By Kevin Revolinski | Photo ©Travel Wisconsin

Whether you prefer to explore on two legs, via watercraft or you just want to soak in the scenery while dropping a line, the Northwoods is a beautiful area to enjoy this fall.


Taking to the trails is a great way to explore the Northwoods and experience the beautiful display of color Mother Nature produces each fall. Here are a few of our favorite trails.

  1. Lakeshore Trail – Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
    The rustic trail runs from Meyers Beach through colorful hardwood forest right along the sandstone clifftops overlooking Lake Superior. Views down into the carved sea caves and crevasses are extraordinary, and an out-and-back hike of 4.8 miles ends at the feature called The Bowl.
  2. St. Peter’s Dome/Morgan Falls – Marengo
    A section of the North Country Trail climbs to the dome, with its view all the way to Lake Superior. A side trail finds a chute of water rushing down into a hidden pool.
  3. Glacial Potholes Trail – Interstate State Park
    The eastern terminus of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail begins here with blufftop views of the St. Croix River and the namesake geological features drilled into the rock at the top.
  4. Dells of the Eau Claire, Wausau
    A county park surrounds this rocky narrows where the Eau Claire River rushes in whitewater, but an Ice Age Trail segment approaching from down river passes through fall colors to get there.


Grab your canoe or kayak to enjoy beautiful scenery from a bird’s eye view on the water.

  1. Oconto River
    A wide and easy river with nothing more than riffles or Class I rapids, the Oconto feels wild and remote yet ends at Holtwood Park and Holtwood Campground, right in town.
  2. Turtle Flambeau Flowage
    Consider this sort of the Boundary Waters lite. A portion of island-filled, 19,000-acre flowage surrounded by wilderness is a quiet zone, favoring paddlers over fishing boats. Paddle-in camping is free.
  3. St. Croix National Scenic Byway, Hayward/Cable/Trego
    Class I rapids, fall colors and surely an eagle or three, the upper reaches of either the St. Croix or its sister river, Namekagon, pass through undeveloped forest and are ideal for daytrips or overnight bank-side camping.
  4. Bois Brule River
    Springs feed this scenic river known for its trout fishing, so water levels are reliable. Riffles and light rapids make the stretch south of Hwy. 2 appropriate for all skill levels.
  5. Sea Caves at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
    Lake Superior has carved caves, crevasses and paddle-throughs along the 30- to 40-foot red sandstone cliffs. Outfitters offer excellent guided tours in single and tandem sea kayaks, getting you up close safely.


  1. Willow Flowage
    With a max depth of 30 feet and numerous islands spread out along nearly 6,400 acres, the flowage is a treasure, with walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskies and plenty of panfish.
  2. Minocqua Chain of Lakes
    Six lakes ranging from the 41-acre Mud Lake to the 3,462 acres of Tomahawk Lake create that big blue area around Minocqua, recently named by Bassmaster as one of the top 100 places for bass fishing in the U.S.
  3. Eagle River Chain and Three Lake Chain
    Nine lakes plus three make a very long chain of freshwater for fishing. Muskies and walleye are the big draws but crappie, perch, rock bass and bluegill are reliable for dinner.
  4. Menominee River near Marinette
    Fall is the best time to find walleye and especially smallmouth bass at their peak, but a nice surprise is the presence of brown trout and salmon moving into the river from Lake Michigan.
  5. Hayward Lakes Area
    Covering more than 55,000 acres in nearly 500 lakes, Hayward and Sawyer County are the mecca for anglers. With the area’s reputation for world record muskies, it’s no wonder the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is located here.

Kevin Revolinski is a Wisconsin outdoors and beer writer and author of "Backroads and Byways of Wisconsin" a guidebook to the best paddling throughout the Badger State. See his website at

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