Where to See the Best Fall Colors in Southwest Wisconsin

Kortnee Hass

October 13, 2021

The fall weather has finally begun to settle in in the southwestern portion of Wisconsin and we are ready to explore the fall foliage that is surrounding the counties throughout! After the hot summer we have had, the chilly breeze and crisp air is much appreciated. With peak colors just around the corner in southwest Wisconsin, it’s time for you to plan your trip to see the best of the best! 

La Crosse County

Photo Credit: Grandad Bluff Park // @sovereign_son129 via Instagram

To see some of the best fall foliage, make a trip to Grandad Bluff in La Crosse. This bluff is settled on the top of La Crosse and is known as the ‘most scenic view in the state’! While visiting, make sure to take the trek throughout Grandad Park, explore the hiking trails, and experience the fall colors intertwined along them. 
Another must-see spot for fall colors, in the comfort of your own car, is along Great River Road. The bonus? U.S. Highway 35 doesn’t just go through La Crosse County, it also provides access to the beautiful colors along the route, access to hiking and biking trails, and the breathtaking views of the Mississippi River.
Our last hot-spot in La Crosse County for the fall hues is at the Onalaska Gazebo Lookout. This overlooks the 7,700 acre lake and the Great River State Trail. You can see the vibrant red, orange, and golden yellow hughes come alive around Lake Onalaska during the fall peak making this already beautiful spot, even better!

Sauk County

Photo Credit: Devil’s Lake State Park // @francis.d.photography via Instagram

All October long, you can get a peek into the crimson and carmine colors that surround all of Sauk County. And you can’t make a trip to this neck of the woods without heading right over to Devil’s Lake State Park. This state park is a popular hotspot all summer long, but visiting in the fall may lead you to the best spots to see the colors change. Fall colors will first start to hit the north shore of Devil’s Lake and then move towards the Johnson Moraine Trail and Grottos Trail during peak color season. 
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, check out Sauk County from a birds eye view and take a helicopter tour over the county. Grab tickets for the ‘Baraboo Bluff package tour’ that is a 25 mile tour over Devil’s Lake and the state park! Or, if you’re wanting a larger trip, take the ‘Ultimate Flight’ and soak in 50 miles of views of Devil’s Lake, Mirror Lake State Park, golf courses, and the resorts up in the Wisconsin Dells!
Our last must-see location in Sauk County is for all of our waterfall lovers: Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area! This spectacular natural area is right along the southern part of the Baraboo Hills. The path into the gorge is about a mile long, making for a perfect day trip to experience the waterfall and fall colors surrounding it!

Lafayette County

Photo Credit: Yellowstone Lake State Park // @bradbellisle via Instagram

Catch some fall colors while out on the water this fall and plan a canoe trip on the Fever River in Lafayette County! This 29.4 mile long canoe route makes for a rich day of exploring the earthy colors that surround the river. The Fever River runs through the rugged hills of the driftless providing gorgeous views of the bluffs and rock formations throughout! Along this canoe trip, you will truly feel as if you are out in a remote location the entire time. 
A fantastic hiking hotspot to see the autumn colors is located in this county at Mound View State Trail. This 7-mile, gently-rolling biking and hiking trail connects Platteville and Belmont. Mound view travels through the open countryside and along beautiful streams making for a wide open view of the fall foliage settling in! 
Another great spot to get intertwined with the beautiful landscape and wildlife scene is at the Yellowstone Lake State Park. This 450 acre state park is right between Blanchardville and Argyle. The park is home to many species of wildlife from whitetail deer and groundhogs to wild turkey’s and foxes. Near the state park is the Yellowstone Wildlife Area that is 4,000 acres of rolling grass and agricultural fields. Both the park and wildlife area house amazing fall locations to sit back and enjoy the natural beauty of the leaves changing with wildlife at the front foot. 

We can’t get over how many beautiful places in southwestern Wisconsin there are to see the fall colors in full bloom! Whether you want to head out by canoe, experience the colors on foot, or in the comfort of your own vehicle…Southwest Wisconsin will truly bring you places to take it all in! Let us know where you’re planning on visiting to see the fall colors in full bloom! 
*This article is brought to you by financial support from the Wisconsin Counties Association.

Kortnee Hass: Digital Media Associate for Discover Mediaworks. A Wisconsin ‘now & forever’ transplant with a soft spot for squeaky cheese curds, craft breweries, and all things Wisconsin tourism.

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