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Micah Tyler

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A winding road through the forest with trees changing color in Fall.

It’s time to de-stress with these 7 ways to view the fall foliage

Gabrielle Schulenberg

F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, was right when he said, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” As we leave summer behind, we begin another school year, another year of bustling in our homes and workplaces alongside family and loved ones.

You might feel a bit overwhelmed at the impending busyness of the months ahead. It may be a good idea to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and enjoy what is arguably the most stunning season of the year.

Pack some blankets, pull on a warm sweater or some fashionable flannel, and get ready for a trip to take in God’s creation. Let the colors of the leaves soothe your stress and breathe in the fresh air as you visit some of the best places to spend your autumn—provided by Life 101.9. So let’s get started!

1. Jester Park Equestrian Center

Grab a pair of boots, some jeans, and a helmet as we take a breathtaking ride on horseback through Jester Park. You can enjoy the melodic sound of hooves beneath you while you take in the beauty of the surrounding nature.

The Jester Park Equestrian Center offers a variety of activities for your family or a group of friends ready for adventure. If the kids are over eight years old, they can join in as you traverse on horseback via guided trail rides. These trail rides cost around $65 per rider.

If you are looking for something a little less hands-on, you might be a fan of the gorgeous fall wagon rides. You can admire the wonders of autumn while an elegant team of draft horses carries your troop (which can include all ages) down the trail. There is hardly anything more festive!

If these activities sound like your type of fun, you might be interested in other events that Jester Park Equestrian Center offers. You can look at their weekly calendar or the events page to find more.

2. Scenic Drive Festival

The next stop is a unique one! There are so many festivities to enjoy at the Scenic Drive Festival.

If your group is enthusiastic about art, history, and delicious food, this festival is perfect for you! Take in the fall beauty while you travel through the various towns celebrating this event.

There are so many options packed into this weekend. Yes, that’s right, this lasts from Friday, October 14 through Sunday, October 16—so you will definitely not be lacking fun. To find out more, take a look at their brochure.

3. Yellow River State Forest

If you are a die-hard nature fan, Yellow River State Forest is the perfect place for you to explore this fall. You may find yourself blown away by the colors displayed in the 8,000 acres of gorgeous forest.

Engulf yourself in the fall beauty by camping in a cozy cabin or with your own camping gear. You can fish, hunt, kayak, or backpack. You can even bring your own horses to the campground and spend days meandering the trails on horseback.

4. Fall Foliage Road Trip

Perhaps you’re aching for a scenic road trip of Iowa’s breathtaking fall views. This article provides the marvelous idea of a drive down the state to take in the vibrant colors. They even provide a map that you can use as you travel.

Ensure that you are prepped for a long drive, since they estimate this specific trip will take around six hours to complete. There are numerous areas to stop and explore along the way, so plan accordingly.

5. Reiman Gardens

It’s time to grab a notepad and perhaps a book on gardening as we head out to the Reiman Gardens Fall Color Walk. Owned by Iowa State University, the gardens have been a beautiful piece of Ames since 1914.

With professional horticulturists and entomologists on staff (for those who might be curious, entomology is the study of insects—definitely a unique career choice), the scenery is meticulously maintained and designed so that the experience is completely unimaginable. It feels like walking within an art piece—because that’s exactly what you are doing!

Whether you decide to partake in the Fall Color Walk, which will be held on October 17, or you choose to attend another time, this garden is one activity that will not disappoint.

6. Pikes Peak State Park

As we near the end of our trip, strap on your hiking boots and prepare for a breathtaking climb. The bluffs overlook the Mississippi River, and in the fall, the views from the top are astonishing.

This park holds many treasures, such as the Bridal Veil waterfall. You also may be able to spot some historical Native American effigies. There are about 60 of these ancient mounds scattered around the park. They take on various shapes, including animals, which has stunned modern scientists.

7. Backbone State Park

Our final destination is actually the first state park established in Iowa. You will need hiking gear, and, if you’re ready for the challenge, you may want to bring along some climbing gear.

With deep crevasses and tall cliffs, this diverse area makes for a spectacular place to visit during the most colorful season. It’s no wonder it was the first state part with the variety of activities it offers, including fishing, hiking, skiing, camping, and climbing.

As we finish up our autumn journey, hopefully your lungs are refreshed with the pure fall air, and you’re ecstatic with the beauty of God’s creation. Hopefully, each glorious view and fun activity has melted away your stress, and you can beam with the joy and peace of God’s glorious world.

If any of these activities have appealed to you, tune in to Life 101.9 as you venture into the beauty of Iowa. We are always streaming on the air, on our app, and online.

Looking for more activities? We are always ready to provide some inspiration and update you about upcoming events and concerts. For those updates, sign up to receive our emails.