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.

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This is the last update to our fall color report, so make sure to get out there and enjoy the color while it lasts. Read on to find out what to look for and where.

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 11/9/2020

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

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 the city's verdant parks and public spaces. Be sure to venture outside the city, 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 Times

Second week of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • Northeast Illinois:
    • The fall colors are waning, with high winds knocking down and blowing away the remaining leaves on many species of trees.
    • Some oaks are still showing reds and browns.
    • Red oak trees that aren’t defoliated are reddish brown.
    • Black oaks and bur oaks are yellowish brown, with white oaks reddish brown.
    • Mulberry tree leaves have mostly blown away with some yellow leaves remaining, while elms range from green to yellow.
    • Silver maples are mostly done, with some red remaining in red maples.
  • North Central:
    • A lot of trees are bare in north central Illinois after rain, followed by wind stripped a lot of the yellow color out of the forested areas in the region.

Red Leaves Between the Rivers

Great Rivers Country

Stretching the western edge of Illinois along the bank of the Mississippi River, Great Rivers Country is home to some of 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 Times

Second week of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • Throughout northwest Illinois:
    • Early November finds the colors of fall are past the peak, but still presenting a pleasant landscape view.
    • Oak leaves are hanging on with the main colors of dark orange, brown, and red.
  • Colors are mainly past peak in west central Illinois, but there is still a lot of color to see.
    • While many maples are now bare, there are a lot of sugar maples that are still golden and some red maples that are spectacular red.
    • Silver maples are dropping leaves quickly, while oaks have all turned various reds, browns and golden (and many still have some green leaves).
    • Hickories are totally brown, while sweet gums are starting to turn yellow and orange.
    • Flowering dogwoods are turning purple.
    • In wind-protected landscapes, hickory, Paw Paw, Osage orange, mulberry, catalpa, and black oak trees are still showing yellow, with some sugar maples still showing yellow/red/gold/orange.
    • Patches of sumac and individual sassafras and dogwoods continue to show red, with white oaks, red oaks, pin oaks, and shingle oaks showing rust-colored red.
    • The upland portions of Brown County are quite beautiful right now as oak species have colored, creating a rusty appearance with red highlights from the understory fragrant sumac.  

CENTRAL ILLINOIS' SHIMMERING SUMACS

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 Times

Middle of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • In rural central Illinois, the leaves that remain are past peak and dropping fast, with some remaining red, yellow, orange, and brown hues.
  • In urban areas with cultivars of European, Asian and other species, plus a lot of maples that show color later in the season, community parks and boulevards are still worthy of a stroll or bike ride.

Saffron Hues in Southern Illinois

Trails to Adventure

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 Times

Last week of October

What's Happening This Week:

  • Throughout the southern Illinois region, colors are peaking or past peak in many locations.
  • Some sugar and red maples have some color left.
  • Hickory leaves are now a yellowish-brown, while the bald cypress leaves are mainly still holding mostly brown, with a few having a little bit of green remaining.
  • The forest is a mixture of some green, yellow, and brown.
  • Natural areas in southern Illinois are still colorful enough on a sunny day in most areas for a fun drive or trail hike, but this first full weekend of November is likely the last weekend for a good fall color show.
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