North Dakota's diverse landscape provides many opportunities to view fall colors. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures and see nature's beauty at a state park.
Fall foliage reports will be updated every Thursday through the fall season.
To view photos of this fall's colors visit our flickr page at: Fall photos.
Where to go: The park has over 6 miles of trails transporting one from wooded coulees containing Ash, Poplar and various fruiting trees, to the mixed-short grass prairies that continue to bloom through first frost. A favorite trail crosses under the county road and climbs to a higher elevation where one can look to the east and take in the entire park as it progresses with color changes. The campground has a variety of trails that lead one through many species of native trees that have been planted through the park’s 40 years.
What you'll see: Leaves are 95% turned. Many trees have dropped their leaves.
Also of interest: Lots of migratory birds passing through and feeding at the park’s bird feeders near the Nature Trail and park office. Marina bay is filling with western grebes, ducks, coots and some Canadian geese.
Where to go: The park has over 50 miles of trails for the public to hike or ride horse in the rugged badlands of North Dakota. These trails will provide a fantastic view of the fall foliage, wildlife and the rugged beauty of the badlands. Two trailheads are located in the park which provide park visitors a good starting point for exploration out on the trails.
What you'll see: You can expect to see a variety of colors when you visit Little Missouri State Park including reds, golds, yellows, purples.
Also of interest: Trail maps can be found in the park which will provide you with the difficulty of the trail as well as help keep you orientated while out on the trail.
Where to go: Visitors to Sully Creek have access to the 120-mile long Maah Daah Hey Trail which offers scenic views of the badlands and the Little Missouri National Grassland.
What you'll see: Leaves are 90% turned with gold and light green colors.
Also of interest: Bighorn sheep can be spotted in the park.
Where to go: Although the park's canoe and kayak rentals are closed for the year, those with their own canoe or kayak have an excellent opportunity to view the changing leaves and wildlife found along the river. Cross Ranch also offers 15 miles of hiking trails which provides many opportunities to view a variety of trees. Much of the park consists of cottonwoods which produce yellows, browns and golds. There are several other species of trees throughout the park. The main campground area is the best bet for getting a wide range of colors with purples, reds, yellows, gold and pinks mixed in.
What you'll see: Many leaves are dropping from the trees.
Also of interest: With the crops coming off of the fields you can expect to see more wildlife including: pheasants, grouse, partridge, deer, coyote, and a variety of birds. There are several does and fawns using the park as their home and can often be seen in the mornings and evenings making their way through the campground.
Where to go: The Infantry Post road offers lots of fall color. Scenic views of the park, Bismarck-Mandan and the Missouri River can be seen from atop the Infantry Post hill.
What you'll see: Leaves are 95% turned with a lot of bare trees.
Also of interest: Two tipis are now available for overnight stays through the end of September.
Where to go: Fort Stevenson hosts nearly 10 miles of trails winding through tree plantings, shrub lands, ponderosa pine woodlands, wooded ravines, grasslands and native prairie. Trails follow the shoreline and wander remote portions of the park. The Arboretum Trail is an excellent educational experience as it winds through a planting of over 50 different species of trees and shrubs.
What you'll see: Most leaves have dropped from trees.
Also of interest: Prairie dog town, waterfowl viewing and many other great birding opportunities.
Where to go: Campground area
What you'll see: Leaves are 95% turned.
Also of interest: Nice views along the North Country Trail.
Where to go: The drive into Grahams Island is one of the best scenic drives in the area. Ash, Oak, Box elder, Hackberry, and Hawthorn trees provide a colorful mix of fall colors. wild rasberry, juneberry and chokecherry trees provide an extra glimpse into the thick forage on the island. Trails provide an extra view of the woodlands and are surrounded by red sumac shrubs and hackberry trees with their pretty red berries. Bittersweet with its orange berries show up as the leaves begin to fall. Golden rod adds gold to the fall colors. There are 130 different plant varieties that show their colors at some time.
What you'll see: Most leaves have fallen off the trees.
Also of interest: As the waters of Devils Lake cool down, the area is an excellent attraction to all anglers in search of perch, walleye, northern pike, and black crappies. There are also four cabins that overlook the bluff on Devils Lake that provide a view of the sunrise and sunset each day. In the park you may get a glimpse of white-tailed deer with their fawns, wild turkeys, raccoons, fox squirrels, coyotes, red fox, bald eagles, Canadian geese, white geese, mallard ducks, wood ducks, teals, coots, canvas backs, cormorants, and an occasional swan. There are also many shore birds that linger along the shores of Devils Lake.
Where to go: Best colors are around the Heritage Center Complex and across the highway at the Pembina County Museum grounds and isolated areas in the Gunlogson Nature Preserve.
What you'll see: Leaves have turned 75-80%. Wind has put a lot of leaves on the ground.
Also of interest: Gunlogson State Nature Preserve lies within Icelandic State Park, providing excellent opportunities to view natural communities.
Where to go: Lake Metigoshe is unique as it is in the middle of a forest so anywhere you go in the park will be great for fall leaf colors! A favorite includes the portion of the Old Oak Trail that parallels School Section Lake.
What you'll see: 98% of leaves have turned with almost half of the trees stripped of their leaves.
Also of interest: The Turtle Mountain area is one of the best places to visit in the fall, with all of the trees turning brown, gold, orange and red colors. If you plan on visiting the park, the Lake Road coming up from Bottineau is a beautiful, winding drive through the hills. Several miles west of the park on the Turtle Mountain Scenic Byway, (Highway 43), is Mystical Horizons, which is a scenic overlook. The view from there looks out over the hills and down onto the prairie, providing great views in the fall. There’s been a group of turkeys hanging around the entrance of the park for the past couple of weeks. The resident raccoons have been spotted more frequently lately as well, especially in the evening hours. Deer are often spotted on trails and in the campgrounds.
Where to go: The CCC Memorial Shelter offers nice views across the river and through the shelter. The Centennial Trail at the amphitheater and a walk through the campground offers nice views of the many fall changes Turtle River State Park experiences.
What you'll see: Turtle River has now passed its fall foliage color peak; color change is at 100%. The oaks have turned browner with each day. The park has been experiencing some fairly windy days so the trees have started to drop their leaves fairly rapidly.
Also of interest: Look for beaver lodge building at the front entrance marsh. There is always plenty of white tailed deer movement throughout the park you may even be able to spot one of the several bucks in velvet. Hawks and wild turkeys have been moving through the park as well. Each of the hiking trails offer something different in the fall season from beautiful river views to the various color changes in the trees and grassland areas.
Where to go: The trail system at Beaver lake State Park is an excellent place to experience the fall colors up close and personal. Many spots along the 5.34 miles trails border go through many different stands of trees and woody draws. A great place to start would be the Woodland Trail or the Old Settlers Trail.
What you'll see: Not many leaves left on trees, about 70% of leaves have fallen. Yellow, orange and brown colors still can be seen.
Also of interest: National Public Lands Day is Sept. 29th. Volunteer to work on various projects in the park. Meet at the park office at 10am.
Where to go: The best place in the park to get a view of the Sheyenne Valley and the fall colors is the Valley View Trail. You also get to walk through a patch of sumac as it turns bright red in the fall. The best place to walk through the woods and enjoy the fall foliage up close is Little Twig Nature Trail.
What you'll see: Most leaves have fallen off the trees.
Also of interest: September is a great time to walk to the waterfall on the Sheyenne State Forest. Follow this two mile segment of the North Country Trail through the woods and over the hills to a cute waterfall.