7 Locations To Get pleasure from Fall Foliage In Attractive Door County

Whilst you may assume New England has the market cornered on the good colours of…

7 Locations To Get pleasure from Fall Foliage In Attractive Door County

Whilst you may assume New England has the market cornered on the good colours of fall foliage, a go to to Door County, Wisconsin, in October will change your thoughts.

Door County, over 2,000 sq. miles, is a peninsula flanked on three sides by Lake Michigan on the east and Inexperienced Bay on the west. The southernmost base connects the arm to mainland Wisconsin. Washington Island and Rock Island, additionally a part of Door County, are just a few miles off the peninsula’s north shore.

After I visited in September, the timber began becoming fall foliage cloaks. The height peeping season is in October. A few of the 19 distinct communities I noticed are the spectacle’s prime spots.

Professional Tip: All state parks require a allow to be bought on the entrance or at kiosks within the parking areas.

7 Locations To Get pleasure from Fall Foliage In Attractive Door County

Sturgeon Bay within the fall

Picture credit score: Keith Homan / Shutterstock.com

1. Sturgeon Bay

I began my Door County journey in Sturgeon Bay, not removed from Inexperienced Bay. The resort proprietor, Andropolis Waterfront Cottages, informed me that vivid fall colours may very well be skilled at their property, in Sister Bay and Ellison Bay, with the hardwood timber coming proper all the way down to the water’s edge. These bays are on the west aspect of the peninsula.

Potawatomi State Park was removed from my lodging, with one of the best fall foliage viewing at Outdated Ski Hill Overlook.

Driving slowly via the park, you may simply see the timber rising out of the limestone rocks. It’s an otherworldly expertise.

The top (or starting) of the Ice Age Path is close to the commentary tower, which might be an ideal place to get an aerial view of the autumn foliage in Sturgeon Bay. Nevertheless, the constructing is inaccessible as a result of it’s in disrepair and awaiting funding to rebuild.

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in the distance at Peninsula State Park

Eagle Bluff Lighthouse within the distance at Peninsula State Park

Picture credit score: Christine Dannhausen-Brun / Shutterstock.com

2. Peninsula State Park

One of the crucial well-liked state parks on the peninsula’s northeast shore in Fish Creek is Peninsula State Park. 

The Eagle Tower is an imposing construction on prime of Eagle Bluff that opened in 2021 and affords panoramic views of the park, the village of Ephraim, the encompassing islands, and the Higher Michigan shoreline.

Eagle Tower affords a chook’s eye view of beautiful fall foliage round Inexperienced Bay. Climb the 100 steps to the highest of the tower or the totally accessible cover stroll winding above the tree line. The 850-foot-high handicap-accessible ramp makes the view over the tree tops accessible to everybody positioned over the Niagara Escarpment. The 5-percent slope has degree areas with benches for resting alongside the way in which. Grandparents benefit from the ease of use with grandkids on this new addition to the park.

Ellison Bluff State Natural Area

Ellison Bluff State Pure Space

Picture credit score: sstevens3 / Shutterstock.com

3. Ellison Bay Bluff

In Ellison Bluff State Pure Space, benefit from the view from the commentary deck accessed by picket stairs or the picket catwalk that extends over the bluff. See the shoreline under and the 100-foot limestone bluffs, all with an overhead view of fall foliage.

The county park, situated in Liberty Grove, is off the overwhelmed path. However I’m informed it’s well worth the journey!

4. Freeway 42 Into Northport

Freeway 42 is without doubt one of the Midwest’s most well-known stretches of street. Jens Jensen, the famed panorama architect, designed the “Superb Freeway” that curves for no discernable motive and slows visitors. The curves create a wonderful image alternative and a enjoyable drive, particularly through the fall. The time of day and the solar’s place has an necessary bearing on the drive. I drove it late within the afternoon with virtually no visitors and solely deer within the brush alongside the street.

Professional Tip: There are only some turnouts to park and {photograph} the street. I attempted it each methods. The view is extra impactful as you journey north.

Washington Island, Wisconsin

Plan an entire day to expertise this island with a bounty of museums, theater and musical occasions, and out of doors actions within the refreshing fall climate.

Picture credit score: David Clasky / Shutterstock.com

5. Washington Island

The one year-round island neighborhood, Washington Island is the most important of Door County’s 34 islands. With over 100 miles of roads in 35 sq. miles to discover, Washington Island is accessed by a car/passenger ferry in Northport, the northern tip of the peninsula. The trip takes about half-hour via the Dying’s Door water passage.

Professional Tip: Plan an entire day to expertise this island with a bounty of museums, theater and musical occasions, and out of doors actions within the refreshing fall climate.

Cana Island Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin

The 153-year-old Cana Island Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor

Picture credit score: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

6. Cana Island Lighthouse

Bailey’s Harbor, on the Lake Michigan (east) aspect of Door County, is dwelling to the Cana Island Lighthouse. In 2019, the lighthouse celebrated 150 years of guiding ships. In August, a $1.1 million lighthouse restoration undertaking was accomplished. Thankfully, the lighthouse reopened to guests 2 weeks earlier than my arrival. It was the spotlight of my lighthouse tour in Wisconsin. 

The brand new white-clad tower in its clearing is beautiful, surrounded by timber whose leaves flip a superb orange, pink, and gold within the fall.

The hardy souls who climb the 97 spiral staircase steps to achieve the gallery deck are rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula.

Professional Tip: A hay wagon pulled by a driver on a John Deere tractor transports you over the causeway to Cana Island. The wagon trip is bumpy, however it’s one of the best ways to entry the island. Whilst you can stroll throughout shallow water over slippery and unfastened rocks, the center of the crossing may be treacherous.

Cave Point at Whitefish Dunes State Park on the Wisonconsin penuisula

Cave Level at Whitefish Dunes State Park

Picture credit score: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

7. Whitefish Dunes State Park

Outdated Baldy, the tallest dune in Whitefish Dunes State Park, is alongside the east aspect of Door County on Lake Michigan in Jacksonport. The rugged Lake Michigan shoreline boasts a mile of sandy seaside and the best dunes within the state of Wisconsin.

Fourteen miles of well-marked mountain climbing trails via hardwood forests embody a path to Clark Lake and an interpretive path. A mushroom hike, led by a information from the character middle, is obtainable twice within the fall. Think about the splendor of mountain climbing among the many timber when they’re in all their fall glory.

Professional Tip: If it is advisable to use a restroom, arrive on the nature middle earlier than its 4 p.m. closing. In any other case, pit bogs by the swim altering rooms are your solely possibility, and never a great one.

How To Get To Door County


The Austin Straubel Worldwide Airport (GRB) in Inexperienced Bay is the closest business airport to Door County. Effectively-known automobile rental companies serve this airport, in addition to ridesharing corporations.


The historic SS Badger offers a shortcut throughout Lake Michigan between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The large ship affords ferry service for passengers, cars, bikes, and RVs.

On the day I crossed from Wisconsin to Michigan, the water was calm and the sky was clear and shiny.

Professional Tip: You should purchase a single-serving packet of Dramamine on the ferry workplace for the crossing if you happen to want it.


From Chicago, take I-94 to Milwaukee, then I-43 in the direction of Inexperienced Bay, then Freeway 57 north. Two alternate routes will take you thru Door County: I-43 on the peninsula’s west aspect or I-57 on the Lake Michigan aspect.

From Minnesota and the Twin Cities, take I-94 to Freeway 29 into Inexperienced Bay. Comply with the indicators to Sturgeon Bay.

Car ferry returning to Door County port

Automotive ferry returning to Door County port

Picture credit score: James.Pintar / Shutterstock.com

Getting Round Door County

On land, no true public transportation serves Door County and its many rural communities. It’s essential to drive between the cities due to the space between them (or take a Segway or trolley tour, as famous under). Some ridesharing choices could also be accessible all through the county.

Automotive Ferry To Washington Island

The Washington Island Ferry line makes as much as 25 spherical journeys from Northport to Washington Island day by day. The 30-minute ferry trip is an distinctive alternative to {photograph} Plum, Pilot, and Detroit islands and expertise the autumn colours on these small islands.

Ferry To Rock Island

Rock Island is the right vacation spot to camp among the many fall foliage, making it a really distinctive expertise. A passenger-only ferry runs from Washington Island to Rock Island day by day. No autos or bicycles are allowed.


A Segway tour of Washington Island with Segway the Door Excursions provides a singular alternative to see the autumn foliage up shut. I joined our information and two different visitors at Washington Island Ferry dock the place we had thorough Segway coaching earlier than boarding the ferry. 

We had good climate, albeit just a little chilly, using a Segway amongst the timber and exploring the island. 

Professional Tip: Costume in layers for the ferry trip and using a Segway on the island.

Door County Trolley

You may spend one of the best journey {dollars} with Door County Trolley, situated in Egg Harbor on the primary street. You gained’t solely get an summary of Door County on a narrated scenic tour, however additionally, you will have the ability to benefit from the riotous colours of the autumn foliage with out driving and preventing the elevated visitors of leaf peepers.

The narrated scenic tour is 1.5 hours and is the right place to start out your fall foliage tour. Top-of-the-line stops is Peninsula State Park. With temporary stops at bluff overlooks and viewing the Eagle Tower, you’ll get your bearings for an extended go to by yourself.

The guides at Door County Trolley are devoted specialists on all issues DC and are entertaining in addition. The trolleys are clear with an environment friendly system for boarding and seating. Whereas they provide a number of excursions, the narrated scenic tour must be your first. In addition they do a lighthouse tour that features Cana Island Lighthouse.

Closing Ideas

Door County boasts a few of the Midwest’s finest fall coloration foliage. The largest festivals are available in October, together with the leaf peepers, and that’s apple harvest season, too. Whereas summer time crowds begin to skinny out within the fall, weekends are busier than weekdays. 

Right here’s an article to get your Door County go to began.