Parks for the Best Fall Colors

By: Jim Bradley

September 26, 2018

Category: Recreation

Pictured above are fall views at Silverwood Park.

Cooler nights and shorter days. Get ready to look for fall colors in one or many parks within Three Rivers Park District. In this part of the country, we can see peak colors around the middle of October or earlier. Cooler temperatures make this a great time to hike and explore.

I like any tree or shrub with color but I am partial to maples because of their brilliant orange and red coloring. When I leave my work site at Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement during October, I stop at County Road 24 to go left. The view of mixed hardwoods with oak trees to the right is just spectacular. I think it’s the blend of many colors that make that spot a good one. 

Baker Park Reserve

Baker has a lot of mature maples and other trees that start turning color by the beginning of October. Try some cabin camping at the Baker Outdoor Learning Center or camp on your own this fall at the campground to really take in the colorful fall season.

cabin in the woods with fall leaves around it
Cabin at Baker Outdoor Learning Center.

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove has many mature trees as well, and again many maple trees. 

A leaf-covered path goes through a forest in the fall.
A trail near Eastman Nature Center.

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

One of my favorite parks during the fall is Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve. The colors are great there because of the variety of trees. It’s not just the colors though; I also like Murphy because there are fewer bugs and the hills are a challenge to climb on a hot day.

trail covered in fall leaves
Fall trail at Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hyland Lake Park Reserve has a variety of mature trees with many hiking trails and good views of fall colors. 

A dirt trail goes past a small lake. The tree line is full of spectacular fall color.
A trail near Richardson Nature Center. 

More Places to Explore

wooded fall landscape
Autumn views at Gale Woods Farm.
fall leaves on a paved trail
Fall on the Dakota Rail Regional Trail.
Trees along the shore of a lake change color in the fall.
Autumn lake views at Carver Park Reserve.

Check out the Three Rivers fall color updates, and get out to view the colors in a park near you!

About the Author

Jim Bradley started with Three Rivers Park District at Cleary Lake Regional Park in 1989. He then spent 8 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and came back to the Park District in 1999. He grew up in Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Education from Bemidji State University. He picked that college for the degree and its location and he claims he kept a fishing pole in his locker and would fish from shore during breaks between classes. Jim holds certification in DNR Firearms Safety and the NASP Archery program. His favorite thing about his job is teaching kids in the outdoors because he likes teaching, he likes kids, and he loves being outdoors. His wife works as a wildlife biologist and during their spare time they like to explore things that are off the beaten path. Uncle Jim claims that his twelve nieces and nephews love to hear him tell stories and one of them calls him Uncle Nature.


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