2020 Update:The link below will show you exactly when and where the fall foliage will peak this year.
People who live in Missouri believe fall is the best season of the year. Why? The humidity is finally bearable and so is the heat! The Show Me State is one of the best places in the nation to view the changing colors of fall. Reports are indicating that the display of autumnal colors will last a little longer this year and start a little later than usual. It looks like the best times this season will be in mid-to-late October. If you’re looking for guidance before booking a trip, you may want to visit SmokeyMountains.com and check out their mapping predictions. (Sample of how it works is in the above video).
Missouri Conservation Department
Forecasts Fall Colors
Fall Forecast for the St Louis Region
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation:”Predicting the peak of fall color can be difficult. Missouri is blessed with a great variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. Their leaves turn at different times, so Missourians enjoy a fall color season that may last four to six weeks. Sassafras, sumac, and Virginia creeper are some of the earliest to change, beginning in mid-September. By late September, black gum, bittersweet, and dogwood are turning.
The peak of fall color in Missouri is usually around mid-October. This is when maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories are at the height of their fall display. Normally by late October, the colors are fading and the leaves beginning to drop from the trees.
The progression of color change starts earliest in north Missouri and moves southward across the state. Generally, the color change is predictable, but it can vary from year to year. Much depends on the weather.”
Beginning to Turn
The color change has slowed significantly because of the warmer-than-normal weather. Vibrant fall color depends on a number of factors, but having warm days with cool nights is rather important as we progress into the season. Some of the early-changing species, such as sumacs, dogwoods, ashes and walnut, have defoliated or turned brown with the drought conditions across the region. In areas that received scattered rain, some of these same species are still green and a few individuals have decent yellow color. In urban and suburban landscapes, sweet gum and red and sugar maples are beginning to turn. Typically, these are more mid-season species, so it’s likely that peak will be later than usual, but we’ll need some rain separated by some bright, sunny days and cool nights to get the best possible display. As mentioned before, our drought-tolerant native wildflowers continue to provide a good display of color.
Fall Color Hot Spots in St. Louis Region
10-08-2020 – Update
Fall color has progressed nicely, especially in areas away from the warmer metro area, but unfortunately, the effects of early spring fungal infections and the current drought conditions are taking their toll. Some trees have turned brown or have completely defoliated as a response to those problems, which will mute our overall fall color display this year. The spread of emerald ash borer (EAB) has become obvious, as ash mortality has spiked and the yellow and purple displays of ashes are diminished significantly. Flowering dogwood, sassafras, Virginia creeper, and sugar maple have the most consistent fall color around the region, with some individual sycamore, black walnut, black gum, and hickories adding to local displays. The continued warm, dry, sunny weather isn’t doing us any favors, and it will likely cause additional early leaf drop, so let’s hope for some slow, soaking, gentle rains to prolong our display.
Fall Color Hot Spots
Areas that have access to water may have better color, so on these warm fall days, consider an early fall float trip on the Huzzah or Courtois creeks or the upper Meramec River. You could also take a drive out to wine country in Augusta along MO 94, which parallels the Missouri River, or visit the Huzzah or Daniel Boone Conservation Areas.
Things to Do in St. Louis
If you will be visiting the St. Louis area there is plenty to do and see here. There are kid-friendly attractions, adult activities, family amusements, and more. Some of the fun things you can experience while in St. Louis are only a click away: Things to Do in St Louis If you’re interested in real estate get our Free Fall Home Buying Guide