Illinois Fall Foliage

Autumn Splendor: Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage in Illinois

Get ready for a vibrant explosion of color in Illinois. Nature will show off its breathtaking beauty with stunning autumn leaves. From scenic drives to memorable nature walks, we’ll show you the best places to see the autumn foliage in Illinois.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embark on a journey through Northern Illinois’s Galena area, home to Long Hollow Canopy Tours and Mississippi Palisades State Park, for an unforgettable fall foliage experience.
  • Discover the wonders of the Starved Rock area, where you can explore waterfalls and colorful bluffs at Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park.
  • Don’t overlook the Chicago area, as you can enjoy vibrant fall foliage against the backdrop of the city skyline at Millennium Park and Lincoln Park.
  • Central Illinois boasts picturesque farms, such as Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and The Great Pumpkin Patch, as well as the natural splendor of Allerton Park and Rock Springs Nature Center.
  • Take a scenic drive along Southwest Illinois’s Great River Road, stop at Pere Marquette State Park, and delve into the fiery fall foliage of Shawnee National Forest at the Garden of the Gods and Giant City State Park.

Northern Illinois: Galena Area

The Galena area in Northern Illinois is perfect for those who love to see fall colors. Located in the northwest corner of Illinois, it has many chances to enjoy the bright hues of autumn.

Long Hollow Canopy Tours offer a thrilling ziplining adventure. You’ll fly over the trees and see the area’s beauty from high up. The autumn leaves will turn your thrill into a breathtaking experience.

If you prefer a calming adventure, step into Horseshoe Mound Preserve. This 40-acre site showcases stunning views of Galena. It’s ideal for a peaceful walk or a picnic, surrounded by the fall’s warmth.

3o minutes south of Galena is Mississippi Palisades State Park. It’s a wonderful place to see the magnificent Mississippi River and its fall colors. Hiking its trails, you’ll find overlooks offering the gorgeous sight of the river under a golden leafy canopy.

Notable Attractions in the Galena Area:

  • Long Hollow Canopy Tours – Experience a thrilling zipline journey amidst the fall foliage.
  • Horseshoe Mound Preserve – Enjoy scenic views of the Galena landscape.
  • Mississippi Palisades State Park – Discover incredible river scenery surrounded by vibrant autumn colors.
Long Hollow Canopy Tours3251 US-20, Elizabeth, IL 61028
Horseshoe Mound Preserve1679 N Blackjack Rd, Galena, IL 61036
Mississippi Palisades State Park16327A IL-84, Savanna, IL 61074

Northern Illinois: Starved Rock Area

Northern Illinois: Starved Rock Area

The Starved Rock area in Northern Illinois is famous for its beauty. It’s by the Illinois River and has beautiful natural sites. Starved Rock State Park is a top spot, with amazing waterfalls and colorful bluffs.

At Starved Rock State Park, hiking trails lead to waterfalls. Hearing the water flow by colorful leaves is amazing. Don’t forget your camera to take photos of this beauty.

Matthiessen State Park is near Starved Rock Park. It’s known for its deep canyons and big rocks. A walk around the park shows you stunning views from the canyons and bluffs.

Experience the Spectacular

Visiting the Starved Rock Area lets you see nature’s amazing work. From Starved Rock State Park’s waterfalls to Matthiessen’s canyons, you’ll be in awe.

Exploring the Trails

There are more than 13 miles of trails at Starved Rock State Park. They go through forests, canyons, and next to the Illinois River. You can find a trail for all levels here.

Matthiessen State Park also has great trails. You’ll see beautiful rocks and find hidden waterfalls. Walking these trails gets you deep in nature’s peace.

Plan Your Visit

Before you visit, check the park’s website for news. Parks can be crowded, so it’s best to come early. This way, you’ll find good parking and enjoy more.

Always stay on the trails and care for the land. Bring water, snacks, and sunscreen, especially when it’s warm. Whether you love nature or want to relax, the Starved Rock Area will give you great memories.

Northern Illinois: Chicago Area

Chicago Area

In the Chicago area, anyone who loves nature can see bright fall colors. You can find this beauty right in the city or not too far away. It’s amazing to see.

Millennium Park

Millennium Park is right in downtown Chicago and perfect for enjoying autumn. You’ll see the leaves’ colors against the city’s skyline. Make sure to visit the Cloud Gate sculpture, known as “The Bean.” It makes your fall visit special.

Lincoln Park

Looking for nature and calm in the city? Go to Lincoln Park for a big green area. You’ll walk among many colored trees on its paths. Have a picnic or ride a bike by the lagoon for a true autumn feel.

Morton Arboretum

Morton Arboretum in Lisle, near Chicago, is a paradise for those who love nature. It covers more than 1,700 acres with many plants and trees. In fall, it becomes a magical place with colorful leaves. Walk the trails or take a guided tour to see the beautiful plants up close.

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is a botanical dream. It overflows with flowers and plants in the fall’s rich colors. Visit the Japanese Garden and the English Walled Garden for a full fall experience. And, the Dwarf Conifer Garden is a must for something unusual.

See fall colors in Chicago at Millennium Park and Lincoln Park. Then, for a quiet escape, visit Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Garden. They offer stunning fall views.

Central Illinois

Central Illinois

Central Illinois is filled with natural beauty and charming spots. It boasts stunning farms and beautiful parks. These features make it a magical part of the state.

Picturesque Farms and Orchards

In Central Illinois, you’ll find many serene farms and orchards. They are perfect for a countryside adventure. At Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, you can enjoy top-notch cheeses and gelato in a serene setting.

A fall must-visit is The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. You can meander through pumpkin fields, pick your own, and find activities for all. It’s a great spot for family fun.

Allerton Park

In the town of Monticello, Central Illinois boasts Allerton Park. This park covers 1,517 acres and is full of natural splendor. You can enjoy beautiful gardens, impressive sculptures, and calm nature. It’s a peaceful paradise.

Rock Springs Nature Center

Discover nature’s wonders at the Rock Springs Nature Center. It’s near scenic Lake Decatur and showcases diverse plants and animals. You can take guided hikes, learn about ecosystems, and see wildlife. It’s a great place for nature lovers or those seeking peace in Central Illinois.

Prairie Fruits Farm & CreameryA charming farm and creamery offering artisanal cheeses and handcrafted gelato.
The Great Pumpkin PatchAn enchanting pumpkin patch in Arthur with acres of pumpkin fields and family-friendly activities.
Allerton ParkA sprawling 1,517-acre park featuring breathtaking gardens, sculptures, and serene natural landscapes in Monticello.
Rock Springs Nature CenterA nature center near Lake Decatur, providing opportunities for guided hikes, wildlife observation, and learning about local ecosystems.

Southwest Illinois

Start a beautiful journey through Southwest Illinois and see the amazing fall colors. Travel the Great River Road from Alton to Grafton. You will be in awe of the autumn foliage. See nature’s art as you go.

Don’t miss Pere Marquette State Park where the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers meet. The park is peaceful with bright fall colors to enjoy. Walk the trails, smell the cool autumn air, and take photos in the lush landscape.

For a high-flying view of the fall, try Grafton Zipline Adventures. You’ll fly over the trees and see Southwest Illinois in its full autumn color. It’s an exciting ride that will take your breath away.

The Beauty of Shawnee National Forest

A trip to Southwest Illinois isn’t complete without seeing Shawnee National Forest. It’s perfect for anyone who loves nature.

Visit the Garden of the Gods for its amazing rock formations and views. Walk among the brilliant fall leaves and the ancient rocks. It’s a scene that captivates anyone who sees it.

Giant City State Park is another place you have to see. It’s a big park with various hiking trails to explore. Navigate the rough land and enjoy the view as the forest turns many colors in the fall.

Pere Marquette State ParkLocated at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers
Grafton Zipline AdventuresGrafton, Illinois
Garden of the GodsShawnee National Forest
Giant City State ParkShawnee National Forest

Enjoy the stunning beauty of Southwest Illinois this autumn. Drive the Great River Road, visit Pere Marquette State Park, and see Shawnee National Forest. You’ll make lasting memories in this gorgeous, colorful place.

Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois is a beautiful place for those who love to see autumn colors. The Shawnee National Forest is a must-see spot. The Garden of the Gods is very famous for its bright fall colors and huge, ancient trees. The giant rocks and wide views are perfect for a photographer.

Another great place to visit is Giant City State Park near Carbondale. It has amazing trails through big trees and rocks, and calm lakes. The park shows off the best of Southern Illinois in the autumn.

If wine is your thing, check out the Shawnee Wine Trail. You’ll see beautiful vineyards with fall foliage. You can taste different wines and find ones made right here that are great for autumn.


Illinois is full of stunning places for nature lovers and photographers. You can see the bright colors of fall in many areas. Whether it’s the adventure of Galena in the North, or the peaceful farms in Central and Southwest areas, there’s a lot to explore.

Plan your trip well to catch the colors at their best. This means you should visit when the leaves are most vibrant, as told in this guide. Don’t miss out on the beauty Illinois’ autumn shows. You’ll cherish photos of the colorful leaves with scenic backgrounds. Illinois has something for everyone, whether you like to walk, drive, or hike.

Let Illinois be the place where you fall in love with autumn. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the magic. Share the stunning views with those you care about. The beauty of Illinois in the fall will stay with you forever.


When is the best time to see fall foliage in Illinois?

Fall foliage in Illinois is best viewed from late September to mid-October each year. Check our fall color tracker for real-time updates. This will help you plan your visit perfectly.

Where can I find stunning fall foliage in Northern Illinois?

In Northern Illinois, two spots stand out for their fall colors: Galena and Starved Rock. Galena offers Long Hollow Canopy Tours and Horseshoe Mound Preserve for great views. Starved Rock’s area features Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks with waterfalls and colorful rock formations.

Are there any scenic spots to see fall foliage in the Chicago area?

Yes, Chicago has its share of stunning fall colors. Check out Millennium Park and Lincoln Park for fall leaves against the city backdrop. Just outside are the Morton Arboretum in Lisle and Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, both perfect for autumn scenery.

What are some picturesque locations in Central Illinois to see fall foliage?

Central Illinois shines with beautiful farms like Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. The Great Pumpkin Patch is a must-see. Visit Monticello for Allerton Park’s natural beauty. There’s also the Rock Springs Nature Center and Lake Decatur for more scenic spots.

Are there any scenic drives in Southwest Illinois to enjoy fall colors?

Southwest Illinois’ Great River Road, from Alton to Grafton, showcases amazing fall colors. Stop at Pere Marquette State Park for its views. For a unique experience, try the Grafton Zipline Adventures. Shawnee National Forest also offers brilliant fall foliage at Garden of the Gods and Giant City State Park.

Where can I find beautiful fall foliage in Southern Illinois?

For spectacular fall scenery, visit Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest. Don’t miss the Garden of the Gods for tree canopy views. Hike at Giant City State Park near Carbondale. And if you love wine, the Shawnee Wine Trail is perfect for fall foliage and a glass of wine.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *