The head of the Iowa DNR’s State Forest section is predicting an “average” year for fall colors.
Jeff Goerndt is hoping he’s wrong, but says recent wet and cool conditions may not result in the best and brightest show for leaf watchers.
“We’re really keeping an eye on northeast Iowa, where we typically have our best fall color. We’ve had some really heavy rain, storm events and flooding in that area. There’s more cooler and wet weather forecast for that area and that’s not necessarily the best recipe for good fall color,” Goerndt says.
Northeast Iowa has an abundance of hard maple trees, which supply bright red and orange colors. Goerndt suggests the Loess Hills in western Iowa offer a completely different, yet equally stunning, fall look.
“There are a lot of cedar trees, which give you sort of green colors, mixed in with a lot of yellow colors from some of the ash and cottonwood trees,” Goerndt says. “It’s sort of a different fall color look than what you’re going to see around the rest of the state.”
Leaves typically change first across northern Iowa between the last week of September to the second week of October. Central and southern Iowa generally change color between mid to late October. The annual fall color show is a big tourist attraction for many cities and towns around the state.
“Folks like to visit our state parks and state forest areas, especially the areas around the larger reservoirs with a lot of trees. Also, if you get out there and drive those scenic byways around the state, those are great places to view fall color,” Goerndt says. Weekly updates on fall color information can be found at iowadnr.gov/fallcolor.