Updated: Aug 17
With 16 million acres of forested land, Autumn in Wisconsin is what fall foliage fantasies are made of.
Not-to-miss Harvest Festivals
Say goodbye to summer and hello to fall with one of the largest festivals in the state. The three-day celebration of Wo-Zha-Wa Days, whose name means “fun time” in Ho-Chunk, stays true to its name by offering a host of free activities including an arts and crafts fair, live entertainment, an antique flea market, and a Sunday parade with over 100 floats. Kids will love the carnival rides and everyone will love grabbing a bite from the dozens of food vendors. Don't worry, you can work off the funnel cake with the Wo-Zha-Wa 10k Run or 5k Walk and experience the Wisconsin Dells in a whole new way.
Celebrate Wisconsin's state fruit at Warrens Cranberry Festival, the world's largest cranberry festival. The festival provides the opportunity to take a guided tour of the surrounding cranberry marshes that also offers fresh cranberries and local cranberry wine, among other cranberry products for purchase. If someone in your group has a competitive streak, enter one of the many themed contests including Biggest Berry, the Marsh Medallion Hunt, or the deliciously messy Cranberry Chiffon Pie Eating Contest. The free festival takes place on Sept. 22-24.
Orchards from across the country participate in the Bayfield AppleFest that is a celebration of fall, nature and agriculture. The annual apple peeling contest is always a favorite, but visitors will not want to miss the crowning of the Apple Queen. More than 15 orchards are within a few miles of the city limits making it the perfect place for an orchard tour. Check out Hauser Superior View Farm, a 100-year-old apple orchard that is home to the one-of-a-kind Merlot apple that was started right there at the farm. This festival takes place from Oct. 6-8.
Located in the heart of the Driftless Region sits Gays Mills, the Apple Capital of Wisconsin. The Gays Mills Apple Festival celebrates the apple harvest with parades, carnivals, arts and crafts, flea markets, music, dancing, fun run/walk, food and festivities. Gays Mills offers many outdoor adventures for all ages from the bucolic Kickapoo River to the scenic Apple Orchards. Come enjoy the fun in Gays Mills as we celebrate from September 22nd-24th, 2023.
Fall Foliage Adventures
You can find fall color in every region of Wisconsin, from the deep woods of Northern Wisconsin to the rolling hills of the Driftless Region. Here are some fun ways to experience Wisconsin’s fall foliage:
Scenic Drives Cruise the backroads of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest for a tour of Northern color or drive State Highway 60 - a great option for those looking to stay south. You can also travel on the Great River Road for a fall color show atop towering limestone bluffs. You’ll pass through tiny towns and villages like Stockholm, Pepin and Alma along the way, where B&Bs, charming cafés and local artists’ studios fill streets that feel like they’re from another time.
Train Rides Climb aboard one of Wisconsin’s historic trains to see fall leaves from a whole new perspective. Many of the trains offer special autumn-themed rides, complete with colorful scenery and trips to the pumpkin patch. Find out where to ride with these five scenic fall train trips.
Take a Hike Set off on foot to get up-close and personal with the changing leaves. Wisconsin is packed with hiking trails for every interest and skill level, but you can’t go wrong on a visit to a state park – fresh air and fall color abound in parks like Perrot, Blue Mound and Wyalusing, all known for their incredible views.