Ultimate Guide to Fall in Detroit Lakes
Detroit Lakes Minnesota Fall Leaf Color Report
Peak fall leaf colors in the Detroit Lakes area are late September to early October
Your ultimate guide to fall recommends taking your final scenic hikes and drives to see remaining Becker County foliage colors that are now past peak. Wind and rain caused leaves to fall, however there are still some areas with striking colors. Tamarack trees are turning golden before losing their needles at autumn’s end.
Tamarac Fall Color Update: Rain and wind events have taken the fall colors to the peak and beyond. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a delightful scenery through Tamarac Refuge. There are still yellow aspen, birch and ash trees. The golden view into the deep woods is spectacular. A few orange maples and red oaks can also be spotted. The leaves that have fallen create colorful walking paths through the woods (see photo below) Mushrooms are sprouting everywhere and fun to watch for on your walk or drive. Roadside you may see the red rosehips on the small wild rose shrubs. The tamarack trees are just starting to turn golden. When the sun is warm against the ground in the afternoon watch for little red-bellied or garter snakes taking one last warm bask before heading to the hibernacula. A bumper crop of acorns provides food for squirrels and deer.
See the Detroit Lakes area’s Color Tour map with three options for hikes and scenic drives in the crisp fall air that heightens the woodsy aroma in forests.
The Minnesota DNR fall colors map provides fall foliage color updates.
5 Reasons to Experience Fall in Detroit Lakes, MN
Following Labor Day, the crisp fall air sneaks in to cool things off in Minnesota. Though we rarely want to say goodbye to summer, the fall has its perks in Detroit Lakes: gorgeous colors perfect for road trips and bike rides, leisurely vacationing with fewer crowds, muskie fishing and end-of-season deals. Not to mention fun-filled events. Now’s the perfect time to Visit Detroit Lakes before (gasp) the snow flies.
#1: Fall Color Driving Tours
Oranges and reds. Pale greens and bright yellows. Deep green conifer spires. Autumn in lakes country is the opportune time to take leisurely drives and hikes to see the spectacular changing Minnesota foliage colors!
Recommended routes include:
- Southern Tour – Maplewood State Park: rich in deciduous trees and offers great early-season colors.
- Northern Tour – Itasca State Park: featuring rich forest, evergreens, deciduous trees and excellent mid-season colors
- Fall on the Prairie – Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge: also abundant forests with evergreens, hardwoods and provides awesome mid-season colors
- Lake Country Scenic Byway – Highway 34 east of Detroit Lakes gifts you with the changing landscape from prairie to hardwoods and increasing dark green spires of conifers
Peak leaf colors in the Detroit Lakes typically occur at the end of September/first week of October. You can download our Fall Colors tour map and hit the road.
#2: Mountain Biking & Hiking
Detroit Lakes: A Mountain Biker’s Dream
Mountain bikers come from all over to explore everything from scenic trails to heart-thumping steep slopes and switchbacks. The Detroit Lakes area has miles of trails to choose from at two-plus area venues: Maplelag Resort and Mountain View County Park.
The Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, four miles east of Detroit Lakes, offers mountain bike trails to immerse yourself in fall color scenery. Enjoy miles of adventure when riding your mountain bike on the contour flow trails or for the adventure seeker and more skilled rider try the lift-accessed downhill trails that drop down the side of the mountain over berms, rollers, jumps and drops featuring large custom wooden ride-over features.
Another scenic option is road biking the Heartland Trail. Bring your bike and ride nearly five miles east of Detroit Lakes toward Frazee. The city trail runs along the frontage road adjacent to Hwy 10 by the hotels. It leads you through an underpass to miles of paved trail by wetlands, prairie and woodlands. You’ll take in a mix of colorful hardwood leaves with tamaracks and deep green conifers culminating with a spectacular display at Acorn and Eagle Lakes near the trail’s end.
#3 Fall Muskie Fishing at its Finest
With cooler temperatures and less humidity, fall is perfect to hit any of the 400+ lakes in the Detroit Lakes area to cast a fishing line. Cooler temps mean cooler water and more hungry fish after your hook.
If you’re looking for a truly unique fishing experience, why not go for the ultimate in Minnesota fishing – muskie!
Those successful at fishing report catching muskies longer than 50-inches on area lakes including Big Detroit, Pelican (and Fish), Sallie, Many Point, Beers Lake and Lake Melissa.
The muskie waters here tend to be very clear, and the fish can even be sight fished at times. If you see them, they can see you, so back off before casting to entice them to bite. If the wind blows and you have good cloud cover, you may have success with trolling or casting.
Wondering where the fish are? Fishing guides will help you get your catch. Contact Brad Laabs Guide Service and Baxstar Fishing Guide Service. Both are full-service fishing guides and supply bait, tackle and equipment.
#4 Autumn Featured Events & Festivals
The whole family will enjoy fall activities at several venues. Each September, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge hosts their fall festival. Janu’s Pumpkin Patch lets the kiddos pick out their favorite pumpkin from the patch on weekends in early October. Maple Hills Orchard’s store has a variety of Minnesota grown apples to choose from, honey and maple syrup as well as walks and a hayride. You’ll want to search out art galleries in the country, such as Forest Edge Gallery and multiple pottery shops.
Be sure to check our Events Calendar for more festivities happening in Detroit Lakes.
#5 Great Deals on Lodging, Golf and More!
As the busy summer season unwinds, you’ll find great discounts on lodging, golf and more.
Summer may be over, but resort season isn’t. Some resorts stay open year-round for hunters, fishermen and outdoor adventurers who don’t let cold slow them down. A Detroit Lakes, Minnesota resort with a cozy fireplace is the perfect place to enjoy this special, fleeting season. Book now for special off-season prices!
You’ll also find a wide variety of quality motels, hotels and vacation homes to meet your needs and budget. From award winning mid-sized chain hotels, to smaller independent properties, to a full-service hotel with conference facilities, Detroit Lakes has more than 400 rooms to accommodate you. Plus, several hotels offer lakeside views of the setting sun over Detroit Lake.
Nights may be chilly, but fall days are perfect for hitting the greens. Get in those last swings of the season at seven Minnesota golf courses in and around Detroit Lakes. Reasonable rates and easy booking will get you on the courses faster and more often. Plan to make the rounds on several of the courses and take time to enjoy autumn’s ever-changing hues and skies filled with honking geese flying south.
Guides to Detroit Lakes