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Autumn is a magical time to visit North Dakota as the air begins to cool and acres of colorful leaves begin to blanket the valleys of the badlands, rivers, and lakes. North Dakota Tourism invites visitors to explore its scenic landscapes and participate in breathtaking outdoor adventures and enchanting fall festivals, in addition to the picturesque palette of colors created by the state’s unique fall foliage.
North Dakota’s wildlife refuges and wooded areas transform into a sea of red, yellow, and orange, making the state an ideal, off-the-beaten-path destination for leaf peeping. North Dakota Tourism publishes a Fall Foliage Guide with amazing places to see the leaves change from mid-September to mid-October. While North Dakota has some incredible forests, the intensity of the fall colors tends to shine through in the state’s northern half. The Pembina Gorge, located on the North Dakota/Canadian border, contains one of the state’s largest uninterrupted woodlands.
The Pembina Gorge, with over 2,800 acres and more than 30 miles of trails, is an ideal place to watch the leaves change. Lake Metigoshe State Park, located about 130 miles east of the Pembina Gorge, has some of the most vibrant autumn colors in the state. This nearly 1,500-acre area is nestled in the Turtle Mountains and is covered in rolling hills and aspen trees. With thousands of miles of trails to explore the breathtaking scenery, fall is an excellent time to put on some hiking boots or hop on a bike and go exploring.
North Dakota Tourism has compiled a list of 13 Fantastic Trails ranging in difficulty. Hikers can stroll the paved Cannonball Trail in Mott or take on a more difficult trail like the Pipestem Creek Trail in Jamestown. Bikers can also pedal slowly along several recreational routes or speed up and climb some of the Badlands’ steep grades on the Maah Daah Hey Trail. This nationally recognized trail is worthy of its own stop for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike, with 144 miles of rugged single-track trail that follows alongside all three units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park also hosts the annual Dakota Nights Astronomy Festival in September. Astronomy enthusiasts and novices alike flock to this three-day festival, which includes education, storytelling from NASA missions, and viewing of the spectacular night skies.
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