MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Fast Plans / Where to go now

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.

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

Fall colors in Door County

In fall, Door County produces plenty of pumpkins.

In fall, Door County's many apple orchards, pumpkin patches and vineyards provide eye candy for tourists, who flock in on weekends.

What to do: Hike in five state parks, 18 county parks and 28 natural areas. Shop at orchard markets and dozens of galleries. Go to a fish boil. Tour wineries and lighthouses, even haunted lighthouses.

Details: See Fall in Door County.

Fall in Decorah

Phelps Park in Decorah.

In the bluffs of northeast Iowa, Decorah has a lot going for it: a spectacular location, a scenic bicycle trail, fine restaurants and craft breweries and a rich cultural scene rarely found in a town of only 8,000.

What to do: Bicycle the 11-mile Trout Run Trail loop. Hike the blufftop trail in Phelps Park (pictured). Canoe on the Upper Iowa River.

Details: For more, see A pocket of Norway.

Fall on Minnesota's North Shore

Fall colors on Oberg Mountain.

For Minnesotans, the stretch of Lake Superior they call the North Shore is hallowed ground. The cobblestone beaches, the dramatic river gorges and the panoramic views of a vast inland sea all make their hearts beat a little faster, especially in fall.

When to go: Right now through the last week of September in inland maple forest (pictured).

What to do: Hike the trails. Ride the Gitchi-Gami Trail. Have a picnic on Palisade Head. Skip rocks or hunt for agates on the beaches

Events to catch: Sept. 25-Oct. 4, Art Along the Lake: Fall Studio Tour.

Details: See Colors of the North Shore and North Shore by the mile.

Exploring La Crosse

Mississippi Queen in La Crosse Wisconsin.

The biggest asset of this three-college town is its location, right on the Mississippi River in southwest Wisconsin's coulee country. 

Getting there: Why not take the train? From the west, Amtrak's Empire Builder arrives at 10:47 a.m.; from the east, at 7:11 p.m.

What to do: Take a cruise on the paddlewheeler La Crosse Queen. Drive up Grandad Bluff for a panoramic view of the town. Bike the La Crosse River State Trail.

Events to catch: Sept. 4-Oct. 4, Bicycle Festival, with free route maps and giveaways.

Details: See Cruising La Crosse.