Fall in Wisconsin is all about the color: as September rolls in and green trees become a medley of reds and golds, color-lovers from all around start making plans to get outside and appreciate it. But there’s more to the Wisconsin fall color experience than just seeing it – it’s how you see it that makes the trip that much more memorable, that turns an event into an adventure.
This autumn, climb aboard one of Wisconsin’s historic trains for a fall color show that’s sure to impress – we’ll save you a spot by the window!
See the scenic Baraboo Hills ablaze with fall color from your seat on this turn-of-the-century steam train. The seven-mile journey though rural Sauk County provides ample opportunities to spot changing leaves; ride in one of the restored passenger coaches or, for an extra-special trip, the caboose!
Visit on select weekends for special fall-themed rides, including a Harvest Train (running the same weekend as Sauk County’s Fermentation Fest) and the Pumpkin Special.
Families flock to the Riverside & Great Northern Railway to hop aboard this small-sized, kid-friendly steam locomotive, the only one of its kind in the area. Its open-air cars wind though the woods of northern Wisconsin Dells and put you up close and personal with some seriously gorgeous scenery – expect to pass through scenic canyons and rock cuts along the Dells of the Wisconsin River, in addition to great color.
Make a day of it and pack a picnic to enjoy outside the depot – you’ll be near enough to the tracks to watch the trains roll by!
Take a step back in time with on ride on this historic railway, whose vintage train cars and unspoiled views harken back to life in the 1940’s. See the banks of the beautiful St. Croix Riverway draped in its autumn best on the Marine run (a longer ride along the bluffs, chugging over the river and into Minnesota before rounding back), the Dresser run (a shorter ride, great for families with small children) or on one of their many fall and dinner themed excursions.
This adorable little train is called Madeline, and she’s a self-propelled car (affectionately known as a “doodlebug”) beautifully restored for sightseeing around Northwest Wisconsin. Spot pops of color on your trek along the Namekagon River, as Madeline leads you to a scenic overlook only reachable by train or canoe.
Hungry for more? Book a seat on the railroad’s popular family pizza train for dinner with a view.
A full day of fall fun starts aboard the East Troy Railroad, on a charming seven-mile ride through thick colored forest. All rails stop at the Elegant Farmer, a popular family apple orchard packed with all the makings of a perfect fall day: pick-your-own apples, a corn maze, hayrides, homemade treats and more. Finish up with a return trip on the restored electric trolley – definitely more relaxing (and fun!) than the car.
And while you’re at the Elegant Farmer, don’t miss a slice of their famous apple pie! This paper-bag-baked dessert has a well-deserved reputation for being some of the very best.