VISIT & explore


Lisle, Ill. (Sept. 27, 2013) – Each year, The Morton Arboretum’s trees are a prime stop for area leaf-peepers, as many of the Arboretum’s 4,200 varieties of trees begin changing from green to a palette of vibrant reds, oranges and golds. Ed Hedborn is the Arboretum’s official Fall Color Scout and reports on the Arboretum’s color each week during the season.
For the latest fall color updates from the Arboretum, call the Bloom 'n Color Hotline at 630-719-7955.
September 27-October 3
The first glimpses of fall color are now apparent at The Morton Arboretum. Hints of reds are showing on some sumacs, poison-ivy vines and Virginia creepers in sunny locations. American ashes (especially ‘Autumn Purple’) are showing purple coloring on the tops and west sides of their crowns. The buckeyes are turning yellow and even dropping their leaves, largely due to the drought. Extra color is showing in woodland areas with various fall blooming asters in shades of white and blue, plus goldenrods and white snakeroot. Warm, bright sunny days and cool nights should help start our color change season get started.
Heading to The Morton Arboretum? Here are the best spots to look for fall color.
East Side:
  • Visitor Center & Parking: Early hints of red are starting to appear on the maples.
  • Meadow Lake: Grasses are turning shades of coppery reds, purples and browns and setting seed.
  • Northern Illinois & Midwest Collections: Buckeyes starting to turn yellow, Kentucky coffeetrees with some yellow.
  • Frost Hill: Sumacs in the Northern Illinois Collection are just starting to turn red.
  • Maple and Oak Collections: Some Freeman maples and hackberries are turning paler green.
  • East Woods: Fall asters are carpeting the forest floors with white and blue blooms. Yellow goldenrods and white snakeroot are popping out. Watch overhead as a few oaks and walnuts are starting to drop their fruits.
  • Appalachian and Asian Collections: Flowering dogwoods are showing hints of purple in their leaves.
  • Sumac Collection: The staghorn sumacs are starting to show their red.
West Side:
  • River Bridge area & Ozarks: Peking lilac leaves are starting to lighten as Cottonwood leaves are turning yellow and brown and beginning to drop.
  • Founder’s Grove: Another great destination to see the white and blue asters, yellow goldenrods and white snakeroot.
  • Alternate Route/Lake Marmo: Look up to see red leaves, as the sugar maples begin to change to the north of Lake Marmo. Find hints of purple on dogwoods along the Marmo return road.
  • Main Route: Most trees are still summer green with white and blue blooming fall asters, yellow goldenrods and white snakeroot in the wooded areas.
  • Schulenberg Prairie: Grasses are ripening and beginning to change color, and the prairie is another destination for white, blue and purple fall asters.
About The Morton Arboretum
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum on 1,700 acres. Plant collections, scientific research and education programs support the mission to plant and conserve trees and other plants for a greener, healthier and more beautiful world. Designed with natural landscapes, the grounds include the award-winning, four-acre interactive Children’s Garden, the one-acre Maze Garden, plus specialty gardens, 16 miles of trails and nine miles of roads. Visitor experiences include the open-air tram ride, guided walks, Arbor Day celebrations, concerts, art shows, Fall Color Festival, and special exhibits. The Arboretum welcomes more than 800,000 visitors annually and serves more than 35,600 members. Located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open daily 7 a.m. until sunset. Learn more at mortonarb.org.
Admission Rate 
Nonmember admission rates to The Morton Arboretum are $12 for adults ages 18-64 ($8 on Wednesday), $11 for seniors ages 65 and over ($7 on Wednesday), $9 for children ages 2-17 ($6 on Wednesday) and free for children under age 2. Parking is free with admission.