KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Even though some days feel like summer continues to hang, the fall feel is right around the corner. Fall colors are expected to start sneaking into the Kansas City region around Oct. 8.
Experts with SmokyMountains.com say the peak of fall foliage will happen around Oct. 22. The site, which focuses mainly on tourism in the Smoky Mountain area, uses a data scientist to predict fall colors across the nation.
Tens-of-thousands of data points are brought together each year to pinpoint when a specific area of the nation will start seeing bright oranges, reds, and browns in their backyards. Data collected includes area elevation, historical and forecasted temperatures and rainfall, and simply what people are seeing where they live, according to map creator Wes Melton.
Melton says this year's data points lead to a positive note for outdoor enthusiasts.
"Due to the heavier precipitation throughout the summer months, this year's leaf model is predicting an earlier-than-typical peak fall,” Melton said in a news release. “However, the NOAA 90-day future precipitation and temperature graphs point to a prolonged color period for much of the country with higher elevations peaking first."
In short, we should see earlier fall foliage and we’ll see it for a longer period of time.
So where exactly should you look?
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) suggests routes along rivers with views of forested bluffs, taking a drive along back roads or checking out your area parks. The MDC also provides updates in regions across Missouri on their website, with suggested hot spots to check out.
If you’d prefer to stay around the Kansas City area, here are a few spots to check out.
8909 W. 179 St., Overland Park, KS
With 13 gardens and over 1,700 species of plants, the 300-acre park is a great place to see the different fall colors. Take a stroll through the botanical gardens, stop for lunch in a picnic area or trek the nature trails. A fee-free weekend is coming up on Oct. 7-8, so your entire family can make a day of it.
16600 Missouri 45, Weston, MO
Just outside of the bustling Kansas City metro, Weston Bend State Park offers a getaway of picnic sites, campgrounds and hiking trails. There’s a three-mile paved loop trail that takes hikers and bikers through the tree-filled terrain, and that’s only one part of the 1,133-acre park. The gem of the park is the scenic overlook. It’s right off a small parking lot and easily accessible. Plus, it offers a breathtaking view of the park over the Missouri River.
1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, MO
It’s a little more of a trek from Kansas City, but with 915 acres of meadows and gardens, it’s a place you can submerge yourself in nature. A 3.25 nature trail journeys by ponds, fountains and flower-filled gardens. You can also stop by a picturesque little church nestled in the woods that is a favorite of park-goers.
100-198 E 12 St, Parkville, MO
Just down the road from Park University and English Landing Park, the Parkville Nature Sanctuary is a perfect spot to gaze at the autumn colors. The 115-acre park has three miles of hiking trails to leaf watch, waterfalls for the perfect photo op and spots to stop for a picnic. Visitors can also enjoy the neighboring White Alloe Creek Conservation Area.
5200 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO
One of Kansas City’s most popular parks is also a great place to leaf watch. The 75-acre park includes a beautiful pond, a 1.5-acre garden filled with thousands of roses and tree-lined walkways surrounding the park. Take a stroll over the scenic bridge, spread out a comfy blanket and relax while soaking in the fall colors.
909 N. Hwy. 7, Olathe, KS
Boasted as the first nature center in Johnson County, the park offers both paved and unpaved trails. Take a bike ride or walk through the 116 acres of diverse habitats to explore.
79th & Renner Rd., Shawnee, KS
This 1,600-acre park is home to a number of amenities to check out, including a 120-acre lake, a dog park, and nature trails. You can take in all the autumn colors while riding in a canoe, trekking a trail on horseback, or picnicking in a shelter area.
11100 View High Dr., Kansas City, MO
Soak in the fall colors by land or in the water. With 930 acres of water and 14 shelters, the whole family can enjoy a day outside. The park offers activities from power boating and water skiing to fishing and enjoying the trails.
What’s your favorite place to see fall foliage? Snap a picture and share it with 41 Action News using #FallColors41. Be sure to include where you took the picture!