BEFORE THE WINTER STORM arrived with predictions of feet of snow in nearby North Dakota, we embraced autumn at, for us, a previously unvisited state park. Maplewood State Park east of Pelican Rapids in northwestern Minnesota fits its name. This place blazes with hillsides of trees set among prairie and lakes.
Last Wednesday, only days before that predicted winter storm (which also edged into western Minnesota), we toured this park that features scenic overlooks, miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, and a five-mile driving loop.
We hit the park at the peak of fall color. So did many others—busloads of school children, generations of families, couples, horseback riders…
When you live in Minnesota or the Dakotas, you need to take in every single last glorious day of autumn before the snow flies, the leaves fall and winter settles in for months.
We enjoyed a sunshine-filled, albeit windy, afternoon exploring Maplewood. There’s something incredibly soothing about immersing one’s self in the outdoors, far from work and worries. Spirits soar in sunshine in a place that is spectacularly beautiful in this season of autumn.
TELL ME: What’s your favorite location to view fall colors?
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Beautiful Audrey! Wednesday was a beautiful day. I took our dog on three different walks in between house cleaning with the windows open. I’d love to take another walk or drive through Lake Herman State Park.
I’m glad you enjoyed your Wednesday also and Lake Herman State Park.
Now there’s a state park we haven’t been to yet! Thanks for sharing these photos of it. One of my favorite places to drink in fall color is along the parkway on the St. Paul side of the Mississippi not far from the St. Paul Seminary. That stretch is just glorious when the colors are at their peak. I also love being up along the north shore, up toward Lutsen. Beautiful! I think their colors are done up there by now, though.
Thanks for those Minnesota fall color tips, Kathleen.
Beautiful photo’s Audrey. I especially like the one with the one with the prairie grasses and the colors on the hill behind it. Thanks for sharing. I’m about to update my blog with fall-color photos in the north land.
The colors Up North were certainly beautiful last week. I’ll check out your photos for sure.
The fall colors in New England are the most vibrant and long-lasting that I’ve seen anywhere in the country. The North Shore is also good, but the autumn season is far too short in Northern Minnesota! Down here in Missouri, the Ozarks are nice, although the coloring is very muted by comparison.
I can only imagine how beautiful the fall colors in New England. Thanks for your recommendations, Neil.
I enjoyed your pictorial album of fall colors. I did not know these particular park had restored prairies and seeing horseback riders. was an added bonus. And yes outdoors and autumn sunshine can lift one spirits. Good to enjoy it all while it lasts.
I expect the colors in Hackensack are just as lovely. Yes, I enjoyed seeing the horseback riders, something I’ve never seen before at a state park.
I’m glad you were able to see such a beautiful array of fall colors, and to capture wonderful photos of God’s amazing creation.
We definitely hit the right day to view God’s glorious fall colors.
Thoroughly enjoyed your fall colors. Our colors in NC are yet to really pop but we usually don’t see full color until November so I will patiently wait. We did get out and enjoy the fall like weather over the weekend which was nice and included apple orchards and hiking a little bit at Chimney Rock .
Sounds like a wonderful weekend in the great outdoors.
It’s so pretty, Audrey! We are currently in a National Park in Kentucky. While the leaves are falling, there doesn’t seem to be much vibrant color this year. I’m hoping it changes in the next couple of days before we head to the land of one seasons (Florida). Fall is my favorite, so I’m going to enjoy every second. Thank you for sharing the lovely colors!
I hope you see some vibrant fall colors also, Dawn. Autumn is my favorite season, too.
We’ve finally seen some beautiful color! They started to get really pretty in Kentucky while we were there, and we drove through Tennessee yesterday. The colors on the mountain ranges were beautiful. We’re tackling northern Georgia today, so I think it will be the last of the pretty since we’ll hit Florida.
I’m thankful you ran into some stunning fall colors. Enjoy.
I haven’t visited this State Park so thanks for the wonderful pictures and narrative. I will have to add to my “Need to Visit” list.
Jay Cooke is my favorite fall color location. The scenic overlook of the St Louis River Valley is spectacular in the fall.
Thanks for sharing your favorite Minnesota fall color destination.
Beautiful pictures Audrey. My wife and I moved to Shakopee from the prairies of western North Dakota 2 years ago. The trees on those prairies are remote and lonely, as a rural UPS driver I’d see a herd of cows trying to huddle under a single tree in the scorching sun. Moving here amongst all the beautiful trees we haven’t selected a favorite place to see the changing colors yet, but we never get tired of seeing all the fall foliage right in our own neighborhood. We are planning on going on a scenic river cruise at Taylor’s Falls this Saturday, we look forward to that.
Brian, you give a vivid description of the western North Dakota landscape. I can see those cows in my mind huddling under that lone tree. I grew up on the southwestern Minnesota prairie, thus can fully understand. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your new tree-filled home in Minnesota. Have a wonderful river cruise.
Maplewood State Park is definitely one of my favorite “fall color” destinations! It’s been several years since I’ve been there and your photo essay is much appreciated! The yellow birch trees in my front yard by Oslo, Norway, are radiant this year – no need to travel to find “fall colors” this autumn!!
We absolutely loved Maplewood. What a glorious place in the autumn. You are right to appreciate what you have right in your yard. I feel the same about Faribault. We have so many stunning fall colors right here in town. No need to travel if you don’t want to do so.