As I write this, it is the first day of autumn. It won’t be long before the upper Midwest’s heat and humidity of summer fades to the cool, crispness of early fall. The days will be shorter so planning a few fall color rides to make the most of every minute is key.
It’s already happening in the northern reaches of the Great Lakes States and parts of the northwest; the green of summer is being replaced by vivid red, orange, yellow and auburn colors of fall. On my last couple of rides, I’ve already seen some color changes taking place in the Sugar Maples here in southern Wisconsin—some stands of Staghorn Sumac are vivid blood red, too.
The different parts of each state reach peak color at different times; the far northern tier of states will reach their peak colors soon and it won’t be long before most of the leaves are on the ground. Meanwhile, southern counties will only just be starting to see the colors change. Weather plays a role in the color transition; the sooner cold nights come on, the sooner the change will happen and cool, windy, wet spells can shorten the color ride season, as well.
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Some state tourism agencies or departments or natural resources set up websites with the latest information on fall color status in each part of the state you might be considering information. Here are a few travel sites for the Great Lakes region to get you started:
Iowa Scenic Byways site:http://www.traveliowa.com/GetInspired/scenicbyways
Some of the best fall color rides involve bodies of water and/or high ground to travel. Here in Wisconsin some of my favorites are along the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers and the south shore of Lake Superior. Maybe you have a great ride destination to share—let us hear about it!