Just weeks away is a palette of colors that will fill horizons landscaped with trees. Autumn is a favorite time of year to catch one of nature’s beauties, as leaves begin to turn hues of orange, red and brown.
With several parks within its boundaries, Porter County offers several locations to catch the leaves at their peak colors. Here are just a few worthy of visiting this season.
Walk along any of this park’s trails, and visitors are sure to see a beautiful display of colors, said Geri Rose, with the Porter County Parks and Recreation Department.
“Heading out on a fall walk along the trails should definitely be a part of leaf peeping,” she said. “Colors are starting to change now ever so slightly and will reach peak about the third week of October.”
The park, which features 5 miles of marked trails, is located at 775 Meridian Road.
The park’s nature preserve - Murray Woods, is home to spruce, pine, oak and sugar maples, while the trail the winds through the park’s campgrounds is heavily wooded and scenic.
“My favorite is Sunset because of the vast amount of blue sky backdrop for the fall colors,” Rose said.
Bailly Chellberg Trail
The Bailly Chellberg Farm Trail in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore features 2-1/2 miles of woods.
“The Bailly Chellberg Trail takes you through ravines filled with Sugar Maples that turn a bright yellow in October,” said Bruce Rowe, supervisory park ranger and public information officer.
Access the trail off Mineral Springs Road and U.S. 20 near the Bailly/Chellberg Visitor Center.
While catching hot spots for changing leaves this fall may require walking, U.S. 12 in Porter County will provide ample opportunities to see the changing leaves.
“Driving down U.S. 12 through the National Lakeshore is a good way to enjoy the fall colors,” Rowe said.
Located off County Road 500 East where it intersects with the Kankakee River, Dunn’s Bridge has its own little showing of fall as well, Rose said.
About nine miles southeast of Kouts, the bridge is a piece of Porter County history, and its backdrop of colorful trees in the fall serve as a scenic view for those fishing and boating along the Kankakee River.
If your goal is to be completely surrounded by falling, colorful leaves, Anicia Kosky said Taltree Arboretum and Gardens is for you.
The communications specialist at Taltree said the best places within the gardens are along the Heron Pond and Trail, Owl Trail, Cardinal Trail and Goldfinch Trail.
“The Heron, Owl and Cardinal trails are wooded trails, while the Goldfinch is more open,” she said.
The Heron and Owl trails are on the westside of the arboretum, and the Cardinal and Goldfinch are on the southside of the property and accessible through the Bluebird Trail.
“So basically you see the whole property when hunting for the best fall leaf areas,” she said.
Taltree is located at 450 West 100 North in Valparaiso.
With more than 9 miles of hiking opportunities, the Calumet Trail is the perfect place for walkers to catch fall’s show.
“The Calumet Trail has gorgeous leaf showings, as does the whole area along U.S. 20 and 12,” Rose said. “This is a not miss area in my opinion.”
The Calumet Trail parallels U.S. 12 and crosses through the eastern portion of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
The trail is home to a bank of oak, maple, sassafras and shrubby sumac trees that border the walkway - providing many opportunities for a colorful fall palette.
Brincka Cross Gardens
An oasis of natural beauty, Brincka Cross Gardens in Pine Township is beautiful year-round, Rose said.
In the fall, however, the gardens (427 Furness Road) offers a special place to catch fall colors with its dozens of apple tree varieties, flowers and grasses.
“Brincka Cross Gardens is a bevy of colors in the fall, as it is in the spring,” Rose said. “All seasons at Brincka should not be missed.”