2021 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
10-04-2021 – Update
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation:
Because of the warmer than normal weather, especially the warm nighttime temperatures, color change is occurring slowly in many areas around our region. Some early-turning species continue to become more consistent although a lot of green is still visible, especially in and around St. Louis. Early defoliation is occurring in areas where rainfall has been less frequent. Flowering dogwood, sumac, and Virginia creeper seem to be the most consistent, but you can find individual sassafras, persimmon, hackberry, sugar maple, blackhaw, redbud, and a few hickories with decent color. If we get some overnights with lows in the 40s, it would help things progress and improve our late-season color.
Fall Color Hot Spots
Color tends to be sporadic around the region, but it will be best outside of St. Louis City and County where nights are cooler. It’s still early to find large areas with fall color, but check out Daniel Boone, Little Lost Creek, or B. K. Leach Conservation Areas for some early displays. Early fall wildflowers are still the best bet for consistent color, so visiting area prairies at Busch, Valley View Glades, or Victoria Glades Conservation Areas or Shaw Nature Reserve should give you a chance to see both wildflowers and a splash of fall color in trees.
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
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