MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This will be a big weekend for fall colors across the state.

According to the DNR’s fall color map, some of the central and southern parts of the state are coming into their peak.

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“This is one of the best parks I’ve been to – it’s a huge state park,” said Brandon Fessenden of Monticello.

Lake Maria State Park near Monticello draws early morning visitors no matter what time of year it is. But fall is when Fessenden and his dog Willard, really enjoy their hikes.

“Yellow, red, beautiful fall leaf colors and there are so many of them,” said Fessenden.

There are also so many trails and walking paths in the area that allow for good leaf-hunting.

One of the top places to see fall colors in the state is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, where they have 1,200 acres of trees.

“This is probably peaking. We’ll see it for a few more weeks yet, but this is probably all you can expect this year, unfortunately,” said Erin Buchholz, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

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Buchholz is used to seeing the sugar maples draw a crowd with their reds, yellows and oranges. But with the drought, she doesn’t see the leaves popping like in previous years. She’s predicting a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of year.

“Compared to last year it’s much more muted, much more subtle in tones,” said Buccholz.

Parts of northern Minnesota are already past their peak thanks to the dry weather. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Especially for those visiting from other states.

“I’ve been in Texas the last six years so it’s definitely not muted compared to those falls. It looks really beautiful to me,” said Sylvia Gutierrez, Minneapolis.

“We’ve been to arboretums in Chesterfield, Missouri, Dallas, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, and Minnesota is the best,” said Richard Rosenkrans from Sioux City.

“I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Especially in Minnesota,” said Bev Rosenkrans.

The best bet for seeing fall colors at the arboretum is likely this weekend. They will also have a pumpkin display set up for families to see.

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John Lauritsen