Here are the best fall trips through Illinois to see fall foliage – NBC Chicago

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As Illinois enters October and foliage begins to appear, state officials have posted the best road trips to spot the changing colors of fall.

According to the Illinois Tourism Board’s Fall Colors 2021 report, residents of Chicago and surrounding areas are likely to see peak fall colors in the second week of October.

For those who can venture into Illinois to check out the foliage, IOT has published a list of road trip routes. Here are some highlights:

  • Fears and Delights in Illinois: Featuring local haunts in the southwestern region of the state like the McPike Mansion and Alton Hauntings Tours.
  • Rockford Awe and Charm Tour in Galena: Highlight fall scenic spots like the changing leaves of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, slide into the season on the Chestnut Mountain Resort Alpine Slide in Galena, and take a ghost tour of historic Galena Main Street.
  • Land of the big pumpkin: Introducing some of central Illinois’ family-friendly agri-tourism destinations, like the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, meet reindeer at Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul, and taste homemade fudge at Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola.
  • Haunted chicago: Highlighting spooky stops, stays, and sights around town like the historic water tower, kayaking along the Chicago River, strolling through the Lincoln Park Zoo, and a hotel stay Drake.

Visit here for all fall itineraries.

According to a map of Smoky Mountains National Park, the Chicago area has already started seeing patches of fall color and will have partial foliage cover by next week.

The week of October 11, the trees around Chicago will likely approach their peak of foliage, the map shows, while the fall colors peaked the week of October 18.

By October 25 through November, most foliage will be past its peak across Illinois, according to the map.

Here’s where IOT said Illinois outside of Chicago would experience a spike in foliage:

  • Great Rivers Country or western border of Illinois: second week of October
  • Lincoln land or central Illinois: mid-October
  • Adventure Trails or Southeastern Illinois: Last Week of October

Although temperatures are starting to drop around Chicago, the change in leaf color is caused by decreased levels of sunlight during the day, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Spring and summer sunlight fills leaves with chlorophyll, making them appear green, according to IDNR. As the hours of sunlight decrease, plants receive less chlorophyll, resulting in orange, red and yellow tones.


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