5 Spectacular Spots to See Autumn Leaves Near Milwaukee

Looking for some color and fresh air? We’ve got you covered.

Fall has been in full swing for a while now, but it’s not too late to catch the spectacle of leaves changing color across the Greater Milwaukee area. Taking a trip to appreciate some autumnal eye candy isn’t great just because it’s a treat for the senses; it’s free, perfectly snap-and-grammable, and a safe breath of fresh air in a time where most places you’d otherwise spend a leisurely afternoon might feel a bit tense.

So what’s stopping you from taking your coat, your camera and a hot travel mug of apple cider to go take in some trees? Now that you’ve got this list of tree-spotting destinations in the area, nothing!

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1. Forest Exploration Center

WAUWATOSA

Tucked away off Swan Boulevard in Wauwatosa, the 60-acre Forest Exploration Center is an awesome place to go see some trees. Featuring a one mile log-lined trail under a dense, leafy canopy, the colors above are nothing short of breathtaking.

2. Wehr Nature Center

FRANKLIN

Encompassing 220 acres of protected land in Whitnall Park, you can come check out five miles of nature trails at the Wehr Nature Center on your own or during any of the group events hosted by the Friends of Wehr. While most of Wehr’s family-oriented educational events have moved online, some, such as the Halloween Haunts on Oct. 15-17, are still operating with limited availability.

3. Seven Bridges Trail

SOUTH MILWAUKEE

This South Milwaukee nature hotspot on the coast of Lake Michigan boasts a ton of gorgeous trees, rushing water, and surprisingly, 10 bridges. We’ll let the misleading name slide, if only because this two mile trail and its many maples, white ashes and yellow birches are just that stunning.

4. Loew Lake Ice Age Trail

HARTFORD

You’ll need to pay admission for this one, but whether or not you’ve hiked any part of the famous thousand-mile Ice Age Trail left in the wake of the glacial ice that reshaped Wisconsin over 12,000 years ago, the Loew Lake segment is worth every penny. Although the nearby Holy Hill Basilica’s scenic tower is closed to maintain social distancing, the trees of the Kettle Moraine State Forest are just as vibrant from the ground.

5. Pike Lake

HARTFORD

As a state park, Pike Lake also requires an admission fee, but it’s well worth it for access to its network of gorgeous lakeside trails through beautiful hardwood forests.

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Calvin Lemieux is a Communication graduate from University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Following an internship with Milwaukee Magazine in Fall 2019 and graduation in Spring 2020, he returned to work as a freelance writer.