Fall Color

  • 10 cool ways to see fall colors

    In fall, you don't need to limit yourself to seeing the colors while speeding by in a car or even at a snail's pace from a hiking trail. You also can watch the show on horseback, by boat or from a train. Or try a different kind of conveyance — say, covered wagon, chairlift or Venetian gondola. The important thing is get out there and see as much as you can while it lasts. Here are 10 cool ways to view the hues.

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  • Autumn in the Brainerd Lakes

    It was a warm, sunny fall day in the heart of Minnesota. The woods were aglow with color, and there were many ways to wallow in it — on trails for hiking, paved paths for biking, lakes for boating. But something was missing. Where were all the people? Apparently, they were on the North Shore, fighting for space amid crowds that arrive as reliably as spawning salmon.

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  • Fall in Door County

    Around the Upper Midwest, Door County is the tourist destination that other tourist destinations envy. Everything a tourist loves, it’s got: Lighthouses, craggy shorelines, sand dunes. Golf courses, boutiques, bistros. Bicycle paths, hiking trails, beaches.

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  • High color in Cable

    In the forests and lakes around the northwestern Wisconsin town of Cable, the reds, oranges and yellows of fall are mere gilding on the lily.

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  • Colors of the North Shore

    In autumn, crowds of leaf-peepers mob Minnesota’s North Shore, looking for fabulous fall color.

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  • So many festivals, so little fall

    In this part of the world, fall is sweet but way too short. All of the quaint little towns along rivers and in the bluffs have to pack their autumn festivals into the same six weekends, rolling out parades, pumpkin contests and oompah bands for all the leaf-peeping tourists.

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  • What makes leaves turn color?

    Every year, it happens like magic: In September, the uniform green of the hardwood forests starts morphing into a rolling wave of reds, russets, golds and orange. In a bad year, there's barely any color at all, just mousy yellows on leaves that drop in the first stiff wind.

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  • 15 great fall views

    In autumn, the pilgrims head for Holy Hill. Some want to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for whom the basilica was built in 1930. But many others just want to see the amazing view, which includes the Milwaukee skyline and surrounding Kettle Moraine State Forest, dappled with colors. The basilica was built atop a kame — a mound filled with glacial rubble — that has one of the highest elevations in southeast Wisconsin and the highest in the 120-mile-long kettle moraine, where two lobes of the last glacier collided.

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  • Wisconsin Dells in fall

    In the Dells, when the children go home, the adults come out to play. Autumn is a quiet time in Wisconsin Dells. The outdoor water parks are closed, many attractions are shuttered and the water-ski show performers are in Florida for the winter. In the rush of summer, many tourists spend a whole week in Wisconsin Dells and never see the dells that drew tourists in the first place.

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  • Autumn on horseback

    In fall, we all love to get out and see the colors on a good tramp through the woods. But why not let a horse do the walking? I don’t ride much, but when I do, it’s always autumn. Crisp air and colorful forests call for a trail ride, and the view is always better on a horse.

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  • Pursuing the hues

    As anyone who’s ever planned a fall trip knows, peak leaf color can be elusive. Betting on a burst of spectacular color is like plugging nickels into a slot machine. To win, all of the figures have to line up: the right number of warm days and cool nights, the right levels of sugar produced, the right amounts of moisture.

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  • 15 great late-fall getaways

    Late fall — when crowds fade and hotel deals appear — is one of the best times to make a getaway.  For hikers, it's the sweet spot between the fall-color rush and hunting season. For shoppers, it's the time to get a head start on the holidays, before the craziness starts.

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  • Great fall festivals

    Fall is made for festivals. It's harvest time, and the fields and orchards are overflowing. Trees turn red and gold. And it's the last time we'll enjoy warm weather until spring. The many people who heed the urge to get out and about on crisp autumn weekends make it the busiest tourist season of the year. Big apples), become almost too popular.

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  • Quiet time on Minnesota's North Shore

    The skies were leaden and forbidding as Lake Superior slid into view and we descended into Duluth. The wind mauled our hair as we stood alongside the harbor canal, waving to the crew of the Sea Pearl II as it pushed toward Malta with a load of grain. Driving up the shore, we listened to taped stories of shipwrecks: The sidewheeler Lotta Bernard, pummeled into pieces off Gooseberry Falls on Oct. 29, 1874. The steamer Edenborn, hurled into the mouth of Split Rock River and broken in two on Nov. 28, 1905. The Lafayette, pulverized against a cliff near Encampment Island on the same day.

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  • 15 great fall drives

    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.

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  • Autumn along the St. Croix

    On a lovely day in fall, few places show off this region better than the St. Croix River Valley between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The 52-mile stretch from Taylors Falls to the St. Croix’s confluence with the Mississippi at Prescott has everything a tourist could want — shops, historic houses, theaters, train excursions, boat cruises. But mostly, it has scenery — scenery I wanted to show my nieces Alissa and Livia, who had left Florida to start careers in the Twin Cities. As it turns out, the St. Croix in autumn looks awfully good to people raised in Florida.

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