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With leaves of crimson, copper and gold, autumn in Wisconsin will entice you to stay just a bit longer. Hike, bike or fish, stroll the fairways one more time. Drive leisurely down a winding road, or absorb the scenery from a boat or train. Join in the merriment of an autumn festival. Pick apples right from the tree, stop at a roadside stand, or watch wildlife against the stunning autumnal landscape.

Wisconsin's auto tours are memorable during any season, but in the fall they are downright extraordinary. Here are just a few of the state's top auto-touring routes.
  • Lake Superior Shoreline Tour - Fall colors accent lake views along the Lake Superior Shoreline Tour (Highway 13) from Ashland to Superior. Waterfalls, breathtaking bluff top panoramas, island views and majestic lighthouses highlight the trip
  • Great River Road - Along Wisconsin's western border, the Great River Road follows the Mississippi River for 250 miles past vibrantly colored shorelines, towering bluffs and Victorian villages. This National Scenic byway features numerous historic sites and wildlife areas, as well as nine locks where visitors can watch barges working "Old Man River"
  • Door County's Lake Michigan Shoreline - Creates one of Wisconsin's best fall color tours. The county, which offers more lighthouses, shoreline, and State parks than any other in the nation, is also famous for fruit orchards, artists' colonies and quaint towns.
  • Cranberry Highway - Few auto tours can match the autumn splendor of Wood's County's self guided, 60 mile Cranberry Highway. Here, the brilliant crimson of cranberry marshes punctuates the surrounding seasonal colors while local restaurants offer visitors every imaginable variation of the tart berry.
  • Northeastern Wisconsin Waterfall Tour - Featuring 11 waterfalls, numerous rushing rivers and thousands of lakes, the Northeastern Wisconsin Waterfall Tour offers a unique autumn contrast between the fiery colors in the leaves and the blue water. Scenic views and peaceful wildlife accent this trip through Marinette County.
  • Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Tour - Autumn's colorful palette paints the Northwoods along Florence County's Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Tour. This 32.5 mile loop between State highways 139 & 101 (Rustic Road R-74) crosses a Wisconsin "Wild River" the Popple, and skirts the shores of Morgan Lake, offering glimpses of deer and other wildlife from the car window.
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  • Lake Geneva - Known as the Newport of the Midwest, Lake Geneva's fall colors reflect their brilliance off the clear blue water of Geneva Lake. The area's rustic roads, including Snake Road, take drivers on a winding tour of rolling lakeside terrian, offering panoramic views of hills, valleys and turn of the century mansions.
  • Wisconsin's Northwest Heritage Passage - Historic attractions, unique arts & crafts, and mouthwatering produce are just some of the attractions along highway 63 on Wisconsin's Northwest Heritage Passage. Running through Polk, Burnett, Washburn, Barron, Sawyer and Bayfield counties, this tour also features national and state forests and the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
  • Lake Michigan Maritime Tour - Fall colors accent the quaint fishing villages on the Lake Michigan Maritime Tour (Highway 42) in Manitowoc and Kewaunee counties. Visitors can step back in time at Two Rivers' Rogers Street Fishing Village, tour the WWII era Tug Ludington in Kewaunee or sample fine wine at the Von Stiehl Winery in Algoma. Exciting charter fishing is available in all three communities.

From cranberry fairs and wine stomps to ethnic celebrations and cultural events, you'll find plenty of reasons for revelry at Wisconsin's many fall festivals
  • Wilhelm Tell Festival - Swiss heritage runs deep as the town of New Glarus gathers for the annual Wilhelm Tell Festival (late August-early September). The highlight of the weekend, filled with shopping, outdoor art fairs, dancing, music and the Alpine Festival, takes place when more than 200 costumed volunteers dazzle the crowd with the story of Swiss independence during three performances of "Wilhelm Tell"
  • Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration - Explore the proud heritage of Lake Superior's maritime sentinels during the annual Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration (early September). Take a tour of all seven Apostle Islands lighthouses, hop aboard a tour boat for a view from the water or enjoy visiting artists, authors and historical lectures.
  • Indian Summer Festival - Experience the rich Native America heritage at the Indian Summer Festival (Early September), the nation's largest American Indian Cultural festival. Milwaukee's Lake Michigan shoreline steps back in time with breathtaking Pow-Wows recreated Native American villages, ethnic food, a lacrosse tournament and more.
  • Wausau's Artrageous Weekend - Art from around the world takes center stage as Wausau's Artrageous Weekend (Early September) celebrates the arts with three events in one. This fall art festival includes Art in the Park, Wausau Festival of Arts, and "Birds in Art" at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
  • Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival - Mountain bikers from across the country take to the scenic northwoods for three days of fat tire fun including races, off road orienteering and children's events at the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival (mid September)
  • Green County Cheese Days - The rich sounds of alphorns and yodelers take visitors to Green County Cheese Days (mid September) in Monroe on a journey through the heritage of the "Swiss Cheese Capitol of the USA". Families find plenty of ways to have fun with tours of the Historic Cheesemaking Center, Swiss music, children's parades and delectable food
  • Walk on the Highground - Enjoy views of a half million acres of Wisconsin glacial moraine at the 9th annual Walk on the Highground (mid September) in Neillsville. The 5km hike takes visitors around seven memorial tributes located in this 140 acre wooded veteran's park.
  • Warrens Cranberry Festival - Flooded cranberry marshes filled with bright crimson berries provide the backdrop for the Warrens Cranberry Festival (late September). The "Cranberry Capital of Wisconsin" honors the fruitful harvest with cranberry marsh tours, arts and craft fairs, a farmers market, parade, family activities and plenty of Cranberry delights.
  • Oktoberfest - From the banks of the Mississippi River, La Crosse celebrates Oktoberfest (late September) named by USA today as one of the top 10 Oktoberfest Festivals in the world. The week long event showcases Wisconsin's German heritage with parades, carnival rides, authentic German entertainment and food.
  • Gays Mills Apple Festival - Family fun is the name of the game as the Gays Mills Apple Festival (late September) ushers in the fall harvest season with live music, children's activities, a parade, orchard tours, and the state apple recipe contest.
  • Civil War Weekend - Relive one of America's most important eras as costumed Confederate and Union reenactors take up arms in historic battles during the Civil War Weekend (late September) at Wade House in Greenbush. The Weekend includes Civil War encampments, artillery demonstrations and infantry drills.
  • Bayfield Apple Festival - Vibrant fall colors set the scene as the sweet tastes of apple favorites including apple pie, apple dumplings, apple sundaes and even apple chili bring smiles to young and old alike during the Bayfield Apple Festival.
  • Cranberry Fest - Home to the world's "Largest Cranberry Cheesecake," the city of Eagle River celebrates the tart taste of the bright red berries during the Annual Cranberry Fest (early October). Tour flooded cranberry bogs and enjoy a variety of cranberry delicacies including cranberries jubilee and cranberry ice cream.
  • Phillips Fall Festival - The annual Phillips Fall Festival (mid October) heralds in the fall season with an arts and crafts fair, delicious bake sales, children's activities, and baking contests, all against a backdrop of beautiful fall colors.
  • Sister Bay Fall Festival - The residents of the Door County community of Sister Bay celebrate the fall season with a rich mixture of arts and crafts, children's activities, delicious food and fireworks during the Sister Bay Fall Festival.

For wildlife, fall is the time of seasonal preparations. Wisconsin has plenty of places where visitors can observe these annual routines and appreciate the rhythms of nature.
  • Horicon Marsh - More than 250,000 Canada geese stop at Horicon Marsh in Dodge County during their seasonal migration. Known as the "Everglades of the North," it is the largest freshwater marsh of its type in the United States and home to more than 265 species of birds, including egrets, blue herons, sandhill cranes and tundra swans.
  • Necedah National Wildlife Refuge - The nearly 44,000 acres of the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau County were once part of a vast glacial lake and now serves as a haven for a variety of wildlife. Visitors may spot more than 220 bird species as well as deer, wolves, porcupines, bears and badgers.
  • Rieck's Lake Park - Up to 3,000 tundra swans and other waterfowl routinely stop at Rieck's Lake Park near Alma during their fall migration. The park is located on the busy Mississippi River Valley "flyway"
  • Gordon MacQuarrie Memorial Wetlands - At the Gordon MacQuarrie Memorial Wetlands near Superior, visitors can explore nearly 140 acres of marshes, reeds and cattails teerning with wildlife. Otters, muskrats, deer and 136 species of birds call the wetlands home.
  • Crex Meadows Wildlife Area - Near Grantsburg is a great place to observe sandhill cranes, Canada and snow geese, ducks and eagles, which flock to this 30,000 acre preserve every fall. The landscape varies from marsh to woodland to prairie.
  • Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve - The Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve near Appleton offers eight miles of trails through a 762 acre white cedar swamp. See a variety of birds, including great horned owls, woodpeckers, yellow bellied sapsuckers, warblers, herons, cranes, Cooper's hawks, harriers and shorebirds.

Wisconsin's many boat and train tours provide visitors with a unique way to view the state's spectacular fall colors
  • Mid Continent Railways - "Autumn Color Weekends" in North Freedom offer train rides through the scenic Baraboo River Valley restored 1915 rail cars. Sights include La Rue, a former mining oasis turned ghost town.
  • Lumberjack Special Steam Train - Step back in time on the Lumberjack Special Train, which runs from the village of Laona to an early 1900s logging camp. Special fall color tours are given during the last weeks of September & first week of October
  • Wisconsin Dells - A variety of boat cruises are available in the Wisconsin Dells area take visitors past dramatic bluffs and through mysterious rock passages found along this portion of the Wisconsin River. Many tours operate well into November, weather permitting.
  • Apostle Islands Cruise Service - Spectacular views of sea caves and lighthouses framed in fall color await passengers on Bayfield's Apostle Islands Cruise Service.
  • Riverwalk - The revitalized Riverwalk and lakefront areas of Milwaukee are accessible through a variety of boat tours and cruise ships, most of which operate throughout the fall.
  • Geneva Lake Cruise Line - The Geneva Lake Cruise Line in Lake Geneva offers narrated cruises with fascinating views of the grand estates on Geneva Lake. Through October, visitors can tour aboard "The Belle of the Lake," a turn of the century replica steamer.
  • Chief Waupaca Sternwheeler - takes guests across eight of Waupaca's 22 lake Chain O' Lakes. Weekend cruises are offered early September to mid October.
  • Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway - Vintage steam and diesel passenger trains of the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway re-create the experience of rail passenger service during the 1940s and 50s Saturdays & Sundays through late October
  • La Crosse Queen - Tour the upper Mississippi River in grand style aboard the La Crosse Queen. One of the few paddle wheelers nationwide in operation today, the La Crosse Queen is a modern day replica of the riverboats that traveled Ol' Man River in the early 1900s. A variety of cruises are available through October.

Hiking a path surrounded by a kaleidoscope of autumn hues is one of the best ways to enjoy the season's beauty
  • Ice Age Trail - Winding its way across the state from Potawatomi State Park in Door County to Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls, the 1,000 mile Ice Age Trail traces the farthest advance of the glacier to cover Wisconsin. Hikers can see rare glacial landforms along the trail, which is one of only eight National Scenic Trails.
  • Wyalusing State Park - Standing atop the 500 foot bluffs of Wyalusing State Park in Bagley, hikers enjoy magnificent views at this junction of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers. Visitors can explore more than 20 miles of trails that feature limestone cliffs, forested bottomland and scattered pools and inlets.
  • Amnicon Falls State Park - The waterfalls, rapids and cascades of the Amnicon River are made even more striking by the backdrop of fall color at Amnicon Falls State Park in Superior. Perched on ancient lava beds that date back more than one billion years, the park has a self guided trail along the river with stops explaining the powerful geological forces that created the picturesque landscape.
  • Timm's Hill - At 1,952 feet above sea level, Timm's Hill near Ogema is Wisconsin's highest point and an ideal place for fall color viewing. From the hilltop, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the wooded hillsides below.
  • Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest - Spanning 1.5 million acres, the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest is a hiker's paradise offering more than 400 miles of trails through Wisconsin's scenic Northwoods. Hikers can catch glimpses of wildlife including deer, grouse, fox, osprey, bald eagles and loons. Among the several entry points into the national forest, Medford, Park Falls and Lakewood offer visitor centers.
  • Rib Mountain State Park - in Wausau overlooks the Wisconsin River Valley and its abundance of fiery red sugar maples. The park is the perfect perch from which to see miles of breathtaking fall colors. Scenic viewing points include a 60 foot observation tower where visitors can gaze at the surrounding farmland, forests and towns.
  • Newport State Park - Eleven miles of rugged Lake Michigan shoreline make Newport State Park in Ellison Bay an outdoor enthusiast's treasure. Newport remains a pristine wilderness park with hidden coves, rocky outcroppings, beaches, meadows and forests, plenty of hiking territory.
  • Natural Bridge State Park - Well off the beaten path, Natural Bridge State Park in Baraboo has a 60 acre natural area and self guided nature trails where visitors can enjoy a quiet stroll through oak forests and prairies awash in fall hues. The park's key feature is a 25 foot high, sandstone arch that was created by erosion over thousands of years and once served as a shelter for Paleo Indians.
  • Schlitz Audubon Nature Center - Visitors can head to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center in Milwaukee for a fall walk in the midst of an Urban setting. Located just 15 minutes north of downtown along the shores of Lake Michigan, the 185 acre nature center has seven miles of hiking trails through various habitats and a 60 foot observation tower for a bird's eye view.
  • Black River State Park - Hikers find ample room for exploration on the more than 20 miles of rolling, wooded trails that wind through the Black River State Forest in Black River Falls. The sprawling pine and oak forest spans nearly 67,000 acres of terrain that includes sandstone rock formations, marshy areas, two forks of the Black River and a 3,700 acre wildlife area.

Celebrate Wisconsin's trails by visiting one of the state's many trails. Wisconsin's extensive trail network includes both rugged mountain bike trails and smooth, flat grades for on road touring routes.
  • B.A.T.S. Trails - Mountain bikers looking to enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin's famous Northwoods can take to B.A.T.S. Trails near Boulder Junction for more than 13 miles of moderate rolling terrain perfect for a leisurely fall expedition.
  • Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit - The glacial landscape and fiery fall colors of the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit sets the stage for one of southern Wisconsin's best mountain bike trails. The John Muir Trail greets off road lovers with nearly 13 miles of extreme terrain sure to challenge riders of all ability levels.
  • "400" State Trail - Named after the train that once ran on this abandoned rail line from Chicago to Minneapolis in just 400 minutes, the "400" State Trail takes riders on a leisurely ride through central Wisconsin's beautiful landscape and rocky bluffs. Twenty two miles of hard packed, crushed stone surface crosses the Baraboo River 11 times on its way from Reedsburg to Elroy.
  • Camba Trails - Ranging from rolling logging roads to challenging single track terrain, northern Wisconsin's Camba Trails' 300 plus miles wind their way among towering pines and hardwood trees where bikers are more likely to spot a deer than another rider.
  • Mountain Bay State Trail - Along the 77 mile Mountain Bay State Trail, riders wind their way through the picturesque countryside from Green Bay to Shawano. A variety of more than 20 bridges offer the perfect spot to rest, above the beauty of rushing waters and surrounded by red, gold and orange leaves.
  • Old Abe State Trail - The 20 mile Old Abe State Trail follows the twists and turns of the Chippewa River on its way between Lake Wissota and Brunett Island State Parks. Gentle grades, a smooth asphalt surface and plenty of Spectacular fall color viewing opportunities have made the young trail a family favorite.
  • Fox River State Trail - A relatively new trail that's already a popular biking route, the Fox River State Trail offers views of both countryside and urban sights. Following the Fox River, the 13.5 mile rails to trails conversion spans from downtown Green Bay to Greenleaf. It passes business districts, residential neighborhoods and farmland, connecting several parks and natural areas along the way.

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