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.
Whereâ€™s The Best Place?
While you can enjoy Missouriâ€™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 canâ€™t get out of town, enjoy places with mature trees, such as older neighborhoods, parks, and even cemeteries.
Follow the show of Missouriâ€™s fall color, and find events on your route
The Missouri Division of Tourismâ€™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.