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Ottumwa Stories: Discover the Beauty of Fall in Wapello County

Published October 1, 2020

The temperatures are cooling off, the days are getting shorter and the trees are beginning to change into those beautiful autumn colors! Where are the best places to check out the fall foliage in Ottumwa and Wapello County? Here are just a few places to start.


Greater Ottumwa Park will turn 340 acres of brilliant colors as we enjoy October. With playgrounds, shelters, grills and plenty of space for fall gatherings, the park is the perfect autumn getaway. Throw on a sweater and hike the trails. Practice your photography skills. Bring binoculars to peek at the many species of birds who will soon make their winter migration trip.


Enjoy both walking and driving tours of Historic Ottumwa. These areas of the city are full of yellow, red and orange leaves as trees a century old, or even older, change for autumn. Maps of Ottumwa's seven historic districts can be found HERE. A walking tour itinerary of Ottumwa's five oldest church congregations can be found HERE.


Get lost in the amazing fall foliage south of Ottumwa. Just 15 minutes from the center of town, Pioneer Ridge Nature Area explodes with color every fall. On your way there, you'll discover mile after mile of gorgeous landscapes. There are plenty of places to stop along the way and take pictures of your favorites.


There are so many places in Wapello County and the surrounding area to take in fabulous fall sights: A drive to the Chief Wapello Gravesite and Memorial Park will take you through miles of brightly colored autumn woods. Head to the American Gothic House and Center to see the changing leaves around the historic house. Pick up the Historic Hills Scenic Byway to the south, and check out the fall colors from Moravia to Donnellson.


Ready to do some leaf peeping of your own? Create your own fall checklist of all the fun you can have along the way. Use the ideas below to get you started.

___ Stop in one of our 26 parks and make some leaf rubbings to use in art and craft projects.

___ Go to a fall festival or craft fair.

___ Order your favorite fall drinks at one of Ottumwa's coffee shops.

___ Shop our Main Street businesses and score some great fall deals.


Explore Ottumwa, Wapello County and the surrounding area and find your own favorite fall scenery!


Photo: Tim Richmond

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