Illinois Fall Color Report

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

Fall colors are really starting to pop throughout the state! Beautiful vistas are sporting spectaculars hues that can only mean autumn in Illinois. Be sure to check back to this blog each week throughout the season for updates on where to see the best colors—and, as always, browse for the latest on fall festivals, attractions and events. Here’s what you can expect to see this week:

Updated 9/13/19

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 Carroll County, the maples are slowly starting to show yellowing. Walnuts are dropping some leaves. Sumac is showing shades of red. Everything else is green.
  • In the McDonough County area, we are starting to see a little color. So far sumac is showing the most color. Some of the leaves are a lovely crimson - less than 50% of the leaves have color so far.
  • Cottonwoods are starting to show some yellow leaves - also dropping some leaves (possibly heat related).
  • Green ash trees are showing some yellow leaves and white ash has some purple leaves at the top.
  • Sassafras are also showing a few scattered red and orange leaves. Elms are starting to show a little yellow and are dropping some leaves.

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:

  • Some yellowing happening in the black walnut. Corn and beans are starting to yellow and dry down.
  • Goldenrod and Biden species are shining with yellow which is contrasted with mountain mint that is white.
  • Ironweed has small purple flowers.
  • No real color to speak of in Jackson County area with this week’s return of summer weather.
  • In the Pope County area: poison ivy leaves are turning yellow, some other plants are turning light yellow-green and wilting due to the dry spell. Goldenrod and sunflowers are in full yellow bloom and asters with different shades of blue and white are about to open. Grasses are starting to change from green to tan.


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:

  • Colors are beginning to show in McHenry and Lake County areas. With successive cool nights last week, silver maple and red maple have started to show a bit of red and orange. Everything else is green at this point.
  • In the Will County area, the black walnuts have started to turn in several areas, with early leaf color yellow. Some hackberry trees are starting to turn as well.
  • Chokecherry in the woods began yellowing a week ago but haven't dropped leaves yet.
  • Sassafras is looking ready to begin color change. 



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:

  • In the Sangamon County area, the corn crop is turning yellow and the golden rod is a beautiful gold shade.
  • In the upland areas, the black walnuts are showing early yellow and, in the river bottoms the cottonwood and sycamore are showing early yellows.
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