Fall Color Report

Report Date Area Description of Fall Color Est. Peak Viewing
11/02/2020 NE Iowa The fall color season is winding down in Northeast, Iowa. Leaves have completely fallen for most species with the exception of some oak trees.    Oct. 10-15
11/02/2020 NC and NW Iowa The fall colors have passed and most trees have lost their leaves. If you go on a hike and look around, you may find shrubs with green leaves. These are likely invasive species such as honeysuckle or buckthorn. If you are interested in finding out what they look like or how much is around, this is a good time to find them. Oct. 10-17
Central Iowa Leaf color is past its peak and the colors are fading from the landscape.  But if you park the car and go for a hike on a local trail, you'll still find plenty of interesting colors hanging on in the oaks, maples, shrubs, vines, and ground flora.     Oct 10-17
11/02/2020    SE Iowa Still some colors out there in SE Iowa.  There should be a few more days of color but leaves are starting to fall.  Still a mix of  brown and yellow on the landscape. Oct. 12-22
SCentral Iowa We are definitely past peak, but there is still a bit of fall color hanging in there.  The oak trees are holding leaves and are shades of orange, rust, and red.  Most edge and bottomland species are dropping leaves quickly or are already bare.  Urban hard maples are still colorful, although not as vibrant.  Find the remaining fall color on the ridge tops where you find the oak trees.   Oct. 10-20
11/02/2020 WC and SW Iowa The last cold snap and snow have just about brought an end to this year's fall color. If you leave the beaten path there is still some color and the weather this week is shaping up to be wonderful for hiking! Oct. 8-12

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Fall Tree Color Information

Fall is often one of the best times in Iowa, with warm days and cool nights, low humidity, very few insects  and the brilliant autumn colors of our trees.

Every year, thousands of Iowans and visitors flock to the countryside to view nature's colorful display of red, orange, yellow and purple leaves.

Looking for ways to enjoy Iowa's fall color? Visit Iowa Tourism.

Fall Color - Legend and Facts

Green ash leaves turn yellow, but white ash has a purplish cast. The leaves fall after those of walnut trees, but earlier than  those of oaks and maples.

Elm leaves turn various shades of yellow with some turning brown before falling, others falling while still yellow.

Leaves turn yellow on hickory trees, then brown before falling.

Maple (Soft): 
The leaves of soft (silver) maples turn yellow but do not turn brown before falling.

Maple (Hard): 
Brilliant flame red hues are the signature of hard maple leaves. The red pigmentation of some leaves breaks down before falling.

Bur Oak: 
Buff to yellow colors predominate in bur oaks. The leaves remain on the tree and turn brown before falling.

Oak (Red): 
The red oaks have brilliant red leaves in fall though the color is probably not as intense as that of some hard maples.

Oak (White): 
White oaks have a more subdued purple fall leaf color. The leaves then turn brown and often stay on the tree until new leaves begin to grow in the spring.

When do colors peak?

Peak fall color occurs in northeast Iowa, on average, during  the weekend closest to October 10.

Typically, peak fall color occurs progressively later the farther south you go in Iowa. Perhaps the most important thing about fall color is having the time to enjoy it.

Fall Color Map


Printable Fall Colors State of Iowa Map