Fall Colors Illuminate LaPorte County Parks

     The beautiful autumn colors are illuminating the county.  Every autumn, as the days get shorter the leaves produce pigments that give them color.  Trees produce spectacular displays of color as the green chlorophyll in their leaves dwindles. The red, purple, orange, yellow and brown shades reflect the great diversity and boasts more than a few dozen tree species within the LaPorte County Parks.  Come visit our breathtaking scenic views and vivacious autumn colors that are beginning to peek through.

Fall is in the air at the LaPorte County Parks!  For many, fall is the best time to visit the parks. Whether it’s hiking in the woods, taking a leisurely stroll on a paved trail for fall color views, or attending the many great activities and events that the park’s Environmental Education staff has to offer, the autumn season is sure to bring enjoyment to all.

Splashes of red and yellow accent warm brown and faded green leaves.  Area trees are blazoned with color, signaling fall.  While out enjoying the fall colors throughout our county, think about what trees bring us such beautiful colors.  Similar trees with these great colors may be sugar and red maples.

For those yellow ones out there they are our hickory and birch.  How about our state tree, the Tulip Popular is sporting it’s pretty golden yellow as well as sycamore, sweetgum, cottonwood and some of the understory trees like sassafras.  Various oaks fill up the brown portion of the spectrum, although red oak and scarlet oak are true to their names in a good season.

How about those pretty star-shaped leave that seem to turn every color would be a sweet gum.  The boast purples, reds and yellows sometimes all on one leaf.  The dogwood are those purple/red leaf.

Bright orange and red-orange are sassafras and staghorn sumac.  This landscape has a dazzling fall show.

The best fall color formation happens when there are bright, warm days, cool night (not freezing) and moist soils.  These spectacular displays gives eye candy to those visiting the parks.

Visit the LaPorte County Parks with the vivid displays nature has to offer when the trees display their autumn colors.  Come celebrate the four distinct parks natural heritage and ecological diversity of northern Indiana.  All of our parks are open daily 7 a.m. to sunset.

Bluhm County Park, 3855 S. CR 1100 West, Westville; this 96-acre park includes spring wildflowers, upland forest, wetland, prairie and stocked pond.  Enjoy miles of paved accessible trails, picnic shelter rentals, playground, volleyball court, horseshoe pit, mountain biking, horseback trails and a no-leash dog area.

Creek Ridge County Park, 7943 W. 400 North, Michigan City; this 112-acre park features a variety of nature trails along with paved trails, accessible boardwalk to Trail Creek and fishing access on Trail Creek for trout and salmon.  Picnic shelter rentals, grills, no-leash dog area, volleyball court, horseshoe pit, playground and a 9-hole disc golf course featuring both 3 and 4 par holes with fairways ranging from 190-400 feet.  Birding is excellent and woodpeckers can be seen year-round.

   Luhr County Park, 3178 S. CR 150 West, LaPorte; this 89 acre is located south of LaPorte and features four ecosystems; upland forest, wetland, prairie and stocked pond, open to fishing.  There is a variety of nature trails, including paved trails, picnic shelter rentals, no-leash dog area, public restrooms, playground, grills, volleyball court, horseshoe pit, and a Nature Center.  Seasonal home to many resident and migratory birds.

      Red Mill County Park, 0185 S. Holmesville Road, LaPorte, this 160-acre park offers hiking, mountain biking, fishing, picnic areas, playground, volleyball net, horseshoe pit, and public restrooms.  Includes 108-acre state dedicated nature preserve and headwaters to the Little Calumet River as well as Pat Smith Hall and a Environmental Education Center; host to banquet rental’s for wedding receptions, family reunions, graduation parties, meetings, and showers.  The wetlands provide for a multitude of waterfowl species, great blue and green herons, as well as seasonal sand hill cranes.

See how many you can find this fall. Remember, the best color occurs following sunny days and cool, but not, freezing nights.

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Sue Baxter