Iowa September 12, 2018
Fall Is Coming And These Are The 11 Best Places To See The Changing Leaves In Iowa
Iowa is a state that absolutely comes alive with fall color, and we’re only a few weeks away from the best leaf peeping around! Check out the map below, adjust your travel dates based on your location, and head out to see the most stunning parks in the Hawkeye State as they change color and prepare for fall.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
This year, the best time to go leaf peeping in the Hawkeye State will be mid to late October.
There are so many places where you can track down gorgeous fall foliage in Iowa. Check out a few of our favorite places below:
1. Yellow River State Forest
Yellow River State Forest is a lightly traffed park that leads to stunning panoramic views. This primitive park is home to miles of nature trails and is a top destination for mountain bikers.
2. Loess Hills and the Missouri Valley
The Loess Hills are the most underrated spot in the state, and as they approach the Missouri Valley, the trees seem to explode with the colors of fall.
3. Pikes Peak State Park
Pikes Peak State Park is known for their overlooks of the Mississippi River, but when you get to the top, the autumn colors will take your breath away.
4. Wildcat Den State Park
Wildcat Den State Park has a ominous name, but you aren't going to find any mountain lions here. Instead, you'll find the golden glow of autumn leaves lighting up your hike.
5. Lake MacBride State Park
Lake MacBride is a great place to visit to watch summer roll into fall. The lake is busy with boaters and paddlers well into October, and the fiery reflections of changing trees makes this a unique spot to stop for leaf peeping.
6. Hickory Grove Park
Hickory Grove Park is a gorgeous, underrated gem in Colo, Iowa. Stop here for a midday picnic and enjoy watching wildife with autumn colors as a backdrop.
7. Big Creek State Park
Big Creek State Park is a great destination for Des Moinesians to get out of the city and get some fresh air! This gorgeous park shows off some of the Hawkeye State's finest fall foliage
8. Waubonsie State Park
Wabounsie State Park is one of Iowa's most underrated spots, but the hillsides turn red, orange, and yellow as fall rolls in.
9. Story City
Story City is a unique town in Iowa that's one of the most charming places you'll ever visit. Stop by in the fall to see the leaves changing color and taking over the cit.y
There are so many places to see beautiful fall foliage in Dubuque. If you're up for a hike, visit the Mines of Spain Recreation Area. If you'd rather keep your feet on the ground, visit the University of Dubuque for a scenic backdrop to the autumn leaves.
11. Bellevue State Park
Bellevue State Park is the gem of Jackson County, where you'll find walking paths, picnic areas, and trees absolutely bursting with the colors of the fall. Visit for a relaxing stroll near the Mississippi River.
For more details on an incredible fall foliage hike, check out our featured article about
The Awesome Hike At Yellow River State Forest! It may be the finest foliage hike in Iowa, and you’ll want to see it for yourself.