Fall Colors on the Wisconsin Great River Road

Photo by Travel Wisconsin

Life Along Wisconsin’s Great River Road And Why You Need To Go


It’s time.

One of the reasons we live in Wisconsin is because we love experiencing all four seasons, and our showiest season is just beginning to start.

Where is your favorite place to see the fall colors?

There are many scenic spots along Wisconsin’s Great River Road, the 250 miles of Highway 35, which runs adjacent to the Mississippi River from Kieler, Wis., in the south, to Prescott in northern Wisconsin.

Check out some of these leaf-friendly locations:

Pictures with Sunny

Have you had your picture taken with the giant fiberglass sunfish perched next to Lake Onalaska just north of Onalaska’s Main Street? This wayside overlook is an impressive place to pause and take in all autumn’s beauty. Sit under the gazebo donated by the La Crosse Area Builders Association. Revel in the picturesque view at this reservoir of the Black and Mississippi Rivers, bordered between Wisconsin and Minnesota. As the leaves begin to change there are so many shades of green that Crayola will need to make room in that crayon box if it wants to better represent nature.

Take it from the top

Anyone in good physical condition should hike the more than 500 feet up Brady’s Bluff in Trempealeau to appreciate its colorful vistas. Check in at Perrot State Park and follow the path of seasoned hikers who recommend starting at the south end so you can go up the switchbacks and come down the steep stairs as you descend. This is a suitable spot for some exercise if you’ve spent lots of time in the car and need to burn off some energy. Plan on spending a couple of hours on the trail. Wear good shoes and take water bottles. Breathtaking views will be your just reward.

Bird is the word

Larson Bluff, which is just south of Lynxville, is the perfect place to view millions of waterfowl while also admiring swatches of brilliant color in the fall. It’s been said that the pristine backwaters here, along with its many islands and sloughs, make it one of the best places in the world to observe ducks diving into the river. As much as 75 percent the canvasback population of North America gathers here each fall to feed and rest before the journey south. There must be some good duck eats in that river there.

Beauty in backdrop

Want to have a picnic lunch with panoramic views of autumnal splendor as your backdrop? Head to Freedom Park in Prescott where fall colors like vibrant greens and earthy golds and deep crimson can be found as time marches on. The Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center is located on top of the bluff and overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. Spotting scopes will allow you to get even closer to those brilliant fall colors, and you might even see an eagle or two while there.

Meet the Writer

Anastasia Penchi

Anastasia Penchi is a self-employed writer who lives just off Wisconsin’s Great River Road. You can read more about Wisconsin’s Great River Road, and the festivals and people of Western Wisconsin, at the Web site: www.loislaneforhire.com.


River Travel Media/La Crosse Local