The shorter days and the chill in the air are sure signs that fall has arrived—and in Inver Grove Heights, that means it’s time to enjoy the colorful leaves!  Thanks to its robust system of parks and trails, there are plenty of places to appreciate autumn in heart of the city, and Inver Grove Heights is also conveniently located to some of the best places in the Twin Cities metro to enjoy fall foliage.

To stay up-to-date with the progress of color change throughout Minnesota, visit Explore Minnesota to sign up for the weekly fall color newsletter.  Another way to check the status of fall foliage is with the interactive Fall Color Finder from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Where to enjoy fall leaves in Inver Grove Heights

Mississippi River Trail

Photo Credit: Dan Grevas Photography

The Mississippi River Regional Trail offers views of the river and colorful leaves for walkers, bikers, and in-line skaters.  The paved trail features a trailhead at Swing Bridge Park in Inver Grove Heights with bike fix-it stations, restrooms, water, and seating.  The park is also home to a 680-foot walking pier jutting over the Mississippi River—perfect for panoramic photos of fall foliage.  

Mississippi Pub

Photo Credit: Mississippi Pub

The Mississippi Pub is located right on the river, and diners can enjoy views of the fall leaves even on chilly days thanks the glass-walled dining room.  Start off a day of leaf-peeping with the weekend breakfast menu, or relax after an activity-filled day with happy hour appetizer and drink specials.  

Pine Bend Bluffs

Photo Credit: VisitIGH

Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area is one of the best places in the Twin Cities metro area to see the Mississippi River in its wild, natural state, and it’s also a great place to spot fall foliage.  Enjoy views from the 200-foot bluffs overlooking the river and check out the hiking trails. The area is also along the Mississippi bird migration flyway, and visitors may observe tundra swans, pelicans, waterfowl, hawks, and eagles making their way south.

South Valley Park

Photo Credit: Dan Grevas Photography

South Valley Park and North Valley Park offer a unique opportunity to enjoy fall color in the heart of Inver Grove Heights, thanks to its 58 wooded acres.  In addition to trails, visitors can enjoy the outdoors by playing a game of disc golf or pickleball, and there are also picnic tables and grills available for an autumn picnic.  Otherwise, grab a bite at a nearby local restaurant, including the retro-inspired Cahill Diner or Bierstube, which serves hearty American and German fare.

Great places to enjoy fall colors near Inver Grove Heights

Padelford Riverboats

Photo Credit: Padelford Riverboats

Padelford Riverboats offers fall sightseeing cruises every Friday through Sunday at 2:30 p.m. throughout October.  The 90-minute, narrated excursions depart from downtown St. Paul’s Harriet Island and feature a full bar and snacks available for purchase.  In addition to viewing colorful leaves from the unique vantage point of the Mississippi River, enjoy sights such as the St. Paul High Bridge, the Minnesota River mouth, and Pike Island.

Afton State Park is only a 25-minute drive east from Inver Grove Heights and gives visitors the chance to appreciate fall foliage from scenic overlooks to the St. Croix River Valley.  The park also offers hiking trails and a four stage geocache that’s fun for the whole family. An Autumn Color Walk with a park naturalist is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on October 12, 2019—details and registration information are available on the event website.  

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

Photo Credit: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge encompasses over 14,000 acres and has over 30 miles of hiking trails along the Minnesota River.  In addition to the opportunities to spot fall leaves, the refuge is along a migration route that attracts many species of birds passing through on their way to wintering areas in the southern part of the country.  Organized bird walks are scheduled for several dates throughout October, with details available on the refuge’s event page.

Check out this video to see the fun activities and natural beauty that Inver Grove Heights has to offer visitors.   

Book a stay at one of Inver Grove Heights’ hotels for a budget-friendly fall getaway!  In addition to being a perfect base for leaf spotting around the Twin Cities, Inver Grove Height hotels are conveniently located to downtown St. Paul, the Mall of America, Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and offer complimentary parking, breakfast, and WiFi.  Book your room today!