Take advantage of what's arguably the most beautiful time of year in the Midwest with these ten scenic locales.
Autumn brings incredible color to Wisconsin’s landscape. While fall colors in the MKE area peak from late September to late October, you may already have noticed some changing leaves. Continue to keep track of where colors are most vibrant, then bike, drive or hike your way through some of our state’s most magnificent fall scenery.
Boerner Botanical Gardens
Boerner Botanical Gardens ignites with brilliant shades of orange and red, especially in October when ash, maple, oak and other trees reach their peak colors. Gravel trails surrounded by flowers, forest, plants and waterfalls allow you to take in the sights and scents of autumn.
9400 Boerner Dr., Hales Corners
Oak Leaf Trail
The Oak Leaf Trail is an avid bicyclist’s dream, with more than 100 miles of paved paths that wind through residential, urban and wooded areas. For a more nature-oriented ride, start off at South Shore Park in Bay View and head south along the lake. Hop off at Grant Park, and, if you’re feeling ambitious, hike Seven Bridges Trail (see below). With hardwood trees lining much of the trails, there is plenty of fiery foliage to admire.
2900 S. Shore Dr.
The second-largest park in Milwaukee County transforms into 381 acres of autumn wonderland come fall. Located along the banks of Lake Michigan, Grant Park’s two-mile Seven Bridges Trail serves as the perfect hiking path for admiring fall colors as you traverse through the scenic forest.
100 Hawthorne Ave., South Milwaukee
Havenwoods State Forest
Wisconsin’s only urban state forest has 237 acres of fields, wetlands and woods to explore. Bike or hike the more than six miles of trails, where you’re bound to see plenty of gorgeous fall color (and maybe some wildlife too!)
6141 N. Hopkins St.
People travel from all over to see the autumn colors at Holy Hill. With the highest elevation (over 1,300 feet) in southeast Wisconsin, it’s no wonder Holy Hill is a prime location for leaf peeping. Make your way to the top of one of the basilica’s towers and, if skies are clear enough, you might be able to see all the way to Milwaukee.
1525 Carmel Rd., Hubertus
Located in Delafield’s Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak’s 45-foot observation tower offers a panoramic view of the changing foliage from the highest point in Waukesha County. Inhale the crisp fall air as you adventure through seventeen miles of hiking trails.
W329 N846 C, County Rd. C, Delafield
Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve
The 100-foot bluffs at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve offer a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan, which pops in contrast with the orange, red and yellow leaf display in the fall. The 73-acre park features boardwalks, bridges, trails and stairs that lead down to the lake.
511 High Bluff Dr., Grafton
North Point Lighthouse
From the top of this 74-foot–tall lighthouse, you can take in the panoramic view of the Milwaukee skyline, changing colors at Lake Park and the crisp blue waters of Lake Michigan. You’ll be happy you made the climb. The lighthouse is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
2650 N. Wahl Ave.
Riveredge Nature Center
Ten miles of leaf-littered hiking trails make for plenty of exploring at Southeastern Wisconsin’s oldest nature center. The almost 380 acres of forest, restored prairie and wetlands are prime for admiring the brilliantly colored scenery.
4458 County Hwy Y, Saukville
Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
With a diverse terrain featuring forests, prairies and wetlands, the hiking trails at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center provide a variety of landscapes that highlight the beauty of fall. For a bird’s-eye view of Lake Michigan, head to the nature center’s observation tower.
1111 E. Brown Deer Rd.