Fall Foliage: The Best Local Scenic Drives
Autumn in Wisconsin is magical with the crisp air and vibrant colors. There are so many beautiful scenic routes that it’s difficult for even a native Wisconsinite to decide where to go to see the best fall foliage. Here are our favorite routes to drive in Wisconsin to see the best fall foliage, both near and far!
Kettle Moraine Scenic Route
Pass through six beautiful Wisconsin counties and 50,000 acres when you explore the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. The northern end of the 115-mile route begins at Sheboygan County’s Elkhart Lake. The southern end is at Whitewater Lake in southeastern Walworth County. Along the way, there are countless spots to picnic, hike, camp, bike, shop and more! Make it a day trip and download the full directions here.
Photo Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/Flickr
Big Cedar Lake
Looking for a scenic drive that’s just a hop, skip and a jump away? Check out the roads around Big Cedar Lake. Take I-41 to State Hwy 144 N in Polk, then take County Hwy NN around the lake. We like to come to this area and just drive around to view all of the fall foliage!
Holy Hill Basilica
1525 Carmel Rd, Hubertus, WI 53033
The scenery on these grounds is unlike any other during fall. The church is set on top of the highest hill in this part of the state, and it is surrounded by forests, rural roadways, barns, cornfields, and hiking trails. Turn off on winding roads and take your time driving up the hill. Don’t forget to climb the tower for stunning views and some great photo ops! (Open until Oct 31 – weather permitting. Check hours here.)
Photo source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/Flickr
Rustic Route 86 in Waukesha County
R-86 offers the traveler scenic views of rugged forest and open prairie as it meanders through the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The Waterville Road route also provides access to the Ice Age Trail and the Scuppernong Hiking Trail. The arching of the trees in the fall make you feel like you’re driving through a tunnel of vibrant oranges and yellows. Truly beautiful.
Door County Coastal Byway
Door County’s Coastal Byway (DCCB) is an official Wisconsin Scenic Byway consisting of 66 miles of Wisconsin’s gorgeous Door Peninsula on Highway 42/57. Your journey will start just north of Sturgeon Bay, following State Highway 57 north along one side of the Peninsula to Northport and Gills Rock at the very tip. From there, head south on State Highway 42 back to your starting point. Find map here.
Photo source: Jim Bauer/Flickr
Middleton / Muscoda
Head West from Middleton on HWY 14 and just cruise. Shannon drove this route many times for work while living in Madison and the beauty of the trees and the Wisconsin River during the fall season was incredible. You’ll definitely be pulling over to take photos!
Wisconsin River / Baraboo Hills Tour
Start in Lodi and take Highway 113 over the Wisconsin River and through the woods up to Devil’s Lake State Park. Stop in for a beautiful fall hike that’s sure to impress!
Photo Source: Emily Sullivan/Flickr
La Crosse / Trempealeau
Trempealeau is 16 miles north of La Crosse and the drive is one of the best in the state during fall. While visiting, take a driving tour of Perrot State Park and take in stunning views of the Mississippi. Put this on your “Must Do” list!
Photo credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/Flickr
For a fall color report, check out this link.
What’s your favorite Fall Scenic drive in Wisconsin? Let us know!