Best time to travel to Kansas

Fall Foliage in Kansas

Autumnal grasslands are full of color and life

Best time: late October– early November

Fall Foliage
Fall Foliage
Fall Foliage
Fall Foliage
Fall Foliage
Maple trees in Olathe

After exhausting summer heat, many Kansans look forward to the arrival of mellow fall weather and beautiful fall foliage, transforming the landscapes with golden hues. Kansas is largely a grassland state, and prairies cover approximately 44% of its land. However, Wichita and the Kansas City metro area, especially Olathe and Overland Park, boast many parks. The state also features scenic canyons, rock formations, and sand dunes. Kansas landscapes never look more attractive than in the fall.

When is the best time to see fall foliage in Kansas

Fall colors start to appear in Kansas in late September. The Kansas City area in the northeastern part of the state usually starts to transform earlier. Western and southern parts of Kansas get fall foliage during the first week of October. Peak fall colors usually fall on the last week of October and the first week of November.

Where to see fall foliage in Kansas

Scenic drives

Flint Hills National Scenic Byway runs for 47 miles (75 km) on K-177 between Council Grove and Cassoday. The road, going through Tallgrass Prarie National Preserve, boasts stunning views of grassland and amazing rock formations in the background. The area is transformed with golden and bronze tones during the fall foliage season.

Glacial Hills Scenic Byway, located north of Kansas City, runs for 63 miles (101 km) along the K-7 highway, from Leavenworth to White Cloud. The road boasts stunning vistas of the rolling hills, farmlands, and rock-strewn valleys carved by ancient glaciers

Eisenhower State Park, Osage City

Eisenhower State Park is located 35 miles (56 km) south of Topeka. The park boasts the 6,900-acre (28-sq. km) Melvern Lake as well as 1,345 acres (5.44 sq. km) of prairie and 440 acres (1.8 sq. km) of woodland. The wooded part of the park displays beautiful fall colors in the fall. Besides, it's a great place for wildlife spotting. White-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, bobwhite quail, and waterfowl birds are abundant in the park.

Baldwin City

Baldwin City, located west of Kansas City, is known for its abundance of maple trees. In the 1920s, the local Maple Leaf Orchard was founded by a local man who had brought maple trees from New England. About 200 colorful trees were also planted throughout the city. Now, Baldwin City holds the annual Maple Leaf Festival during peak fall colors, on the third weekend of October.

Cedar Point Mills

The picturesque historic mill is located in Cedar Point, Kansas. It was constructed for sawing lumber in 1867. At this time, a log dam was also built across the Cottonwood River, In 1868, Cedar Point Mill was converted to grind corn and wheat into flour. In the fall, the mill looks gorgeous due to fall foliage framing the old building.

Bartlett Arboretum

Located 20 miles (32 km) south of Wichita, the Bartlett Arboretum is a historic park in Belle Plaine, Kansas. It is known for the abundance of cypress, oak trees, and Japanese maples, which look especially beautiful in the fall thanks to bright orange, yellow, and red tones. For over 100 years, it has been a favorite natural oasis in the area, called the only mature arboretum between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.

Gypsum Hills

The Red Hills, also called Gypsum Hills, is one of the best areas for leaf peeping in Kansas. Located mostly in Clark, Comanche, and Barber counties in southern and central Kansas, within about an hour's drive from Wichita, beautiful red rocks at the Gypsum Hills look especially scenic with golden grass and colorful accents of fall foliage. The area features two scenic overlooks with views of rock formations, buttes, and canyons.

Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park

Located in the northwest corner of the state, Badlands displays a quintessential Kansas landscape. Even though you won't see many trees here, the area looks gorgeous in the fall. The Badlands area was once part of the sea. Due to centuries of erosion, the picturesque chalk formations in the area acquired interesting forms and shapes. In October, Badlands park showcases stunning golden prairies with a touch of bronze and red.

Practical info

When does the peak season for fall foliage occur in Kansas?

Typically, the peak season for fall foliage will occur between late October and early November in Kansas, but this timing is dependent on the area in the state. In general, the eastern part of the state near Kansas City undergoes the transformation earlier, while the western and southern parts peak around the beginning of October. Show more

What are some scenic drives to view fall foliage in Kansas?

Kansas has several scenic drives that are known for their colorful fall foliage. The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway, passing through the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, offers stunning views of grasslands and rock formations in the background. Another recommended drive is the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway, which can be found just north of the Kansas City area. This route will offer visitors incredible vistas of rolling hills, farmlands, and rock-filled valleys carved out by ancient glaciers. Show more

Where in Kansas City can you view vibrant fall foliage?

Olathe and Overland Park, both located near Kansas City, are popular destinations for viewing vibrant fall foliage. The area contains over 50 parks in Overland Park alone, and visitors can enjoy the beauty of changing foliage throughout the parks. Additionally, Bartlett Arboretum is located south of Wichita and is known for its abundance of cypress, oak trees, and Japanese maples, which shine with beautiful orange, yellow, and red tones during the fall months. Show more

Which Kansas park is the best option for fall foliage viewing?

Eisenhower State Park, found in Osage City, is the ideal destination in Kansas for viewing fall foliage. The park covers 1,345 acres of prairie and 440 acres of woodland. Visitors can enjoy not only the colorful fall foliage, but also the chance to see wildlife such as white-tailed deer, eastern wild turkey, bobwhite quail, and waterfowl birds. There are also opportunities to engage in water activities at the 6,900-acre Melvern Lake found within the park. Show more

What is a unique spot to view fall foliage in Kansas?

Cedar Point Mills is a unique spot for viewing fall foliage in Kansas. Cedar Point's picturesque, historic mill, which dates back to 1867, frames beautiful fall foliage, creating an idyllic autumn scene. Another spot to explore is Baldwin City, located west of Kansas City. This area is known for its abundance of maple trees, first planted in the 1920s. Every year, Baldwin City holds the Maple Leaf Festival, which takes place on the third weekend of October, during the peak of the fall colors. Show more

Ask a question
Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen