US Highway 61 on the Mississippi River from Winona to La Crosse, Wisconsin. This stretch will see peak conditions in mid-October.
Get out there, and enjoy the view!