Predicting the peak of fall color can be difficult. Missouri is blessed with a great variety of trees, shrubs, and vines. Their leaves turn at different times, so Missourians enjoy a fall color season that may last four to six weeks. Sassafras, sumac, and Virginia creeper are some of the earliest to change, beginning in mid-September. By late September, black gum, bittersweet, and dogwood are turning.
The peak of fall color in Missouri is usually around mid-October. This is when maples, ashes, oaks, and hickories are at the height of their fall display. Normally by late October, the colors are fading and the leaves beginning to drop from the trees. Fall color is usually finished by the middle of November.
The progression of color change starts earliest in north Missouri and moves southward across the state. Generally, the color change is predictable, but it can vary from year to year. Much depends on the weather.
Where’s The Best Place?
You can enjoy Missouri’s fall color almost anywhere.
For spectacular vistas, choose routes along rivers with views of forested bluffs, and along ridges with sweeping scenes of forested landscapes.
Like its cousin poison ivy, fragrant sumac turns lovely colors in the fall. Note the lack of a separate, elongated leaf stalk on the center leaflet; instead, the leaf middle leaflet blade tapers to where it joins the other two.
The magnificent display of fall color in eastern North America is one of the most spectacular sights involving the plant kingdom. Sugar maples, with their bright reds, oranges, and yellows, play a starring role.