Nebraska Fall Foliage: A MapQuest Guide
Nebraska fall foliage features brilliant hues and spectacular scenery. The changing colors of leaves in autumn is one of nature’s most beloved rites of passage -- and makes for one of the most popular and inexpensive getaways for families. As part of LeafQuest -- a MapQuest series helping leaf peepers across North America find easy and rewarding destinations -- here are three recommended spots for viewing Nebraska fall foliage. — Andres Jauregui
Nebraska's largest city is well-situated for Nebraska fall-foliage jaunts, as the bulk of the Cornhusker State's prime leaf-peeping spots are located in the easternmost part of the state, where gently rolling hills meet the Missouri River. And it has some beautiful spots of its own: On the banks of the Missouri in Omaha and its surrounding communities, nature preserves like Fontenelle Forest showcase a variety of tree species, including red oaks, sugar maples, and sycamores. Manicured parks such as Gene Leahy Mall and Heartland of America Park make for great autumn picnic spots. For a change of scenery, visitors may also want to pop into the fall chrysanthemum show at Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha's botanical center.
Heartland of America Park, South Eighth St. & Douglas St., Omaha, NE 68102 | Get Directions
Two Rivers State Recreation Area
Two Rivers State Recreation Area, situated along the banks of the Platte River and close to the Elkhorn, offers visitors the unique opportunity to camp out -- in a caboose. The 643-acre Nebraska forest, glorious in the fall, features five campgrounds, and some of the lodgings are in 10 converted Union-Pacific cabooses. The adjoining wildlife management area, with its 312 acres of timbered river bottom forest, marshes and croplands, is favored by area bird watchers.
27702 F St., Waterloo, NE 68069 | Get Directions
Ponca State Park
The tall bluffs overlooking the Missouri River on the Nebraska-South Dakota border are home to Ponca State Park. Named for the tribe of Native Americans that inhabited the area prior to European settlement, the Nebraska state park is celebrated for its biodiversity. Its 892 densely wooded acres feature an undergrowth of plants and flowers typical of Eastern woodlands, in addition to forests of bur oak, elm, basswood and black walnut trees, which display a range of fall colors, from tan to golden to bright yellow. Wild turkeys and white-tailed deer are commonly spotted amid the park's wooded ravines, particularly in autumn.
88090 Spur 26 E, Ponca, NE 68770 | Get Directions
A ground-level point-of-view video of a motorcycle ride through Omaha's Mandan Park takes in the last of the city's fall colors.
Did we miss a Nebraska fall-foliage spot? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Want other great fall-foliage destinations? Check out more LeafQuest.