It’s no surprise that one of the benefits of traveling to and around Wisconsin is the prevalence of all four seasons — especially fall and its iconic vibrant colors. If you’re looking to take a fall Wisconsin day trip, here is one of the best Wisconsin fall trips and fall foliage scenic drives for the best fall colors in the state.
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Prepare For Your Wisconsin Fall Trips
Before you embark on your day trip, there is a couple things to prepare.
- Pack a lunch or bring money for lunch. We love our insulated picnic backpack for packing day trip food.
- Charge your camera gear. (Find all the best budget camera gear for travel here.) You’ll definitely want to snap some photos of these fall colors.
- Get inspired by these epic fall photo ideas.
1. Wisconsin Fall Trips: Start At Rib Mountain
You’ll begin these Wisconsin fall trips in the town of Rib Mountain, Wisconsin, just south of the city of Wausau. Known for its infamous ski hill and state park, Rib Mountain is the gold mine of fall foliage, literally.
The key to finding the best fall foliage in Rib Mountain, Wisconsin, is to drive toward wherever you see the most vibrant colors — even if the colors lead you into a neighborhood.
This is exactly what we did, and we indeed ended up in the middle of a neighborhood. However, in between a few of the houses, on a completely empty property, we found some of the brightest yellow leaves we have ever seen.
2. See The Fall Foliage From Above At Rib Mountain State Park
Before departing from Rib Mountain, take the ski lift up the hill to see the colors from a bird’s eye view.
You can purchase low‑cost tickets next to the Rib Mountain State Park parking lot. If you have time to spare on your fall foliage scenic drives, the lift may be worth it.
3. Proceed Northbound On Highway 51
From Rib Mountain, take Highway 51 and head north.
Although it seems as if the fall colors can’t get any better already, you will soon see a beautiful transition from golden leaves to burnt orange leaves to ripe‑apple red leaves.
4. Wisconsin Fall Trips: Continue To Manitowish Waters
The cabin‑town of Manitowish Waters will fufill all of your youthful camp‑life nostalgia.
Via Highway 51, you’ll eventually drive right into this quaint town.
Without even getting out of your car, you can perfectly picture yourself engulfing in a flannel blanket, indulging in a marshmallow-topped hot chocolate, and gazing at the morning light peeking through the painted trees — not to mention the endless “oo’s” and “ahh’s” you’ll shamelessly murmur at the vibrant colors on the drive up.
5. Make This Fall Drive A Day Trip
In total, the Wisconsin fall drive listed here only takes about two hours commute total.
If you can, make it a day trip. Take the Rib Mountain ski lift. Leisurely explore hidden parks and forested areas along the way from Rib Mountain to Manitowish Waters.
Escape the chaos of our culture and challenge yourself to just sit, observe, relax and drive!
Have any questions about these Wisconsin fall trip directions? Leave a reply below or send me a message on Instagram!
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