While summer is on its final stretch towards the fall equinox, many look forward to this season when nature’s brilliant colours are on display. Lots of factors determine how long we will see autumn leaves, so don’t delay – the colours have already started changing. Here are a few spectacular places to go in Sunrise Corner.
Southeast end of Highway 12
From Vassar to Middlebro and beyond to Buffalo Point – there are lots of tamarack trees (also known as larch, they’re a deciduous conifer that turn bright yellow and lose their needles in the fall) as well as stands of trembling aspen. Both the aspen and tamarack get so bright yellow, they look like they’re electrified neon.
Highway 12 at Butcher Hill
The top of the hill east of Piney just before the Vassar West Access turn-off offers exceptional views across the Sandilands Provincial Forest – lots of pine interspersed with trembling aspen and other species for a beautiful patchwork of colour. Great photo op!
Pro Tip: When visiting the eastern end of Sunrise Corner, make a day of it and stop in South Junction at Clearview Co-op’s SJ Diner for lunch or road trip snacks.
Gardenton Park – Hwy 209 south of Hwy 201
Black ash is one of the first trees to turn a nice golden yellow this time of year and is a species at risk in this region. You can see them along wet areas like the Roseau River in Gardenton Park. This year, there is an abundance of Leopard frogs so watch where you’re walking.
Agassiz Interpretive Trail (off Hwy 201 and Road 9N east of Stuartburn)
In the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, the last wild flowers of the season are abundant: purple Asters and Gentian are still in bloom along with lots of Goldenrod for a striking complementary colour combination that makes for great photos.
Big Bluestem Grass is Manitoba’s provincial grass and it’s a showstopper: a purple-ish tall grass with a top that looks like a “turkey foot”, growing up to 8’ tall. It’s the reason the tall-grass prairie is called the tall-grass prairie and at one time was the most common species of grass carpeting Manitoba’s prairie grasslands.
There are not only leaves with exceptional colour over the next couple weeks, it’s the tail-end of migration so for the birders out there, you’ll see a larger-than-normal frequency of birds like yellow-bellied sapsuckers, northern flickers, northern harriers and yellow-rumped warblers.