Nature September 29, 2018
The 10 Best Scenic Drives For Viewing Wisconsin Fall Colors
Wisconsin has such gorgeous topography and countryside that getting in the car and going for a drive is a delightful prospect any time of the year. But in fall, when the whole state comes alive in a riot of fall colors, it’s especially appealing to hop in the car without a serious destination and go explore. Here are 10 spots all across the state where you can find gorgeous vistas and an array of fall foliage colors. These are more suggestions than directions – start on these state highways and then don’t be afraid to veer off the beaten path and explore whatever looks interesting. Just make sure you remember your GPS!
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
I actually already told you about how
is the best drive for fall foliage viewing. The Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive is a 115-mile long path through 50,000 acres of the southern and northern units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. It's a gorgeous ramble through really interesting countryside and you shouldn't miss it.
2. Hwy 29 in Wausau
You really can't go wrong meandering through the gorgeous countryside up here. Start north of the city heading east on Hwy 8 before heading south on Hwy 51. Then take 29 west of of the city and veer off on any of the country roads along here. In town, drive up and around Rib Mountain for sweeping views. It's estimated this mountain is more than a billion years old, so take time to appreciate all the geology around you, as well.
3. Hwy 36 from Wind Lake to Lake Geneva
This state highway will take through more glacial areas and through tiny towns chock full of charm. When you get to Lake Geneva, spend some time on the paved path surrounding the lake.
4. Hwy 42 and Hwy 57 in Door County
No matter which way you go, you'll get the full Door County experience covering the bay side and the lake side. The bay gets protected from harsh weather and the various hardwood trees here explode in color in fall, making this one of the most scenic spots anywhere.
5. Hwy 8 and Hwy 141 in Marinette County
This is a drive that takes you to numerous waterfalls, but also through some of the prettiest fall color you can imagine. There are "waterfall tour" signs, but if you wander along these two roads, you'll find most of the stops and plenty of trees to keep you happy.
6. Hwy 113 in Dodgeville
You'll find yourself in or near several state parks and natural areas on this drive, so definitely plan to deviate some. But Hwy 113 takes you through rolling hills, near Devil's Lake and through some tall bluffs, all dotted with color.
7. Great River Road - North Section
The Great River Road that follows the path of the Mississippi along the state's western edge is one of the best drives no matter the season, but is especially gorgeous in fall. Start up at Maiden Rock and meander through the charming small towns of Pepin, Alma, Fountain City and Trempealeau. You'll find small cities on big bluffs and spectacular views.
8. Great River Road - South Section
Start in LaCrosse and drive up to the top of Grandad's Bluff for sweeping views than head south to Prairie du Chien for great eagle watching and end up in the unique Potosi valley for a beer.
9. Hwy 77 through Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
This is one of those drives where you shouldn't hesitate to take an unplanned turn and go exploring. You can't go wrong exploring the gorgeous Northwoods. Lakes and streams, state parks and public land protect areas that were once forested and now contain a wide variety of trees whose color with delight you in fall.
10. Hwy 13 along Lake Superior
Hwy 13 follows the Bayfield peninsula out into the lake and will also take you to Brule River State Forest, where there are acres upon acres of stunning trees.
Is your favorite leaf peeping drive on this list? Where do you love to go explore fall colors? Let us know in the comments!
Would you rather explore fall foliage on foot?
Check out this awesome hike that gets you right among the leaves!