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Best Places For Fall Colors In Minnesota

"As the fall color show moves from north to south, so do the visitors to Minnesota's autumn scenery extravaganza," Judith Ramsey said. She is one who should know, because she has lived in numerous communities throughout Minnesota and visited almost every Minnesota campground, RV park and state park. Here are her recommendations for viewing fall colors in Minnesota.

Readers can also see more recommendations in last year's list, Best Places For Fall Colors In Minnesota.

The Drive To Duluth Harbor
(credit: Nellissa Schmalz)

North Shore Of Lake Superior
Co. Road 61 (old Hwy. 61) from Duluth to Two Harbors
US Hwy. 61 from Two Harbors to Grand PortageSee the colors first on Superior.The trek from Duluth to the Canadian border is 154-miles. Follow Scenic Highway 61 past eight Minnesota State Parks and the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Throughout the trip, waterfalls will thrill you and small towns will charm you. Stop for lunch and souvenirs at Knife River, Two Harbors or Grand Marais. Tour the reconstructed 1700s fur-trading post at Grand Portage National Monument located near the Canadian border and finish with a climb to the High Falls in Grand Portage State Park.

Fall Colors In Grand Marais
(credit: Patricia Hustings)

Edge Of The Wilderness Scenic Byway
Minnesota Highway 38 through Grand Rapids, Marcell, Bigfork and Effie Minnesota Dazzling fall color of hardwood and pine surround more than 600 lakes along this 47-mile trip. Start at Grand Rapids, home of the Judy Garland Museum. Continue through the Chippewa National Forest filled with wildlife, deer and soaring eagles. Take a hike in the eponymous Scenic State Park, near Bigfork. Some have even called it the most scenic park in the state.

Fall Colors 2013
(credit: Scott Moss/St. Paul)

The Grand Round Tour
Minneapolis and St Paul
www.minneapolisparks.orgThis scenic drive through the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis offers vistas of the Chain of Lakes, St. Anthony Falls, Minnehaha Parkway and Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis. Drive Summit Avenue in St. Paul to see the historic mansions framed in autumn color. Plan a Mississippi Riverboat fall foliage day trip from Harriet Island in St. Paul.

Related: Best International Festivals To Attend This Fall 

2014 Fall Colors
Taylors Falls, Minn.

Saint Croix River Valley
Minnesota Highway 8 from Lindstrom to Taylors Falls, Minnesota
Minnesota Highway 96 from Taylors Falls to Stillwater, MinnesotaTravel north from the Twin Cities through Lindstrom, Center City and Taylors Falls. At Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, take a short riverboat tour of the river and view some of the state's most stunning autumn scenery. Circle back along this tour to the lovely town of Marine-on-St. Croix, then on to beautiful Stillwater.

Watch The Fall Colors

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway

US Highway 61 from Red Wing to Winona, MinnesotaThe southeastern 107-mile portion of this road trip offers spectacular autumn views of the river and the attractions in Red Wing, Lake City, Wabasha and Winona. Take time for a hike in Frontenac State Park, where the fall foliage is stunning and the overlook of the river is amazing. In Lake City the river widens and becomes Lake Pepin. Take home some treats from one of the area's many apple orchards.

Ramsey reminds us that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers a fall color report so you can follow the progression of the color-viewing season throughout the state from September through October.

Related: Ask An Expert: Spring Break Staycation Activities For Kids In Minnesota

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at
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