Fall Colors

12 Minnesota Fall Color Drives to take in Minnesota in 2024

Ready to embark on a leaf-peeping adventure like no other? Get ready to witness nature’s vibrant palette as you explore the 12 most breathtaking fall color drives in Minnesota.

From the scenic North Shore Drive to the picturesque Twin Cities, each route promises a kaleidoscope of hues that will leave you awe-struck.

So, grab your camera, hit the road, and prepare to be dazzled by the stunning beauty that awaits around every bend.

Let’s dive into a riot of color and laughter-filled memories!

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North Shore Drive Duluth to Grand Marais

You’ll love the vibrant autumn foliage along North Shore Drive in Minnesota. It is often one of the first locations to start changing. The best time to see the colors is in mid-September to early-October.

As you cruise along this scenic byway of highway 61, the fall colors in Minnesota will amazing you. The display of reds, oranges, and yellows are perfect against the backdrop of Lake Superior.

The Minnesota DNR has even named this stretch of road as one of the best places to view fall colors in the entire state.

Don’t forget to make a stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park in Two Harbors32 Best Things To Do in Two Harbors Minnesota 2023, Tettegouche State Park, and Superior National Forest.

So, roll down your windows, take a deep breath of that crisp autumn air, and let the beauty of North Shore Drive envelop you in its colorful embrace.

Bobs Stair's at Split Rock Lighthouse

Itasca County Exploration

There’s plenty to discover while exploring Itasca County’s scenic routes during this time of year. And let me tell you, Minnesota knows how to put on a show when it comes to fall colors.

Take the Lake Country Scenic Byway and you’ll pass by so many beautiful sights and great things to do.

Don’t miss out on Itasca State Park, or Lake Bemidji where you can wander through the trails and see the fall foliage firsthand.

The best time to see it all is mid-September to early October. So, grab your camera and take off on an adventure you won’t soon forget.

Things to do at Itasca State Park

Mississippi River Valley Scenic Route in Bluff Country

As you drive along the Mississippi River Valley Scenic Route, make sure to keep your eye on the road. This is one of the best drives and the first Fall Colors adventures we went on our way to Red Wing.

Making a stop at Frontenac State Park or Great River Bluffs State Park in southern Minnesota for a closer look.

Fall colors in Minnesota are spectacular! The scenic route is a hidden gem that showcases the colors. Plus you’ll get the chance to stop at great towns along the way.

Douglas and Ottertail Counties Road Trip

Get ready to road trip through Douglas and Ottertail Counties. This is a completely underrated fall colors drive in Minnesota.

These counties are like a hidden treasure trove, just waiting for you to discover their picturesque landscapes and hidden gems.

And don’t forget to make a pit stop in Ottertail County. There are sparkling lakes and rolling hills, all cloaked in the colors of autumn.

St. Croix River Valley Tour and Taylors Falls

Another favorite of mine is the picturesque St. Croix River Valley. There are some great charming towns like Taylors Falls and Stillwater ready to be explored during the Minnesota fall season.

The best fall foliage in Minnesota is waiting. As you drive through the winding roads, you’ll get river front views.

Don’t forget to stop by a William O’Brien State Park to see peak color. It’s like stepping into a painting!

William O'Brien State Park

Chippewa National Forest

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the stunning Chippewa National Forest and its diverse ecosystem.

This enchanting forest, located in Minnesota, is a must-visit destination.

The fall color finder will guide you to the most picturesque spots, where the maple trees paint the landscape with shades of red, orange, and gold.

Whether you’re coming from Duluth or Taylors Falls, make sure to bring your camera.

Iron Range

Ah, the Iron Range! A place where the fall colors are is perfect for Leaf Peepers. In northern Minnesota, you’ll get some of the best of Minnesota’s fall colors.

Make sure to stop into Ely and Lake Vermillion Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

If you are looking for a good route to see the displays of color, take the Superior National Forest Scenic Byway.

 So grab your camera and get ready for a fall foliage adventure like no other on the Iron Range!

Sudan Mine

Mille Lacs Lake in Brainerd

You can’t visit Mille Lacs Lake without experiencing the thrill of reeling in a trophy-sized walleye. But don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the stunning autumn colors too!

Drive around the lake and take it all in.

The colors are absolutely amazing in the Brainerd Lakes area. Stop at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park or Father Hennepin State Park for a closer look.

You can also top into the town of Brainerd to enjoy the fun things to do!

The lake’s shoreline, combined with the breathtaking foliage, creates a perfect backdrop for your fall adventure. 

Twin Cities Grand Rounds

Now that we’ve explored the stunning fall colors around Mille Lacs Lake, let’s head to the Twin Cities. There is an amazing fall colors drive in Minnesota hiding in plain sight.

You can see the fall foliage as a bike ride through Grand Rounds. The Grand Rounds bike trail is 300 miles of regional trails that loop around the city.

If you want to stay in your car, a quick drive through Theodor Wirth Park or do the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is all you need to see fall colors in Minnesota. 

Minnehaha Falls is another popular stop!

Don’t forget to make a pit stop at the numerous parks and gardens dotting the city.

Minnesota River Valley Drive in Mankato

Hop in your car and prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking scenery along the Minnesota River Drive. This iconic road trip is a must-do for anyone seeking an unforgettable fall foliage experience.

The best place to see fall colors in along the Minnesota River Drive. Stop into New Ulm and Mankato. Find an overlook and enjoy the colors.

From the stunning Red Bluff to the charming small towns dotted along the route. The best time to see the colors is from mid-September to mid-October. So mark your calendars and get ready for a journey.

New Ulm

Frequently Asked Questions

There Any Accommodations Available Along the North Shore Drive Route?

Along the north shore drive route, you’ll find plenty of accommodations to make your fall colors adventure even more enjoyable. Here are the best places to stay: Where to stay on the North Shore in Minnesota | Amazing Locations

What Are Some Recommended Hiking Trails to Explore in Itasca County?

Looking to explore some awesome hiking trails in Itasca County? There are some great trails to explore in Bemidji State Park and Itasca State Park. The headwaters of the Mississippi River is always a favorite.

There Any Specific Attractions or Landmarks to Visit Along the Mississippi River Valley Scenic Route?

Are you ready for a scenic adventure along the Mississippi River Valley Scenic Route? Stop into Red Wing and see the giant Red Wing Boot, or into Wabasha to see the National Eagle Center.

What is the best time to see Fall Colors in Minnesota?

The best time to see fall colors in Minnesota is late September to mid-October. But it all depends on the weather and location.

For up to date information on the current conditions, check out the Minnesota department of natural resources Fall Color Finder.

When the color hits orange on the map, you’ve got peak fall color, so get ready to hop in the car.

We have wonderful fall color drives in Minnesota and around the Twin Cities. So why not grab your pumpkin spice latte, hop in your car, and embark on the adventure of a lifetime?

Minnesota’s vibrant foliage is one of the most memorable trips to take. Don’t forget to snap a selfie for the ‘gram.

Happy leaf-peeping, my fellow autumn enthusiasts! Keep calm and fall on!

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