Where to See Northern Wisconsin Fall Colors

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. The temperatures tend to be perfect outside -not hot and humid like the summer, but not cold like the coming winter. Additionally -autumn leaves! Looking for gorgeous wooded paths and lakeside vistas? Here are our top recommendations for viewing the Northern Wisconsin fall colors near Rice Lake this year.


First off, know what to expect. Here are the trees and their brilliant colors you can expect in Barron County as fall descends across the Northland.

Green ash, white birch and aspen: Golden yellow
Tamarack: Deep golden yellow (it’s the only evergreen tree in the state to shed its needles)
Oaks and Hickories: Reddish brown
Red maple: Brilliant red
Sumac: Scarlet red
White ash: Deep purple


Fall colors on Rice Lake in Northern Wisconsin


Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad

Climb aboard the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, just a short 30 minute drive from Rice Lake. Relax and take in all of the colorful fall scenery as you ride the railroad along the Namekagon River, part of the St. Croix National Park System. Choose from a number of ride options including the Vezzie Springs Sightseeing Excursion, Family Pizza Train, 45 Minute Sightseeing Excursion, Elegant Dinner Train, or Bed & Breakfast. The train rides last between 45 minutes and a few hours, depending upon which package you choose. Tickets start at $17 for children and $23 for adults. You can call for reservations or purchase tickets on their website.



The Rice Lake area in Barron County Wisconsin has hundreds of miles of trails to hike, bike, and explore. Take a peak at a list of all the trails in the Northern Wisconsin area. Two trails that are great for enjoying, especially when it comes to fall color season, are the Wild Rivers Trail and Ice Age Trail. We’ve already done overviews of both of these trails, so be sure to check them out:

A Day on the Ice Age Trail

Comprehensive Trail Guide: Wild Rivers Trail

Another trail we recommend is the Devil’s Kettle in the Blue Hills system. With slightly more difficult terrain, the hike is well worth it as you enjoy the fall foliage around the waterfalls and Devil’s Canyon.


Hiking to see the Northern Wisconsin fall colors



Northern Wisconsin is also great for ATVing adventures. Cover more ground with a bit more thrill as you explore the Northwoods by 4-wheeler. There are 3 excellent ATV trails in the area, including the Cattail Trail, its extension, and the Wild Rivers State Trails. The trails range in length from 8 miles to more than 50. Learn more about these trails and request a trail map now.



There’s just something about winding through peaceful country-sides and forests down a rustic road. There’s nothing quite so scenic in Wisconsin as making these drives during the autumn season. Barron County is home to 3 perfect rustic roads for traversing through the fall colors; 18, 67, and 83.

Rustic Road 18 is 6.8 miles in length and is paved. The loop begins and ends on County M and will take you mainly past white oak, aspen, and birch.

Rustic Road 67 is a 4.6 mile road with both paved and gravel portions. The route forms a loop from US 8 to US 63 and will take you from woods and wetlands, to fields and lake edges.

Rustic Road 83 is a 4.6 mile route that is paved. It will take you through 4,100 acres of Barron County forest land.

For more rustic road routes through the Northwest region of Wisconsin, take a look at this map.


Where to See Northern Wisconsin Fall Colors


At the time of writing this post, the leaves are expected to peak during the second week in October -roughly one month from now. That means you have the perfect amount of time left to plan your trip to Rice Lake, WI. We’re the perfect hub for all your autumn leaf seeking adventures and sightseeing! Too keep track of fall color peak times across Northern Wisconsin, be sure to check out the fall color report map. Even if you can’t plan out a full autumn color vacation, this handy little map can help you time a weekend getaway to Rice Lake at just the perfect time for the best fall color action.

What’s your favorite part about fall? Where do you go or how do you like to enjoy the colorful fall leaves? Let us know in the comments below!


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