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Top 10 US college campuses to view fall foliage

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather staff writer


Crisp air, stacks of books and colorful trees all signal the start of a fresh school year on college campuses across the United States.

With the vast planning and landscaping that goes into creating an ideal collegiate setting, it's no surprise that some of the best views of fall foliage occur on academic grounds.

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"Peaking seasons are determined by elevation and latitude, period," Steve Nix, forestry expert at About.com said. "Southern coastal areas have the latest season while northern and mountainous areas have the early views."

From year to year, color offerings can change based on factors such as rain amounts and temperature variants, Nix said.

Taking a look at schools with an enrollment of 20,000 or more students, we selected campuses that sit in the nation's best areas for fall foliage in this editor's choice list.

Brigham Young University

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Nestled in the mountains of Utah, BYU sits in an ideal location for spectacular fall foliage views. With up to 15,000 trees on campus, students are known to stop on their way to class, soak in the views and take photos of our campus with the mountains as a backdrop, Media Relations Manager Todd Hollingshead said.

Iowa State University

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With roughly 13,000 trees on campus, according to ISU Facilities Planning and Management, students and faculty in Ames, Iowa, experience spectacular views of fall foliage each year. Campus sits on more than 1,900 acres of land in central Iowa.

Michigan State University

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On a campus with more than 2,100 developed acres, MSU is home to more than 21,653 individual trees. Located in East Lansing in central Michigan, leaves usually begin to turn in mid-September and peak from the first to third week of October, Professor of Plant Biology and Curator Frank Telewski said.

"The campus, with its diverse mix of tree species, provides for a wonderful change in colors starting with the early change in brilliant yellow-orange-red leaf color of our sugar and red maples and ashes, culminating about a month later with the dark muted pastel reds of our white oaks," he said.

Northwestern University

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Just north of Chicago, Northwestern's campus sits along Lake Michigan and provides stunning views of fall foliage. In fact, it was the presence of strong oak trees that caught the eye of one of Northwestern's founders, Orrington Lunt.

According to Northwestern Magazine, Lunt helped convince the other founders that Evanston should be the university's home after being struck with admiration for the statuesque oaks.

Penn State University

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