Fall is pleasantly settled in the Chicago area, with cold mornings, mild afternoons, and crisp, warm, hued leaves.
And while Illinois as a whole may not see its fall foliage peak until late October, leaf watchers in and around the city and suburbs are expected to have an earlier chance to see the colors change.
According to the Smoky Mountains’ 2022 Fall Foliage Map, which tracks and predicts when leaves are expected to change color across the country, the Chicago area will be hit near fall foliage in the first week of October — more specifically, October 3. .
By October 10, the leaves are expected to peak. However, a week later, that color starts to fade.
At the Morton Aboretum in Lisle, hints of fall colors are already beginning to appear, with foliage changing daily.
“Changing leaf color is most visible in buckeyes,” the arboretum says in its weekly fall color report. “Lighter shades of green can be seen in hackberries, cork trees, coffee trees, walnuts, some elms and catalpas. In sunny areas, look for early shades of red that develop on sumacs and the occasional Virginia creeper or poison ivy vine.”
When Could Illinois See Fall Foliage At Its Peak?
As for the rest of the state, the colors are expected to change a little later. According to the Fall Foliage map of 2022, much of Illinois won’t see colors near the peak until October 17, when the golden hues are on their way out of the Chicago area.
By October 24, some areas will see perfectly peaked colors while others will be over.
By Halloween, the leaves have already turned in the northern state park, while the southern one still looks golden.
While the science of predicting changes in fall leaf color is imprecise, there are several factors that can lead to a later-than-usual fall peak in the state. That includes drier-than-normal weather, as well as a warmer-than-usual early fall, forecast by the National Weather Service.
According to the Enjoy Illinois, some of the best locations in the state to see the fall foliage include Starved Rock State Park, Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, and Millennium Park in Chicago.
Farmer’s Almanac named Pere Marquette State Park in west-central Illinois the eighth best place in the US to view fall foliage.
A self-described “nature lover’s paradise,” the park offers views of the spinning leaves against a backdrop of forested canyons and roads along the Illinois River. Explorers can also take advantage of the country’s towering cliffs, which offer panoramic views of the lush landscape that engulfs the park’s 12-mile trail.