Fall Color Report – Otter Tail Lakes Area


According to the Department of Natural Resources, the rainy Minnesota spring should counteract the dry summer and leave the majority of trees in good condition for a brilliant fall color season. Early transformation is already occurring in some of the trees. Adding to the display are vibrant red sumac, gold and purple native grasses, and abundant fall wildflowers.

At Maplewood State Park, the colorful prairie grasses are spectacular in their rich shades of gold, purple and brown. The sumac is showing patches of reds and orange and some of the maples are displaying a hint of fall colors. The ash trees are beginning to turn yellow. One favorite site to visit in the fall is the Hallaway Hill Overlook which offers outstanding vistas of clear blue lakes, a mix of hardwood forest, and colorful prairies. Another favorite is the 4.5-mile Scenic Park Drive which winds through a mix prairies, wooded knolls and shady hollows.

Further north at Itasca State Park, all colors are progressing slowly through the trees, but visitors can still enjoy a great mix of late summer flowers. View large-leaf asters in the big pine stands, orange Spotted touch-me-nots along any lake shore, scattered patches of fuschia colored Joe Pye-weed, and yellow sunflowers and golden rods. Individual red maples are beginning to show hints of red, and random black ash are beginning to lighten. Slight changes in color are occurring in some of the dogwood species. The bracken ferns are turning gold.