Where are trees turning fall colors?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It's time to start planning for your weekend or longer trip to see this year's colorful fall foliage, and the Web has lots of guides to help you pick a time and a place, from the Rockies to the Great Lakes to New England and farther south.

The West might not have the oaks and maples that brighten places like New England, but it does have stands of aspen that splash gold across the mountains and valleys. Colorado State Parks -- www.parks.state.co.us/fall/ -- says color is already appearing on some vegetation at Castlewood Canyon, in the central part of the state. Click on "Fall Trips" for some other travel ideas.

For casino visitors, Nevada also has Western tips -- www.travelnevada.com/ -- but you'll have to dig for them. Click on "News," and then "Feature Stories," and look under "Uncommon Road Trips."

If you want to go to the Upper Midwest to pursue nature's colors, Explore Minnesota -- www.exploreminnesota.com/ -- has articles to read and "Fall Color Rainbow Routes," including the Minnesota and Mississippi river valleys and the parks around the Twin Cities.

Next door in Wisconsin -- www.travelwisconsin.com/seasons/fall.htm -- the foliage color reports haven't started yet, but you can start with "Scenic Drives" and scan the autumn events, like Oktoberfests in Appleton or La Crosse. Look under "Driving Tours" at Michigan's travel Web site -- travel.michigan.org/ -- for scenic drive suggestions and a tiny map of expected peak color times.

Wait a little later and head south for Fall in the Ozarks -- www.ozarkmtns.com/foliage/index.htm -- of Arkansas and Missouri. They promise color reports beginning Oct. 10.

Pennsylvania's Fall in Pa. -- www.fallinpa.com/ -- has been one of the best organized Web guides for autumn leaves. There's a map of the state's three foliage zones, fall bird-watching information, and more. The best part in past seasons has been their live Web camera network to show you how the woods look; it's not online yet, but until it's switched on you can enjoy photos of last year's show.

Most people think of New England for fall foliage, and Yankee Magazine -- www.yankeemagazine.com/foliage/index.php -- covers the region with suggested destinations and a map that is supposed to be updated by local residents.

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