Illinois Fall Color Report

Enjoy Illinois presents the official Illinois Fall Color Report courtesy of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Discover the best places to see foliage unfolding in every region of the state.

It's fall and that means it's time to track the shifting colors throughout Illinois! The map below shows the estimated peaks to see the autumn hues in each region. Click the links to jump directly to a region and see what colors have sprung up this week — and explore the best places to see the fall colors for yourself.

Updated 10/25/19

The regions of Illinois
Estimated Peak Times
Chicago & Beyond: Second week of October
Great Rivers Country: Second week of October
Land of Lincoln: Middle of October
Trails to Adventure: Last week of October

AMBER SKYLINES AROUND THE VIBRANT CITY

Chicago & Beyond

illinois MapRegions Chicago Beyond

At night, the lights of Chicago's skyline make for a dazzling display of its own, but look down and you'll see plenty of fall foliage popping up among of the city's verdant parks and public spaces. Be sure to venture outside the city, though, where some of the best fall colors can be seen, peppering the region known as Chicago & Beyond with all the hues of autumn.

 The Best Places to See Fall Colors:

Estimated Peak

Second week of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • Tamaracks are beginning to turn in Volo Bog, these deciduous pines turn golden every fall, peaking out around Halloween into early November and this year is proving to be a good one
  • Fall color is happening in the McHenry and Lake County areas, oaks are displaying colors like orange red and yellow, maples are really showing good red purple and orange color
  • Will County area:
    • Black oaks are yellowing nicely; sassafras in many locations are a beautiful red, orange
    • Hackberries are a washed-out yellowish grey; many white oaks are blushing red
    • Bur oaks are barely turning on isolated branches; poplar species are done
    • Catalpas are yellow; hickories are gold in color
  • Maples: Sugar are reddish orange, red maples are reliably red, silver maples are a yellowish hue and nothing spectacular, mulberry are bright green, black cherry are a nice orange, and in several counties the black gum (tupelo) and persimmon are starting to blush
  • White pines are finishing their 2- 3-year needle cast, with golden hues in needles are no longer viable
  • Any remaining ash that did not succumb to emerald ash borer, primarily blue ash and white ash, are coloring up nicely, with blue a decent yellow, and few white ashes in reddish purple and yellow tints
  • Shrubs: Witchhazel is ending their yellow run, although many are in flower right now. Hazelnut is mostly done, with isolated spots still a nice yelloworange, fringetree is starting to yellow up, serviceberry is done
  • Understory of non-native shrubs: Buckthorn, honeysuckle and olive are still bright green, and a focal point of aggressive invasive management
  • This past week, colors have really come on nicely, with only a few locations not showing much color
  • A nice drive is along the Kankakee River, either on IL 102 or IL 113, with several pull offs available on the routes
  • Both Matthiessen and Starved Rock State Parks are at peak fall colors with a majority of the trees, shrubs, and vines turning over into colors of yellow, gold, orange, burnt orange/rust, red, browns, and purples

Red Leaves Between the Rivers

Great Rivers Country

illinois MapRegions Great rivers Country 1

Stretching along the western edge of Illinois along the bank of the Mississippi River, Great Rivers Country is home to some autumn's most brilliant landscapes. There you'll find trees such as oak, white ash, red maple, sugar maple, hickories, and burning bushes, which by the end of the season shine with a brilliant scarlet in the sun.

The Best Places to See Fall Colors:

Estimated Peak

Second week of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • In the Carroll County area:
    • Fall color scene is peaking, though oak leaves have yet to change color
  • Quad Cities area:
    • Cool temperatures, rain, and wind summarize the past week resulting in major changes
    • Urban landscapes have seen significant changes, with silver maples staring to yellow; red maples have been turning their burgundy colors, white ash trees are still holding on to pinkish purple leaves; sugar maples are turning yellow and pinkish orange
    • White ash trees are showing more of the pinkish/purple color; some sugar maples are in full color of yellows and yellowish orange; showiest colors are occurring on the vines in the woods and in field borders where the poison ivy, Virginia creeper, and wild grapevines are turning yellow, yellowish orange, and scarlet
    • In the woods, vines are providing significant color from yellow to scarlet
    • Oaks are starting to turn with variable colors where some are brownish yellow and others (white oak) are turning a pinkish red; most red oaks are still holding on to green but those that have changed have turned yellow and are dropping leaves
  • In West Central Illinois:
    • Color around the McDonough County area has improved in the last week
    • Some of the oaks are showing maroon, brown and yellow
    • Sassafras is close to peak with a lot or reds and oranges
    • Some ash trees are in full glory, while others have lost all of their leaves
    • Maples are starting to put on a good show, with many red, yellow and orange
    • Hickories are bronzing
  • Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Pike, Scott, Jersey, Macoupin, and Greene Counties:
    • With the exception of Pecan and some stubborn oak and hickory species (which remain predominantly green) the foliage of most other area tree species continues to actively turn, green dominance hovers in the 50% - 60% range in most areas
    • Area Cottonwood, Silver Maple, Catalpa, Osage Orange, Paw Paw, Hickory, and Walnut continue to yellow; Sumac, Sassafras, Creeper Vines, and Dogwood continue to redden; Sycamore trees continue to shade orange/brown; Sugar Maple are actively turning to red/yellow/gold; and Ash continue to shade to yellow/purple/red/orange
    • Urban trees are displaying good colors at this time
    • Nearly the entirety of Calhoun County should display exceptional colors over the next 10 days

CENTRAL ILLINOIS' SHIMMERING SUMACS

Land of Lincoln

illinois MapRegions Land of Lincoln

The central region of Illinois is steeped in history, but the leaves keep turning year after year in the Land of Lincoln. Home to cities such as the capital, Springfield, the Illinois River Valley comes alive with the orange and yellow of maples and oaks, the purple hues of dogwoods and hazelnuts, and the red and orange clusters of rose hips on wild roses.

 The Best Places to See Fall Colors:

Estimated Peak

Middle of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • Colors are beginning to peak in central Illinois, with reds and burgundy on sumacs and dogwoods, Virginia creep and poison ivy; on hard maples, red maples; on sweetgum, some oaks
  • Yellows: Ash, walnut, cottonwood, elm, silver maple, hickory, oak and many other species such as white pine older needles
  • Oranges: Hard maples, plus various city trees and tamarack
  • Browns and greens: Oak, hickory, elm
  • In the Coles County area:
    • Some black walnut continues to hang on showing yellow, along with some green ash
    • Sycamores are also displaying yellow, much of the hickory and sugar maples have turned yellow and orange
    • Some white ashes continue to show purple and red maples are mostly showing scarlet color
    • More red and black oak are showing red to burnt orange and some white oak are turning brownish red to purplish red or violet purple

Saffron Hues in Southern Illinois

Trails to Adventure

illinois MapRegions Trails to Adventure 1

The sprawling canopies of Shawnee National Forest cover the landscape of Southern Illinois, a region known as Trails to Adventure. In the fall, hickories, red oak, and sassafras form a tapestry of yellow and orange, while trees like white oak settle into a deep red. All of it makes for a perfect time to hike among the trails or take a trip through Shawnee Wine Trail.

The Best Places to See Fall Colors:

Estimated Peak

Last week of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • The walnut and the green ash leaves are still turning yellow and falling. Leaves on the sweet gum trees continue to turn yellow and red. The sassafras and sumac leaves are turning red or are red
  • Several of the Virginia creeper and poison ivy vines are turning red or are red in the Clinton County area. Sugar maples have really turned on with yellow and orange color. Red maples are continuing to turn different shades of red.
  • A few walnuts are still hanging on to some yellow leaves but for the most part they have dropped most of their leaves. Sassafras continues to have orange red and yellow colors.
  • Sweet gums have yellows, reds and deep purple. Hickories are starting to show some yellowing and browning. Oaks should turn on next week. Sumac is showing beautiful deep red on the edge of some prairie and old fields in the Marion County area.
  • In the Jackson County area, the Tulip Poplar, Sycamore, and Hickory are showing bright yellow. Sassafras and Dogwood are showing purple. Sumac are turning red, and the Oaks are starting to turn red or yellow.
  • Johnson County: Some progression of reds, orange, yellow coloring of sour gum, sassafras, sumac, elm, yellow poplar, sycamore, and sugar maple. River birch, walnut, and box elder trees have pretty well dropped all of their leaves. Dogwoods, if not brown from lack of water, are a deep dark red. Bald cypress rusty color is advancing. Oaks are still showing very little fall coloring. Unless color advances quickly, it will be November before a flush of color is seen.
  • The trees at Fort Massac State Park are just beginning to change color from a deep green to a burnt orange/yellow. Most are still green.
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