Fall Colors in the Chicago Area Are Getting Closer and Closer to Their Peak

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Fall has pleasantly settled into the Chicago area, with chilly mornings, mild afternoons and crisp, warmed toned leaves.

And while Illinois as a whole may not see fall foliage hit its peak until late October, leaf-peepers in and around the city and suburbs are expected to have an earlier chance see the colors change.

According to Smoky Mountains' 2022 Fall Foliage Map, which tracks and predicts when leaves are expected to change colors across the country, the Chicago-area is set hit near its fall foliage peak the first week in October -- more, specifically Oct. 3.

By Oct. 10, the leaves are predicted to peak. One week later however, that color will start to fade.

At the Morton Aboretum in Lisle, hints of fall colors are already beginning to appear, with foliage changing daily.

"Changing leaf color is most visible in buckeyes," the arboretum says in its weekly fall color report. "Lighter shades of green are showing in hackberries, corktrees, coffeetrees, walnuts, some elms, and catalpas. In sunny areas, look for early reds developing on sumacs and the occasional Virginia creeper or poison-ivy vine."

When Might Illinois See Fall Foliage At its Peak?

As for the rest of the state, the colors are expected to change a bit later. According to the 2022 Fall Foliage map, much of Illinois isn't predicted to see colors near peak until Oct. 17, when the golden hues are on their way out of the Chicago-area.

By Oct. 24, some areas will see perfectly peaked colors, while other areas will be past.

By Halloween, the leaves will have already changed in the northern park of the state, while the southern will still look golden.

Though the science of predicting fall leaf color changes is inexact, there are several factors that could lead to a later-than-usual fall peak in the state. That includes a drier-than-normal stretch of weather, as well as a warmer-than-normal start to fall, which was predicted by the National Weather Service.

According to the Enjoy Illinois, some of the best locations in the state to see the fall foliage include Starved Rock State Park, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County and Millennium Park in Chicago.

Farmer's Almanac named Pere Marquette State Park in west central Illinois as the eighth best place in the U.S. to check out fall foliage.

As a self-described "nature-lover's paradise," the park will offer sights of the turning leaves against a backdrop of wooded ravines and roadways alongside the Illinois River. Explorers also can take advantage of the land's towering bluffs, which will provide a panoramic view of the lush scenery that engulfs the park's 12-mile trail.

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