Wisconsin is famous for its fiery fall foliage. This year, instead of taking a drive or a hike, why not experience fall color from a different angle? Hop in a kayak, canoe or boat and gain a fresh perspective of the season’s oranges, golds and reds.
Take advantage of the Travel Wisconsin Fall Color Report to track the best fall color throughout Wisconsin’s 72 counties. And when the colors hit peak, view an explosive autumn from a whole new vantage point: the water.
Peninsula State Park, the third-largest state park in Wisconsin, boasts eight miles of shoreline in Door County. From Lake Michigan, visitors can set their sights on fall color lining the shore, as well as other popular sites like the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Horseshoe Island and Chambers Island. Kayaks and canoes often launch from Tennison Bay, which has a shallow draft. For those looking to sit back and enjoy the ride, scenic boat tours are offered in Fish Creek and Sister Bay.
The Apostle Islands, a group of 21 islands off the Bayfield Peninsula in Northern Wisconsin, provide some of the best blue-water paddling in the country. Hit the waves and maneuver around the islands on your own, or book a guided tour. Many of the directed tours escort kayakers by powerboat to the most impressive sections of cliffs, caves and overhangs.
Wisconsin’s newest state forest offers more than 9,000 acres of recreational opportunities, including 25 miles of river. The area is home to the Midwest’s longest continuous white-water rapids, where the rivers flow fast and clear through pine hardwood forests that light up with beautiful fall colors during autumn. Boat Landing No. 12 provides ample parking and an easy place to take off.
Known as the crookedest river in the world, the Kickapoo is navigable its entire length from just north of Ontario to the Wisconsin River at Wauzeka. Near Ontario, the river has carved out vertical sandstone cliffs covered with greenery.
In addition to fall color, visitors can see more than 300 species of plants, over 100 species of birds and a plethora of other mammals. Many kayakers and canoers will hop on the river at Bridge One in Ontario and travel the river south to Bridge 12 in Rockton.
The Namekagon River, a tributary of the St. Croix River, is a 95-mile river offering everything from wide, quiet flowages to rapids for experienced kayakers. In most places, no development has been allowed in sight of the river, providing miles of unsurpassed beauty. Paddlers can launch into the river at the Namekagon Dam Landing and travel as far south as the Riverside Landing.
Looking for more ways to get out and enjoy a Wisconsin autumn? We've got you covered with these Top Ten Things To Do This Fall!