Where to Find the Best Fall Foliage in Missouri

Tower Grove Park has more than 7,000 trees that turn beautiful colors in the fall
Tower Grove Park has more than 7,000 trees that turn beautiful colors in the fall | © Kari R. Frey / Courtesy of Tower Grove Park
Jamie Miller

One of the best parts of being in the Midwest is the vegetation—tree-lined streets, forested hiking paths, and hills with breathtaking views at the top are just the norm. For beautiful fall colors in October and November, all you really have to do is look out almost any window, but that means that the best fall sites are really, really, ridiculously good. Here are just a few of the places to get the full effect of Missouri’s beautiful fall foliage.

The Katy Trail, throughout Missouri

The density of the trees on either side of the trail makes for some beautiful sites when the leaves start to turn. Missouri State Parks even offers free roundtrip tram tours during the season along the nine miles between the Rocheport and McBaine trailheads (a $5 donation is recommended for adults, and $3 for kids 12 and younger). After the trip, consider continuing your tour along the rest of the 240-mile trail by bike, horseback, or just taking a leisurely walk. You might even stumble upon some of the picturesque trail towns, which are well-known for their craft shops, bed and breakfasts, and wineries.

The Katy Trail Fall Colors Tram Tour stops at some of the trail’s best autumn sights

Tower Grove Park, St. Louis

Tower Grove Park has more than 7,000 trees that turn beautiful colors in the fall

Hawn State Park, Ste. Geneviève, Mo.

This 4,956-acre park is on top of the Lamotte sandstone bedrock, which basically means Hawn State Park has a unique mixture of plants that are unusual for the region. In fact, this park is the only place in Missouri where some of this vegetation can be found. The acidic soil over the sandstone allows for shortleaf pine, as well as white oak, shagbark hickory, and red maple, all punctuated by wildflowers and ferns. The combination is truly awesome in autumn as the trees turn and the pines remain vibrantly green. Bring a picnic, hike the trails, or set up camp and immerse yourself in fall for as long as possible.

The leaves are just starting to turn in Hawn State Park

Maple Park Cemetery, Springfield, Mo.

Okay, yes, hanging out in a cemetery sounds a bit morbid, but many of them are nothing short of exquisite. Maple Park Cemetery in Springfield, Mo., is definitely a sight to see, especially in the fall. Opened as a nonprofit cemetery in 1876, after a Civil War battle in the city damaged the existing cemetery, the grounds feature a beautiful Victorian gazebo, which was built the same year and served as a stage for performances and public speakers. Take in the peaceful quiet with sights of the densely packed maple trees, which turn a bright red as the seasons change.

Hermann wine country, Hermann, Mo.

Vineyards almost always offer gorgeous sites, and the thing that Missouri’s wineries have on some of the others is the gorgeous autumn views. When the leaves start changing color behind the vines, it’s a powerful combination. Among the most scenic cities that make up Missouri wine country is Hermann, Mo. Visit this historically German area on weekends throughout October for Hermann Oktoberfest; all of the wineries and breweries get in on the festivities, which include live music, German food, biergartens, and, of course, wine. For the sake of safety—and fun—leave your car at home and hop on the wine trolley instead, conveniently located just outside of the Amtrak Station.

Enjoy some fall colors with your wine in Hermann, Mo.

Lake of the Ozarks, Mo.

Most Missourians will tell you that the Lake of the Ozarks is a summertime destination. However, there is a sweet spot during the year, usually, mid-October, when the temperatures haven’t dropped too much yet, and the leaves have started to turn. That’s when you head to The Lake for incredible fall scenes. Take a boat to the middle of the water, and surround yourself in the densely packed forest that borders it. Or, get up close to the brilliant colors on some of the narrow back roads where in some places, the trees nearly form a dome above you.

Powell Gardens, Kingsville, Mo.

Just a 45-minute drive from downtown Kansas City, you’ll find Powell Gardens, Kansas City’s botanical gardens. When looking for fall foliage, a garden is a safe bet, but Powell has some truly exceptional viewing opportunities. With nine themed gardens over 970 acres, take in changing leaves over the hills, meadows, ponds, and modern architecture throughout the grounds.

The scenery at Powell Gardens enhances the amazing fall sights

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,100 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
Edit article