See Wisconsin’s fabulous fall color from new heights at these scenic spots!
The historic Wollersheim Winery & Distillery in Prairie du Sac sits on a hilltop overlooking the Wisconsin River Valley. Take advantage of the guided vineyard tours in the fall for one-of-a-kind views. Time your visit to mid-October when they mark the release of their Ice Wine, a sipping wine that pairs well with cheesecake.
Perched on a hill in Bayfield, the Old Rittenhouse Inn and sister property Le Chateau not only provide elegant lodging but views to Madeline Island and the shoreline of Lake Superior. Innkeeper Mark Phillips recommends the third-floor suites with balconies in the main inn and the wrap-around porch on the Le Chateau porch for the best views.
Here’s one for the anglers – the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Hayward, where the landmark “Shrine to Anglers” is your perch for fall color viewing. This four-and-a-half story tall likeness of a leaping musky accommodates 20 people in its gaping jaw for panoramic views of Lake Hayward and the colorful grounds. It’s open through the end of October.
With a name like Infinity Room, you know this place has loads of leaf-peeping potential. It’s located within the whimsical House on the Rock attraction in Spring Green. The room juts out 218 feet over a scenic valley. Look down 150 feet to the forest floor below with a mix of pines, oaks and cottonwoods.
Head to the Door County peninsula for a multitude of aerial views. Start with a walk across the Bayview Bridge in Sturgeon Bay to see the ship canal below flanked by foliage. Make your next stop Whitefish Dunes State Park where the “Old Baldy” dune is the tallest in the state. Then on to the top of Sven’s Bluff in Peninsula State Park. End your autumn adventure with a visit to the Cana Island Lighthouse on the Lake Michigan side where you can walk the open-air catwalk at the top.
Sticking with lighthouses, The Wind Point Lighthouse in Racine County is open for tower climb tours on select dates during the fall. This 108-foot-tall lighthouse was first lit on Nov. 15, 1880 and continues to be lit today. In Milwaukee, the North Point Lighthouse, located between two wooded ravines in Lake Park, is one of the oldest structures still standing in the now-urban area. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1893, a name that may be familiar, as he also designed New York’s Central Park.
In Eau Claire, head to Mount Simon Park, right in the heart of the city, and hike to one of the highest spots in the area, a summit outcrop appropriately named Top of the World. You’ll be rewarded with a view to Dells Pond lake and lush scenery. There’s also High Bridge, a converted railroad bridge that crosses the Chippewa River, where the fall views are equally worthy.
The scenic tower at Holy Hill Basilica in Hubertus, stretching 192 feet to the sky at the tip of the spire, is open through October. Climb the 178 steps to the observation deck for views to Milwaukee nearly 30 miles away and fall color blanketing the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
Instead of waiting for a snowy blanket of white to visit Granite Peak in Wausau’s Rib Mountain State Park, skiers should consider a fall chairlift ride for a much more colorful view of the 700-foot vertical drop. When finished with the ride, climb to the top of the 60-foot observation tower in the park for an equally breathtaking view of the Wisconsin River Valley below.
For a speedier view of a tree canopy, try the Northwoods Zip Line in Minocqua with both zip lining and aerial trekking. Or add some rock climbing and rappelling to your zip lining adventure in Chimney Rock Park outside Wisconsin Dells, with outfitter Vertical Illusions providing everything you’ll need. The park features the highest castellated rock mound in the world. You’ll zip over a demarcation line where boreal forest meets deciduous forest.
These are as sky-high as it gets in Wisconsin.
First up, Timm’s Hill in Timm’s Hill County Park near Ogema, the highest point in Wisconsin at 1,951 feet above sea level. If that’s not high enough for you, climb the additional 60 feet to the top of the observation tower for some of the state’s most outstanding fall color views of northern hardwoods.
For the most adventurous, get your fill of fall color with some skydiving. Skydive Wissota offers a dramatic patchwork of colors because of the different types of trees. For skydiving enthusiasts, there’s also Wisconsin Skydiving Center in Jefferson and Seven Hills Skydivers in Madison.