MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

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Favorites for fall

Pursuing the hues
With luck, leaf peepers can squeeze seven weeks of color out of fall.
15 great trails to ride in fall
Here's where to get your fill of flora, fauna and fall colors.
Halloween in Chicago
During scary season, this fun-loving city pulls out all the stops.
10 cool ways to see fall colors
When the trees put on a show, get a front-row seat that can't be beat.
Best of fall
The chase is on as autumn colors start to coat the countryside.
Greatest hits of the Ice Age
In Wisconsin, the best walking trails are gifts from the glaciers.
Ghosts of the Great Lakes
Centuries of tragedy on ship and shore leave haunting memories.
Cheap fall getaways
Here are 20 places to enjoy autumn colors without going into the red.

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FastPlans/Fall hikes at Devil's Lake

Devil's Lake State Park in fall.

In fall, there's nowhere more spectacular than Devil's Lake State Park, the most-visited park in Wisconsin.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail loops around it atop 500-foot quartzite cliffs, giving hikers one great view after another.

What to do: Hike the West Bluff and East Bluff trails around the lake. Visit Baxter's Hollow state natural area west of the park. Bicycle the Great Sauk State Trail south of the park.

Events to catch: Oct. 15-17, Southwest Wisconsin Fall Art Tour around Baraboo.

Details: See The divine Devil's Lake and Baraboo's gilt complex.

Past fast plans: Fall colors in Door County, The Cornish of Mineral Point, Fall in the Dells, Fall in Marquette, Exploring La Crosse

This weekend

Tour the big city or countryside.

Chicago buildings reflected in Cloud Gate.

Open House Chicago in Chicago. The Chicago Architecture Foundation sponsors this free, behind-the-scenes peek at more than 200 mansions, clubs, churches, hotels and theaters. Oct. 16–17.

Southwest Wisconsin Fall Art Tour. This popular studio tour includes artists at studios between Mineral Point, Spring Green, Dodgeville and Baraboo. Oct. 15–17.

Oktoberfest in Elkhorn, Wis. This downtown festival near Lake Geneva features wine and beer tasting, music, a car show, arts and crafts and a chili cookoff. Oct. 16.

Jack O' Lantern Festival in Spooner, Wis. There's a pumpkin-carving and scarecrow-making contests, kids' inflatables, pumpkin roll and, in the evening, a zombie run in the forest, bonfires and live music. Oct. 16.

For more, see our For more, see our Events Calendar.


30 classic fall hikes

For autumn scenery, these beautiful trails are the best of the best.

Runners in Carleton's Arboretum.

An autumn Saturday dawns, sunny and mild. It’s a perfect day for hiking — but where?

This time of year, you could walk down the street and see something nice.

But if you're looking for the kind of hike that makes you marvel at nature and feel glad to be alive, you'll probably have to look a little farther afield.

Here are 30 of our favorite fall hikes. A few require a little huffing and puffing, but most are easy strolls. And they all showcase fall at its finest.

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Horror around the corner

Spoiling for a fright? For Halloween, ghouls lurk in strange places.

A Redcoat ghoul at Fort Michilimackinac.

It began with a sepulchral fugue, crashing through the frigid steel corridors. Then there was a shriek. And throbbing blood-red lights.

At a fork along a curtained gantlet, a hand-lettered sign advised, "Choose wisely.'' We chose. Another sign said, "You chose poorly.'' Then the ghouls began to crowd in, chattering like monkeys: "Where you goin'? Where you goin'?''

A skeleton slowly turned to face us. We climbed a Plexiglass ramp over an open coffin and into an electrocution chamber. A tortured face poked out of the wall. Behind us, the tunnel closed.

A haunted house? No, a haunted ship — a real claustrophobe's nightmare.

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15 great fall drives

Chase the colors through glorious autumn landscapes.

Hilltop view of Hudson.

On a crisp, sunny fall day, we all get the urge to go for a drive.

The countryside is alight with color, and there's a lot going on — art-studio tours, corn mazes, hay rides and harvest festivals in every little town.

And you'll be chasing the colors, of course.

You probably could throw a dart at the map and find a pretty spot, but here are 15 routes that we think are especially beautiful.

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Ghosts on the prowl

Around the region, spirits of past turn out to haunt tourists of today.

The cemetery in Spillville.

It's funny how, wherever there are tourists, there are ghosts.

In Chicago, two ghost tours put titillated tourists on the track of Al Capone and John Dillinger, thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb and serial murderer H.H. Holmes, the Devil in the White City.

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