Urban Forests Come Alive in Autumn: A Fall Guide to Springfield’s Parks

As maple trees start to show eye-popping red hues and ash trees fade to purple in the Ozarks, it’s nature’s signal that fall foliage season is here.

While the Ozark Mountains provide a pristine backdrop for fall colors, Springfield’s mature urban forest offers some of the best settings for leaf-peepers in the state — especially in city parks. Here’s a rundown where you can catch nature’s color show in Springfield over the next few weeks:

​​Doling Park


Doling Park sits just south of I-44 in north Springfield and has been a popular destination of Springfieldians for more than a century. It houses an indoor aquatic park and trails galore. Mature trees line the park providing brilliant colors in the fall.

​Fassnight Park​


Located in central Springfield, a stream runs through Fassnight Park’s wooded areas providing the perfect place for a fall stroll.

​Grant Beach Park​

GrantBeachFallColors copy

A popular park in north-central Springfield for decades, Grant Beach Park has a mature tree canopy that comes alive with bright reds, yellows and oranges in the fall.

​Jordan Valley Park​


Jordan Valley Park is the perfect park to visit if you are staying near downtown Springfield. It’s in the middle of the city in an urban meadow surrounded by urban forests. The perfect place for an afternoon picnic any time of year.

​Phelps Grove Park​


Located in the heart of Springfield, just south of Missouri State University, Phelps Grove is rich in history and one of the city’s most beautiful parks. Arched bridges and meandering trails take you through the park’s forest. A must-see during the fall months in Springfield. And as we get closer to Halloween, if you’re in for a little spook, look for the bride under the bridge at Phelps Grove.​

​Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park​

The Springfield Botanical Gardens boasts 114 acres that includes dozens of speciality gardens and access to the South Creek Creek Greenway Trail.

You can also visit the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden where the spectacular fall colors are set against the backdrop of Japanese inspired landscaping and The Gray-Campbell Farmstead — the oldest house in Springfield, circa 1856.

​Sequiota Park​


Sequiota Park is one of Springfield’s most unique parks and features a cave and walking trails that provide breathtaking strolls any time of year — but especially in the fall.

​Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield​

Wilsons Creek NB Ray House Fall-SR-206102

Operated by the National Park Service, Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is located just outside Springfield city limits on the southwest side of town. The historic park has a 4.9 mile paved tour road that provides a self-guided auto tour. There are also five walking trails off the tour road, varying in length from 1/4 to 3/4 of a mile.

​Two Rivers Bike Park​

A purpose-built, multi-use trail system, Two Rivers Bike Park boasts 8.5 miles of near-pristine Ozarks terrain for mountain bikers, runners, and hikers. The nearly 400-acre park sits just off the scenic Finley and James River confluence and is prime real estate to view fall foliage.

Of course, there are many more parks in Springfield that are worth visiting this fall. Here’s a complete listing.

Have a great fall season in Springfield.

Written by Adam McMullin from the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

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