When craving the solace of the outdoors, with enough room to breathe and keep a social distance, the Driftless can offer you the recreation you love with the space you need for fall color views. Be sure to check ahead to see if offered services are ongoing.
Look forward to your future vacation in Southwest Wisconsin and learn what the Driftless is all about. Click to order a map and start the daydream.
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Fall colors explode throughout the Driftless and the many winding roads through the hills and valleys can lead to spectacular views. But it’s always good to have a destination in mind, and when searching for fall colors Sunrise Orchards near Gays Mills is a great place to go. When getting there, Hwy 171 (connecting from Hwy 35/The Great River Road) is a good choice for winding roads and Driftless fall color views.
Where to begin? Apple cider donuts. Sunrise Orchards is kinda known for them, and they taste like fall.
Looking for iconic views of the Driftless Region? Then Wildcat Mountain State Park near Ontario will not disappoint. There are several scenic overlooks to choose from, the Observation Point Trail is short and sweet and with a beautiful view. The Hemlock Trail is also a good choice. It’s 1.3 miles long and isn’t as populated as some of the other trails on the Mountain so you might just have the trail pretty much to yourself. You’ll also be rewarded with an expansive view of the Driftless.
Where to begin? Pets on a leash are welcome on most trails in Wildcat Mountain, but not all. Some trails traverse protected areas and dogs are not allowed. Be sure to check what the website states before heading out with the pooch.
The Mississippi River
The bluffs cut over the millennia by the Mississippi River boast beautiful limestone faces that can be seen best from the river itself. The forested slopes of the bluffs offer some of the best fall color viewing. There are a lot of boat landings along the way, but if you don’t have a boat, Hwy 35, The Great River Road hugs the river as it flows through the Driftless.
Where to begin? Want the river view, but without a boat? Cross the river in Prairie du Chien on the Hwy 18 bridge. Very pretty!
Kickapoo Valley Reserve
A fall color view for the more adventurous would be the hike to Hanson Rock in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. An 8 mile round trip that will take you to a beautiful overlook and along a ridge line with off-shoot trails that will give you additional overlooks that are worth the short trip off the trail. Expect climbs, descents, prairies and forested areas; this hike is a mix of the nature of the Driftless.
Where to begin? The offshoot trails to additional overlooks on the Hanson Rock Overlook Loop can be a little hard to find if you’re not looking for them, so keep that in mind.
A destination for your fall color road trip that ends in some quality time with the family. Hidden Hills is a farm outside of Stoddard with a petting farm and nerf course the kids will enjoy, and a compass course that will put your skills to the test as you walk through the fall leaves and up and down the hillsides. What better way to experience fall in the Driftless than combining a farm trip with a chance to let the kids start a leaf collection amid the forest.
Where to begin? There are both easy and difficult compass courses, so you can choose your comfort level.