Fall foliage season in Red Wing, Minnesota brings vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow to the trees throughout the area. While peak fall colors depend on the weather each year, you can typically expect brilliant autumn displays during mid to late September through mid October. Some of the best places in and around Red Wing to take in the changing leaves include:
A. Historic Downtown Red Wing
Historic downtown Red Wing offers beautiful views of fall foliage. Walk or drive along Old West Main Street and TH 61/Broadway Street to see trees displaying vibrant autumn colors. Some recommended spots include:
- Pottery Museum of Red Wing – Trees around this museum at the foot of Barn Bluff sport bright fall hues.
- Red Wing Depot Park – Located along the Mississippi River, the trees in this park turn lovely shades of yellow and gold.
- Sorin’s Bluff – Hike up this bluff just outside downtown for panoramic vistas of fall foliage.
- Bay Point Park – Stroll along the walking paths here to take in colorful leaves framing the river.
B. A.P. Anderson Memorial Park
Found along Highway 58 just southwest of Red Wing, A.P. Anderson Park provides picnicking facilities nestled among the trees. It’s a great spot for an autumn picnic surrounded by fall colors. The woods here contain maple, oak, and basswood trees which cloak themselves in warm hues each fall.
C. He Mni Can Barn Bluff Park
Offering 30 acres of hardwood forest, prairies, and historic ruins of a old limekiln, this park contains many maples, oaks, and basswoods that create a vibrant fall showcase. Hike the trails to immerse yourself among the fall foliage.
D. Memorial Park
Overlooking the Mississippi River, this park in the center of Red Wing provides excellent views of the fall-colored leaves with the river as a backdrop. Walk along the shoreline trail loop to admire the autumn beauty.
E. Colvill Park
Found northwest of downtown along Highway 58, Colvill Park spans 150 acres. Oak and maple trees throughout the park glow with autumn hues. Trails wind through the woods, allowing you to hike surrounded by fall colors.
F. Lost Valley Prairie Scientific and Natural Area
This protected area features rare dry hillside prairies along with woodlands containing oak, maple, basswood, and cherry trees that display beautiful fall foliage. Hike the mile-long loop trail to immerse yourself among the autumn-hued trees and prairie grasses.
G. Great River Bluffs State Park
Located about 20 minutes south of Red Wing outside the town of Dakota, this state park offers spectacular fall color viewing. Hike through colorful maple and oak forests along the park’s trails. The views of brilliant fall foliage from atop King’s Bluff are unbeatable.
H. Cannon Valley Trail
Stretching from Red Wing to Cannon Falls, this paved biking and walking trail passes through forests and meadows that glow with autumn hues of red, orange, and gold during fall. Pick a section of the trail and walk or bike through the sea of fall colors.
I. Drive County and State Highways
Some of the best fall views come from driving along roads winding through the autumn-hued landscape. Some recommended scenic drives include:
- MN State Highway 58 – Heads along bluffs and through woods displaying brilliant fall colors.
- Goodhue County 7 – Gorgeous drive offering pastoral countryside views.
- Goodhue County 1 – tree-lined route overlooking Hay Creek Valley.
- Hillside Drive – Winding road rising above Red Wing showcasing panoramic fall vistas.
Peak Fall Foliage Timeframe
In Red Wing, peak fall colors usually occur between mid-September and mid-October. This timeframe can vary by up to two weeks depending on weather conditions each year. Generally, peak colors progress as follows:
- Early September – Fall colors begin to emerge, starting with maples turning yellow and red.
- Mid September – More maples start changing along with ash, elm, and basswood trees.
- Late September – Colors become more vivid with combinations of red, orange, yellow and purple.
- Early October – Peak fall foliage is reached with brilliant colors throughout the landscape.
- Mid October – Leaves start falling from trees, signaling the end of peak colors.
For an accurate look at this year’s fall foliage predictions, check the Minnesota DNR’s Fall Color Finder before planning a fall colors trip. This tool provides up-to-date reports on the status of fall foliage around the state based on field assessments. During peak season, expect large crowds and traffic congestion when visiting popular fall color spots, especially on weekends.
Where to Find Fall Color Updates
Here are some resources to get fall foliage reports and updates for Red Wing and surrounding areas:
- Red Wing Visitors Bureau – foliage reports, events, and trip planning
- Minnesota DNR Fall Color Map – official state fall color finder
- Minnesota Department of Transportation – posts highway fall color conditions
- Local news media – watch for stories on status of local fall foliage
- Social media – follow hashtags like #onlyinmn and #mnfallcolors
Fall Events in Red Wing
Red Wing hosts several events to celebrate the autumn season and fall colors, including:
- Red Wing Music Festival – mid-September festival with jazz, blues and country performances.
- Rivertown Days – mid-September street festival with music, food, vendors and family fun.
- Plein Air Paint Out – late September outdoor painting competition downtown.
- Fall Harvest Dinners – farm-to-table dinners at local restaurants in October.
- Oktoberfest – German food, craft beer and live music in October.
Apple Cannon Festival – celebrates Red Wing’s famous apple orchards in October.
Many local orchards like Applewood, Pine Tree Apple Orchard, and Fruit Acres also host fall harvest festivals and picking events September through October. Check event listings to join the festive spirit of fall in Red Wing!
Fall Activity Ideas
Beyond just admiring the autumn scenery, there are many fun ways to enjoy Red Wing’s fall foliage:
- Take a scenic drive – Cruise along backroads to soak up the vibrant colors.
- Go hiking – Walk through fall forests on local trails.
- Rent a bike – Pedal along trails like the Cannon Valley Trail or through downtown.
- Have a picnic – Pack a fall meal to enjoy among the autumn leaves.
- Go boating – Boat rentals allow waterfront views of fall colors.
- Try birdwatching – Fall migration makes for great birding opportunties.
- Photograph fall foliage – Capture stunning snapshots of peak colors.
- Visit an orchard – Pick apples, pumpkins, and more plus enjoy events.
- Shop downtown – Stroll through shops and dine al fresco amidst fall scenery.
- Book a fall color tour – Guided bus or boat tours showcase the best foliage.
However you choose to enjoy them, Red Wing’s blazing fall colors are sure to delight this autumn!
Where to Stay
Red Wing offers lots of great lodging options for an overnight stay during your fall colors trip, including:
- Hotels – St. James Hotel, Country Inn & Suites, Super 8, AmericInn Lodge & Suites
- Unique rentals – Lofts above shops downtown, VRBO/Airbnb homes, cabooses at Red Caboose Getaway
- Bed & Breakfasts – Falconer Vineyards, Pierce County Vineyards, Bohnsack Bed & Breakfast
- Campgrounds – Pioneer Park Campground, Oakwood Resort, Pottery Pond Campground
Advance reservations are highly recommended if visiting during peak foliage season, especially on weekends. Red Wing offers accommodations for all budgets and styles to suit your fall getaway needs.
Where to Eat
Red Wing’s restaurants serve up delicious meals with seasonal fall flavors. Enjoy patio dining surrounded by colorful fall trees along the riverfront in downtown Red Wing. Some top local eateries include:
- Liberty’s Restaurant & Lounge – upscale dining with rustic elegance
- Andy’s Sports Bar & Grill – pub food and drinks with patio
- Staghead Tap House – craft beer and elevated pub fare
- Pedal Pushers Cafe – quaint breakfast and lunch cafe
- Panini Grill – sandwiches, paninis, and crepes
- Bev’s Cafe – cozy diner open for breakfast and lunch
- Kelly’s Bar & Grill – bar bites in a 112-year old building
- RBJ’s Restaurant – pizza, burgers, pasta
Orchards like Applewood and Fruit Acres also offer delicious apple-inspired eats like apple pie, turnovers, doughnuts and more. Enjoy the flavors of fall during your foliage road trip!
With vibrant maples, blazing oaks, and rolling hillsides, Red Wing delivers unbeatable fall beauty each autumn. Head out to hike the trails, bike the backroads, or cruise the parkways to soak up the gorgeous colors at locations like A.P. Anderson Park, He Mni Can Barn Bluff Park, Memorial Park, and Great River Bluffs State Park. Save the dates for Red Wing’s fall festivities and make lodging reservations early to fully experience the breathtaking fall foliage display in this classic Minnesota river town.