By Emma Pankratz
You heard it here first—it’s officially maple syrup season in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s maple syrup farms, or “sugarbushes,” typically begin to tap their trees toward late February and early March, which means fresh syrup will soon be flowing freely throughout the state.
The maple has been Wisconsin’s official state tree since 1949, and there’s no better way to celebrate the maple than to enjoy the sweet, sticky goodness that is Wisconsin maple syrup.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy fresh syrup, whether it be sampling from vendors across the state or visiting a restaurant that serves homegrown maple syrup from Wisconsin’s very own maple trees. Not to mention, there are ample maple festivals all around the state that celebrate the state tree in all of its glory.
Check out these many ways to indulge as we head into the sweetest syrup season yet!
Where to Visit
These local communities do it big when it comes to maple-syrup-themed events, all of which are held in early April.
If you’re looking for an educational, family-friendly and free event, look no further than Phelps Maple Syrup Fest. The Phelps School hosts a full day of activities and entertainment perfect for all ages. A tree-tapping demonstration lets you see the hard work that goes into maple syrup making, with fun crafts and fresh maple syrup for sale.
The Covenant Harbor Maple Fest in Lake Geneva has even more excitement, starting with a delicious, savory pancake breakfast with plenty of syrup to go around! To burn off some of that sugar high, there are plenty of activities to go around, including tours, craft workshops, an indoor climbing wall and even laser tag.
If you want to get a taste of a real Wisconsin sugarbush, you won’t want to miss MapleFest at Glenna Farms in Amery. Visitors can enjoy free pancakes and syrup, shop for unique and delicious maple products at the farm store, and take a “sap to syrup” tour of the sugarbush! With more than 80 acres of maple trees tended by the Glenna family for years, this is a rare peek into Wisconsin's maple syrup making process that you won’t forget.
Where to Shop
With around 500 syrup producers and farmers in the state, you have your pick of delectable maple syrup. Check out these vendors for a taste of tradition—many of them are family-run, and have been in operation for decades.
- Drewry Farms Maple Products
- Anderson’s Maple Syrup
- Ocooch Mountain Acres
- Northern Harvest Gift Baskets
- Cooks' Woods
Where to Eat
Good maple syrup can brighten up any breakfast dish, so it’s no wonder that these restaurants choose to serve up authentic Wisconsin maple syrup.
Slather genuine maple syrup on your French toast at Green Owl Café in Madison for a sweet morning pick-me-up. For a farm-to-table approach, try a syrup-filled breakfast at the quaint Field to Fork café in Sheboygan. Or, for an unforgettable bed-and-breakfast experience in Fish Creek, don’t pass up White Gull Inn's award-winning Door County cherry french toast, served with real maple syrup, of course.
Where to See Maple Trees
If you want to go straight to the source, you won’t have to look far. It’s easy to spot maples all over the state, whether you’re down for a drive or just a walk through the woods.
For a drive: Put the top down and take a drive along the scenic Great River Road, lined with maples for miles.
For a hike: Navigate through the twisting trails and maple-filled forests of the Ice Age Trail, which follows Wisconsin's glacier-sculpted landscape through nearly half of the state's counties.
For a climb: Climb the winding staircase to the top of the 45-foot Lapham Peak observation tower in Kettle Moraine State Forest to see endless maples in all directions.
Have another helping of Vital State-istics with these tasty facts about where to get kringle, Wisconsin's state pastry.