Best Places in Twin Cities to Take Fall Portraits

Being a photographer, one of the things I am oftentimes asked is where to take fall photos / portraits. My sometimes apprehensive self is leery giving out suggestions because my perspective and what I typically see won’t be how another photographer views the world. However, as they say, there’s is no harm in sharing — with the hope that at least one person will appreciate it. 🙂

Here are my favorite, not-so-crowded areas around the Twin Cities… and again these are just merely suggestions, take it or leave it. 🙂

1. Peace (Rock) and Lyndale Rose Gardens by Lake Harriet

Address: 4124 Roseway Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55409
Parking: Peace Garden parking lot or the surrounding streets.
Why: While this is in the heart of a busy area, there are ample spots to roam around and take photos. While there aren’t much maple trees around here, there’s a very good amount of oak, walnut and yes, of course, the roses to which some of those remain blooming until a frosty morning comes through.

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Peace (Rock) Garden – end of September

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Lyndale Rose Garden – taken end of September

Let's not forget Lake Harriet

Let’s not forget Lake Harriet

2. Hidden Falls Regional Park

Address: 1415 Mississippi River Blvd S, St Paul, MN 55116
Parking: Huge parking lot
Why: The trees here are predominantly oak but hike around and you will find plenty of colors. A fellow Minnesota Photographer, Eric Vest, has an engagement shot from there. Check it out. 🙂

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Hidden Falls Regional Park – challenge yourself and find the falls, too. Less crowded than the Minehaha Falls

3. East River Parkway and Shadow Falls Park

Address: 30 N Mississippi River Blvd, St Paul, MN 55104
Parking: Street parking on Summit Ave. and a small parking lot (about 12 cars)
Why: Plenty of maple trees, not crowded in the morning, gets very good natural West light in the afternoon.

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East River Parkway (by St Thomas/Summit Ave) – taken second week October

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East River Parkway – taken first week of October

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Shadow Falls Park – about 5-10 min hike down from the parking lot. Delicious colors from maple trees all around.

4. Westwood Hills Nature Center

Address: 8300 W Franklin Ave, St Louis Park, MN 55426
Parking: Parking lot
Why: Heading a little bit to the West, this is one of our favorite places to hike around. The trees here are predominantly oak that give vibrant yellows during peak but this place offers the prairie, which is often overlooked during fall.

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Westwood Hills Nature Center – A wonderful combination of prairie, marsh and woods. So lovely!

5. Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area (SNA)

Address: 113th St S, Cottage Grove, MN 55016
Parking: Parking lot
Why: As I said with number 4, prairies are overlooked during fall but this place, a bit South East of the metro is worth a visit. Sunsets are beautiful here as well and chances are, you will have this place to yourself.

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Grey Cloud Dunes Scientific and Natural Area (Outbound collective)

6. Wolsfeld Woods (SNA)

Address: 6th Ave N, Long Lake, MN 55356
Parking: Northeast corner of the parking lot of Trinity Lutheran Church, 2060 Sixth Ave. N. Orono, MN
Why: Another Scientific and Natural Area, Wolsfeld Woods is one of the few remaining remnants of the “Big Woods” that originally extended from Mankato and Faribault northward almost to St. Cloud. This 185-acre woods is located Northwest of the metro and is covered with beautiful maple and basswood trees (some oak). One of my personal favorites for its delicious colors and serene atmosphere. I almost kept this a secret. 😉 😉

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Wolsfeld Woods – fall heaven!

7. West River Parkway

Address: 5000-xxxx West River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Parking: Start at the parking lot for Lock and Dam 1
Why: This is right by our doorstep so it very easy for me to say I love this area. Trees here are combination of maple, basswood, oak and others and they peak towards the middle to late October. My favorite time of the year to take photos here? It’s when they close the road in the earliest morning (sunrise) for the Twin Cities Marathon. Sssshhhh…. 😉 😉

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West River Parkway – parking lot of Winchell Trail

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West River Parkway – Hike about 5 minutes down the Winchell Trail for this spectacular display of colors

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I will end this post with this photo and I hope it’s obvious why. 🙂

In reality, you can never go wrong with any locations in the whole state of Minnesota, as it’s fall everywhere. Drive around, observe, make some stops, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy this wonderful weather we all love! Autumn, AAAHHHH! Hope this list helped you in more ways than one.

Much love,
Joyce

P.S. Other suggested places are Gold Medal Park, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Summit Ave., Coldwater Spring.

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