Fall Colors

Trying to predict the peak of fall color is difficult. Missouri is blessed with a great variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. Their leaves turn at different times and, as a result, Missourians enjoy a fall color season that may last four to six weeks. Sassafras, sumac, and Virginia creeper are some of the earliest to change. They begin to show their fall colors by mid-September. By late September, black gum, bittersweet, and dogwood are changing.

The peak of fall color in Missouri is usually mid-October. This is when maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories are at the height of their fall display. Normally by late October, the colors have faded and the leaves are beginning to drop from the trees.

This progression of color change starts earliest in north Missouri and moves southward across the state to the Bootheel. Generally, the color change is predictable, but it can vary from year to year. Much depends on the weather.

Where’s The Best Place?

While you can enjoy Missouri’s fall color almost anywhere, the best places for vistas tend to be along rivers with views of forested bluffs, and along ridges with sweeping scenes of forested landscapes. On a smaller scale, driving on back roads, hiking, or taking a float trip under any colorful forest canopy on a clear, blue-sky day is like having acres of shining stained glass above.

Even treeless areas, such as prairies and roadsides, display beautiful shades of gold, purple, olive, and auburn of autumn wildflowers, shrubs, and curing, rustling grasses. And if you can’t get out of town, enjoy places with mature trees, such as older neighborhoods, parks, and even cemeteries.

Follow the show of Missouri’s fall color, and find events on your route

The Missouri Division of Tourism’s online calendar (see Visit Missouri under External Links below) is packed with events happening all across Missouri this fall. Find those along your preferred routes.

Fall Color Updates Run September–November

Central Region, including Columbia, Jefferson City, and Lake of the Ozarks

Fall color has ended for the Central Region.

09/15/2014 - 4:33pm

Kansas City Region

Fall color has ended for the Kansas City Region.

11/20/2013 - 12:14pm

Northeast Region, including Kirksville and Hannibal

Fall color has ended for the Northeast Region.

11/14/2013 - 6:20pm

Northwest Region, including St. Joseph and Chillicothe

Fall color has ended for the Northwest Region.

11/20/2013 - 12:14pm

Ozark Region, including Rolla, West Plains, and Eminence

Fall color has ended for the Ozark Region.

11/20/2013 - 12:18pm

Southeast Region, including Cape Girardeau, Farmington, and Poplar Bluff

Fall color has ended for the Southeast Region.

11/20/2013 - 12:18pm

Southwest Region, including Springfield, Branson, and Joplin

Fall color has ended for the Southwest Region.

11/20/2013 - 12:18pm

St. Louis Region

Fall color has ended for the St. Louis Region.

11/20/2013 - 12:15pm
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Why Leaves Change Color

Jack Frost is not the culprit. Some leaves change color weeks before the first icy nights.