An autumn hike in Wisconsin is a treat for all of the senses: the sight of the vibrant foliage against a blue sky, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot, and the scent of various berries and plants all around. Hiking in the beautiful state of Wisconsin in autumn is the ideal time as the weather is in that perfect sweet spot between summer bugs and winter snow, instead featuring the addictive red, orange, and yellow colors we all associate with fall. So, get out there and experience all that these hikes have to offer, from hidden waterfalls to lake lookouts, Wisconsin's fall hikes are some of the best of the best.
Bearskin State Trail
Stretching from Minocqua to Lake Tomahawk in the Northwoods, the Bearskin State Trail is a former railroad corridor and is named after Bearskin Creek. The 21.5-mile trail is surfaced with compacted granite, making it ideal for a fall hike, and then a snowmobile ride in the winter months! The trail features thirteen trestles that cross lakes and streams along the way. In addition to taking in the vibrant autumn colors on the trail, visitors can also view native wildlife and a variety of bird species, so make sure to pack a camera or some binoculars!
Peninsula State Park
For folks looking for one Wisconsin park that has it all, Peninsula State Park, which is located along 8 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline in Door County, might be it. In addition to miles of hiking and biking trails, this diverse park is also home to an 18-hole golf course, a lighthouse, and 460 campsites for those wishing to spend the night or a few days. When standing on one of the park's tall bluffs, which are part of the incredible Niagara Escarpment, visitors can view the powerful lake waves below. The park offers 20 miles of hiking trails to enjoy year-round, but they are especially scenic in autumn.
Seven Bridges Hiking Trail
The Seven Bridges Hiking Trail in Milwaukee is a great place to spend the day at any time of the year, but it seems to come alive during the fall months. Constructed during the Great Depression from limestone pavers from a nearby quarry, the trail has beautiful and unique features such as a staircase leading to a deep ravine, a babbling brook, many different types of wildlife, a lush forest that turns vibrant hues of gold, crimson, and orange in the fall, a playground, and a few different picnic areas for a brisk outdoor autumn lunch. Seven Bridges Hiking Trail is a great option to spend a crisp fall day with the family!
Devil's Lake State Park
Devil's Lake State Park, which is situated in Sauk County, is one of the most scenic natural areas in the state. The park sits on the impressive Ice Age National Scenic Trail, offering sweeping lake views from 500-foot-high quartzite bluffs. Visitors are welcome to explore the park's 30 miles of hiking trails, which wind through picnic areas, past sandy beaches, and lush woodlands. In the fall, the rustic bluffs, the lake below, and the fiery leaves combine to create a one-of-a-kind hiking experience.
Pattison State Park
Pattison State Park is known for its breathtaking waterfalls, which are the highest in Wisconsin, and the fourth-highest east of the Rocky Mountains. Visitors flock to the park to witness everything from the 165-foot-high Big Manitou Falls to the 31-foot-high Little Manitou Falls. The 1,400-acre park features miles of hiking trails, which lead adventurers past the waterfalls, a beach, and a nature center, among many other amenities.
Established in 1900, Interstate Park is Wisconsin's oldest state park and is located along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The park treats hikers to colorful foliage in the fall, as well as picturesque river views as well as the Dalles of the St. Croix, a steep-sided gorge. For those who desire a break from the trails, the park's Ice Age Interpretive Center features information about Wisconsin's glacial past, as well as a comprehensive film and photographs.
Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path
If you prefer a gentle, in-town hiking trail as opposed to a rustic woodland one, the Lake Geneva Lake Shore Path may be the one for you. The public footpath winds around Lake Geneva, offering vibrant foliage in the autumn, as well as a glimpse into the area's rich history. Hikers are treated to historic homes and gardens, impressive lakefront estates, a sandy coastline, and several public parks. The path is 20 miles long and features a mix of grass and concrete paths to keep the hike diverse.
No matter where you are located in Wisconsin or planning to visit this fall, tourists will have no problem finding a hiking trail from which to take in the impressive autumnal spectrum. With so many forests and trees, the state is a great place to find yourself any time of the year, but it is especially true in the fall months when Wisconsin's leaves burst into fiery hues. Chilly fall mornings can give way to warm and sunny afternoons during autumn, so make sure to be prepared and dress in layers when heading out on the trails!