How To: Leaf Peep Around Missouri

See Photo Location

A Natural Color Show 

From the end of September through the middle of November, Mother Nature puts on an incredible display of color across Missouri. Leaf peepers travel throughout the region to see trees transform from deep green into brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Before you hit the road, check out a few tips on how to get the most out of your autumn adventure.

Where To Go

Leaves start gradually starting in the northwest of the state and later in the southeast. The show begins in mid-September, with peak color in the middle of October. Missouri’s Department of Conservation has a helpful fall color tracker that makes it easy to check the status of each region. 

Generally speaking, trees that are most exposed to direct sunlight during the fall produce more vibrant-colored leaves. That’s one of the reasons you can see brilliant yellow and orange foliage along the slopes of mountains and hills. 

Visit one of the many fall festivals throughout the state to round out your adventure. And no road trip would be complete without some Missouri-made snacks to enjoy along the way.  


Watkins Mill State Park: Fish for bass, catfish and crappie while surrounded by the beauty of a Missouri fall. 

Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area: A quick trip from Kansas City, this conservation area has fields, ponds and a scenic portion of Burr Oak Creek. 

Weston Red Barn Farm: Enjoy hayrides, pumpkin and apple picking, a country store and of course, beautiful fall colors. 


Hannibal: Take in the stunning view of the town and river from Lover’s Leap before exploring Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

St. Louis Citygarden: Sculptures, fountains, architecture and gorgeous fall hues come together with the world-famous Gateway Arch as a backdrop.  

Klondike Park: The bright white stone of this repurposed silica sand quarry creates a backdrop for vivid foliage.


Missouri River Valley, Rocheport: Enjoy the scenery on the Katy Trail, and sip a Missouri varietal at one of the many vineyards in the region. 

Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area: Take in the view of the Missouri River from the dramatic bluffs just outside Columbia. 

The Lake of the Ozarks: One of Missouri’s most popular lakes is also home to one of the best fall color showcases in the state.


Eminence: Start your southeast Missouri adventure in Eminence, a beautiful small town located near the banks of the Jacks Fork River.   

Mark Twain National Forest: A drive through this national forest is a treat for the eyes.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways: Acres of pristine forest line the riverbank for you to enjoy during a fall float trip.


River of Life Farm: Sip coffee at your cozy cabin above rolling Ozark forests and the North Fork River.

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park: Fall looks amazing on this 10,000-acre “unspoiled Ozark paradise.”  

Route 66: This historic highway starts in St. Louis, but you’ll see plenty of color on full display as you cruise through southwest Missouri.

If you’re planning on heading out and seeing the fall color show, share your adventures with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.