You don’t have to venture far from Wisconsin’s largest city to see breathtaking fall colors. Though peak season usually arrives later here than in the northern part of the state, it is no less beautiful! These are just a few places places where you can see the fall colors near Milwaukee, though I also have a list of some of the best fall hikes around the state!
Just an hour up the road from Milwaukee on Interstate 43, you’ll find Harrington Beach State Park in Ozaukee County. Despite the scenic beach that gives this park its name, it also boasts plenty of forested and prairie trails that are a great place to enjoy the fall foliage near Milwaukee. Peak color usually occurs around mid-October, but you should monitor Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report before visiting to be sure.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail spans more than 1,000 miles across Wisconsin, but some its southeastern sections offer a spectacular array of trees and foliage! I recommend the West Bend segment, which can be easily accessed along Paradise Drive. There is a very small lot to park in, so I recommend coming at a less busy time to find a spot and have the trail all to yourself. You’ll hike through gently rolling hills and across a small pond.
Kettle Moraine State Forest
The Kettle Moraine State Forest is divided into multiple units – Northern, Southern, Lapham Peak, Loew Lake, and Pike Lake. These make great places to see the fall colors near Milwaukee because of their hilly topography and tall overlooks! You’ll find climbable observation towers in the Northern Unit at Parnell Tower, in the Lapham Peak Unit, and in the Pike Lake Unit at the Powder Hill Overlook. An annual Wisconsin state parks sticker is required to park.
This forest oasis in the middle of downtown Milwaukee is a great place for a quick fall hike or photoshoot! Lake Park has a variety of nature trails and walking bridges along the sloping lakeshore that showcase many picturesque spots. You can also head to the nearby Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum (pictured) for some rosy trees and gardens set against the backdrop of Lake Michigan. Admission is $10 for adults.
The periphery of this large Wisconsin lake spans almost a marathon in length and offers breathtaking views throughout! The Lake Geneva Shore Path is unique in that it winds through the backyards of private residences and businesses, so you can easily see the fall colors compliment some of the state’s most historic mansions and estates. The path also boasts breathtaking views across the lake, from expansive foliage as far as the eye can see to secluded cottages on the highest bluffs. You’ll want to find parking in one of the lakeside towns and choose a segment to explore!
Where is your go-to spot to see the fall colors near Milwaukee?