By CBS 2 Meteorologist Tammie SouzaBy CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — The next two weeks are considered peak time for fall foliage in our area, making it the perfect time for that day trip to see peak colors across northern Illinois.

All you’ll need is a tank of gas, an ice chest of snacks, and the GPS on your cellphone.

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The oak, white ash, red maple, sugar maple, hickory, burning bushes, poison sumac, gray dogwood, asters, and bur-marigolds are all beginning to show signs of color from the muted yellows and oranges to the purples and vibrant reds.

Some of the areas to target within a one- to three-hour drive from Chicago are Pere Marquette State Park, Starved Rock State Park, Matthiesen State Park, Mississippi Palisades State Park, the Great River Road along the Mississippi River, and the town of Galena.

If you feel like a stroll, be sure to check out trees at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle too.

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Fall Foliage

(Credit: Tammie Souza/CBS 2)

The perfect combination of less sunlight, cooler temperatures, and average precipitation coupled with no drought, heavy rain or high winds creates the most colorful displays for us to enjoy each fall. As the hours of sunlight diminish in September and October, so does the production of chlorophyll by the trees and plants which keeps the leaves green all spring and summer. It is in the fall that this lack of chlorophyll allows the leaves to return to their actual colors of yellow, red and orange before eventually falling to the ground ahead of winter.

Have fun, stay safe, observe any COVID-19 restrictions, and be sure to share those pictures with us here at CBS Chicago.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff