It happens around the same time every year, Chlorophyll production in tree leaves slows down and stops, causing the leaves to lose their green color and gain gorgeous red, gold, and orange hues. The annual result is many Minnesotans flocking outside to behold this magnificent event.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources developed the Fall Color Finder, which is a trip-planning tool that shows the progression of fall color across Minnesota.

Each Thursday, starting on September 8, staff from Minnesota state parks and trails will update the tool to help people find the best color displays, as well as fall color programs and special events happening at each park.

The website also includes a slideshow and photo uploader so visitors can share their favorite images from across the state.

Generally, colors peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, late September and early October in the central third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third--including the Twin Cities.

Peak fall color will typically last about two weeks, but can vary depending on location, elevation, and of course, weather. This tool will allow visitors to see approximate color changes for each park, so visits can be planned accordingly.

Fall Color Finder can be found at www.mndnr.gov/fallcolor and for mobile device users the DNR offers "fall colors to-go" on a mobile Fall Color Finder that is integrated with Google Maps, follow the link and select the "mobile page" button just below the banner.

A reminder that vehicle permits are required to enter a Minnesota state park and recreation area and are either $5 per day or just $25 for a year-round permit, allowing for unlimited access to Minnesota's 75 state parks.

No vehicle permits are required to enter state forests.