Your guide to Wisconsin’s best fall recreation

Paddling in Rusk County

Autumn adventures

Outdoor fun is a little more colorful this time of year. Spectacular fall foliage and comfortable temperatures add up to good times on Wisconsin’s lakes and in the state’s plentiful natural areas. Here are three best bets to take in the fall color show while you enjoy the best of the great outdoors.

A cast of colors

Make plans now to head to the lake; the fish are biting and this season passes too quickly. This is the time to go after trophies and Boulder Junction is a place for big-fish hunting. It’s the Musky Capital of the World for good reason; for generations people have caught monsters in this town. The musky season here runs through Nov. 30.

Sayner-Star Lake is another perfect place for fall fishing. Beautiful Northwoods lakes like Plum Lake, Star Lake and Razorback Lake offer outstanding smallmouth fishing. The Irving, Ballard and White Birch Lake chains hold a big musky population. Plum Lake holds fewer musky than some other lakes, but the fish caught here are giants, with many topping 50 inches!

Stepping in technicolor

Is there a better time to explore the forest than now? The humidity and bugs of summer are a distant memory and the scenery is simply unforgettable.

Head to the center of Wisconsin for a gorgeous fall color hike that’s perfect for families. In the Stevens Point Area, you’ll find the 280-acre Schmeeckle Reserve on the UW-Stevens Point campus. Explore five miles of trails and boardwalks that wind through pine forests, meadows, cattail marshes, prairie, oak woodlands and through wetlands. The Trail of Reflections is a short, wheelchair-accessible trail great for seeing fall color. You’ll come across a reflection pond and a treehouse, plus it’s a great spot for wildlife viewing. Look for birds, fox, deer and waterfowl!

In Oneida County, located in northern Wisconsin, you’ll find two great fall recreation trails ideal for a hike. The route of the Hiawatha trail and Bear Skin State trail heads through beautiful wild stretches of Oneida County before heading to the Minocqua Area. Both trails are former railroads and are level, for an easy fall stroll. Quiet and careful trail users can expect to see lots of wildlife. Common sightings include bald eagles, deer, bear, pileated woodpeckers, ruffed grouse and wild turkey.

Perfect paddles

This is easily the most spectacular time to get on the water. One great place for a fall paddle is in Rusk County. The county is home to four beautiful rivers including the iconic Flambeau River, a northern Wisconsin river that is a classic Wisconsin paddling river. It has a rich heritage. The name means “torch” in French, and it’s believed that the name came from early explorers who saw the local Chippewa Indians fishing by torchlight at night. The river includes some whitewater, and it passes through the Flambeau River State Forest.

In the northern Wisconsin community of Land O’ Lakes you’ll find the headwaters of the Wisconsin River, a major waterway that crosses the state. The headwaters is called Lac Vieux Desert and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a paddling outing. The Lac Vieux Desert is one of the largest lakes in the area, at 4,260 acres. The lake feeds the Wisconsin River, which starts small but continues 430 miles to the Mississippi River. The paddling here is tranquil and great for families and nature lovers.

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