5 Scenic Fall Train Rides in Wisconsin

Fall in Wisconsin is all about the color. As September rolls in and leaves 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 all the difference, turning an event into a memorable adventure. An adventure meant to be shared with the people who matter most.

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!

Mid-Continent RailwayNorth Freedom

See the scenic Baraboo Hills ablaze with fall foliage from your seat on this turn-of-the-century steam train. The seven-mile journey though rural Sauk County provides ample opportunity 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 through the woods of northern Wisconsin Dells and put you up close and personal with gorgeous scenery. Expect to pass through scenic canyons and rock cuts along the Dells of the Wisconsin River, in addition to great color.

To make a day of it, pack a picnic to enjoy outside the depot — you’ll be near enough to the tracks to watch the trains roll by!

Osceola & St. Croix Valley RailwayOsceola

Feel like you're traveling back in time with a 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.

Meet Madeline. She’s an adorable, self-propelled train car (affectionately known as a “doodlebug”) beautifully restored for sightseeing around Northwest Wisconsin. Spot popping 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. It’s a slice of happiness that can end a family getaway on a perfect note.

East Troy Electric RailroadEast Troy

A full day of fall magic begins 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 memorable!) than driving 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.

Keep up-to-date with how color is progressing around the state with our Fall Color Report. And for more Wisconsin color-spotting, check out these 5 Supper Clubs Along Beautiful Fall Drives.

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