It’s the most wonderful time of the year—and no, we’re not talking about the holiday season yet. It’s finally fall! And with the change of seasons comes changing leaves in the Omaha area. Over the next few weeks, we’ll get to see explosions of orange, red and yellow popping up all throughout our local foliage.
Hunting down the best colors is a beloved pastime for Omaha residents—and luckily, we have plenty of incredible viewing spots right in our backyard. We rounded up 10 of the best places to see the fall colors in the area, so grab your camera and get ready to fall in love with fall all over again!
Important note: Due to recent flooding, there has been road closures around Omaha and Council Bluffs that may prevent you from visiting some of these sites.
705 Riverfront Drive, Omaha
The best views of the Omaha skyline can be observed from this 3,000-foot-long structure stretching across the Missouri River, making it a perfect fall day destination. If you haven’t had the experience of standing over the Nebraska/Iowa state line, marveling at the gorgeous bridge lights after dark, and taking in the local fauna from above—this season is the perfect time to visit!
100 Bancroft Street, Omaha
There’s always something beautiful to witness at the Lauritzen Gardens—no matter what time of year you visit! This space is an urban oasis, allowing visitors to explore hundreds of unique plant species right in the heart of Omaha. Meander through the scenic gardens and take a stroll through the woodland trail before settling in at the Café for a snack! The café overlooks the floral display hall and features freshly prepared sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts.
About a 14 Minute Drive From Omaha
Photo courtesy of Maureen Hoskinson via Fontenelle Forest
Just a hop, skip and jump away in Bellevue, you’ll find the Fontenelle Forest-—which is a colorful wonderland this time of year. The park includes 17 miles of trails for you to explore, surrounded by bright orange flora and fauna. In addition to being a great spot to see fall foliage, the forest is a perfect place to observe wildlife, such as wild geese and ducks on their annual migration.
About a 25 Minute Drive From Omaha
The Hitchcock Nature Center is a wonderland of things to do and see this season! Take a day and head to Honey Creek, Iowa, right outside of Council Bluffs, where you can explore the Loess Hills Interpretive Center, which is full of fun hands-on activities for the kids. But since you’re here to see some fall color—head up to the 45-foot-tall observation tower that will give you a unique birds-eye view of the rolling hills and the stunning fall foliage around the region.
About a 25 Minute Drive From Omaha
Named after the famous explorers who traversed the Midwest in the early 1800s, the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway is an 82-mile route that begins just north of Omaha along U.S. Highway 75 and stretches to South Sioux City. The spectacular views of the Missouri River and colorful forests make this the perfect scenic drive in the fall. On the drive, don’t miss the opportunity to stop at the Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge or the Winnebago Bison Project so you can catch a glimpse of some wildlife in addition to fall foliage.
About a 30 Minute Drive From Omaha
Located halfway between Omaha and Lincoln, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park is a popular outdoorsy retreat for residents of both cities. While the park is well known due to its water park and other summer attractions, we love exploring the area’s scenic wooded walking trails. If you’re looking to spend the night, consider booking one of the private cabins or take a look at Peter Kiewit Lodge—which features 40 guest rooms overlooking the scenic Platte River Valley.
About A 30 Minute Drive From Omaha
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An easy drive from Omaha, Schramm Park State Recreation Area is a great spot if you’re looking to just spend an afternoon in the woods. Nestled among the hills of the Platte River Valley, the historic site of Nebraska’s first fish hatchery boasts well-maintained wooded trails that are popular with runners, bikers and casual hikers alike. Go bird-watching, feed fish in the cool water trout ponds, tour the Schramm Education Center, or enjoy a picnic on the bluffs. No matter what you decide to do at the park, you’ll be surrounded by a spectacular, color-splashed landscape!
About a 40 Minute Drive From Omaha
Situated halfway between Lincoln and Omaha, Platte River State Park is known for its magnificent waterfalls, scenic hiking and biking trails, and dual observation towers featuring incredible views of the Platte River Basin. While the park is a great place to spend a summer day, we love visiting in the fall when trees explode into color and enjoying a festive picnic.
About a 45 Minute Drive From Omaha
Photo courtesy of Arbor Day Farm
Located in Nebraska City, Arbor Day Farm is an autumn lover’s paradise. Settled on 260 acres of natural beauty and outdoor exploration, the farm boasts forested trails, a 50-foot-tall treehouse and plenty of seasonal activities for you to indulge in. Essential stops include the Tree Adventure, a Discovery Ride through the forest, wine tasting at the vineyards, and a visit to the Apple House Market for apple pies and apple cider—all made on site.
About an Hour and a Half Drive From Omaha
Named for the impressive sandstone cave within the park, Indian Cave State Park spans more than 3,000 acres on the Missouri River. It has gained quite the reputation for its picturesque camping sites, as well as for the 22 miles of gorgeous hiking and biking trails! While this famous parkland is about a 90-minute drive from Omaha, it’s definitely worth it. USA Today named it one of the best places to see fall foliage in the state.
What Did We Miss?
Did we miss your favorite spot in and around Omaha to see fall foliage? Tell us about it in the comments!