Hiking, biking and train rides: Planning your Wisconsin fall get - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Hiking, biking and train rides: Planning your Wisconsin fall getaway

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With the official start of fall just around the corner, it’s time to plan an autumn getaway in Wisconsin. Kristina LeVan with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism joined us Wednesday morning on Wake Up Wisconsin with these ideas. 

Fall is the perfect time for hiking and Wisconsin’s state parks offer plenty of options.  Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo is Wisconsin’s largest state park and is home to more than 29 miles of trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to quite challenging.  Panoramic views of fall color can’t be beat from atop the park’s 500-foot-tall quartzite bluffs that overlook a 360-acre lake.  You can also pick up the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Devil’s Lake State Park.  The trail stretches more than one thousand miles across the state through 31 counties and showcases a plethora of unique landscape features, formed more than 12,000 years ago when the last of the glaciers retreated from Wisconsin.

If biking is more your style, check out the Elroy-Sparta Trail, the country’s first rails-to-trails conversion.  The 32-mile trail runs across a former section of the famous Chicago and North Western Railway and is open for biking, hiking and snowmobiling.   Located in Wisconsin’s Driftless Region, the trail offers spectacular scenery and is a great place to experience fall color.  The trail also features three unique tunnels, with the longest being more than three-quarters of a mile long – so be sure to bring a flashlight!  The small towns along the route all have a bike friendly atmosphere and offer a charming place to stop for lunch or spend the night.

Train rides are another popular fall activity in Wisconsin, with several offered across the state.   One is the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, which hosts Autumn Color Weekend rides Oct. 7-9 and Pumpkin Special tours Oct. 15-16.  Guests can take in the rural countryside’s beautiful fall hues while riding along the historic former Chicago & North Western rail line aboard a restored vintage passage car.  During the Pumpkin Special weekend, the train takes riders to Quartzite Lake where they can pick out a locally grown pumpkin to bring home.

Track the state’s fall color with Travel Wisconsin’s Fall Color Report tool.  Fall color can happen overnight and varies from county to county, so the best way to stay informed is to use the Travel Wisconsin Fall Color Report.  We have 100 reporters spread across all 72 counties reporting the fall color for us virtually in real time.  The report shows percentage of peak color, how many weeks until it peaks, information on trails and driving routes; tabs direct you to nearby dining, lodging, attractions, and events. Users can view the report and even upload photos from their smart phone.

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