Top Ten Fall Forests

Wisconsin's Wild Side: Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, Wisconsin

Preserving large swaths of Wisconsin's north woods, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is as good as it gets in the Midwest come autumn—and that's mighty fine. Gold, scarlet, and auburn leaves make a mosaic of rich colors heralding seasonal change. The air is crisp. A drive through the countryside will roll past farmstands selling pumpkins and other fall produce. And overhead, V-formations of Canada geese flap by, blaring news of their southward passage as they go.

Both units of the forest offer special recreation, from hiking to mellow canoeing to outstanding mountain biking. The westerly Chequamegon unit also hosts a major-league mountain-biking festival, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, in mid September. And don't miss standing atop the Penokee Overlook for a vista of the fall glories. And with the Peshtigo, Brule, Pine, and Popple Rivers, the Nicolet is a magnet for canoeists and fishers.

Fall Classics: Wisconsin Northwoods

Into the Woods: Hikers should check out Chequamegon's Porcupine Lake and Rainbow Lake Wildernesses, or the Blackjack Springs Wilderness Area and Anvil National Recreation Trail over in Nicolet. There's wonderful canoeing and fishing on the Brule River and Peshtigo River.

On the Roads: The best drive in the Wisconsin Northwoods is the Great Divide National Scenic Highway, a 29-mile stretch of State Highway 77 between Glidden and Hayward. Great views, big old hemlocks and brightly colored maples, lakes and swamps, beavers, loons, and bald eagles.

Where to Camp: Check out GORP's Chequamegon and Nicolet listings.


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