Best Places to See Fall Colors in Milwaukee

Crimson, gold, rose, cinnamon, orange, rust, and yellow. Just looking at the names of these colors makes the Krause family think of fall: cooler nights, sunny days, cozy sweaters, and the smell of burning leaves are enough to get us all in the mood for an outing to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage in and around Milwaukee County.

We all have our favorite spots for hiking, biking and picnicking. Debra McRae, Environmental Educator at Wehr Nature Center within the Milwaukee County Park System tell us, “Our wonderful park system offers unlimited opportunities to enjoy the fall season and the wide variety of tree types that offer up such beautiful colors…our founding (park system) fathers planned these nature preserves carefully so all our parks and greenways are connected by trails, roadways, and waterfronts.” She offers these top spots for scouting out the prettiest fall foliage:

  • Oak Leaf Trail: One of the most popular trails within our county’s park system, this trail features 118 miles of multiple loops through all the major parkways and parks in the system, including stretches of heavily wooded areas populated with glorious red and yellow maples, red sumac, and hickory trees. Because many parts of this trail are paved, it is ideal for walkers and hikers who prefer more level surfaces or who need wheelchair accessibility.
  • Waterfront Park System: Pick up your paddle this fall to access some of the most beautiful color in the area. Start downtown at Waterfront and Bruce Streets in Milwaukee or access a put-in at Riverside Park near the Ecology Center or Milwaukee’s Lincoln Park Fishing Pier. Launch your canoe, kayak, or fishing boat into the river system to view the beautiful greenery and colors that line the banks along the river and lakefronts. Woodland maples, ash, sumac, and oak are among the showstoppers here.
  • Greenfield Park: Located at 2028 S. 124 St. West Allis, WI, Greenfield Park is a favorite for hikers and drivers alike. Featuring a beautiful lagoon and pavilion, this park is a top choice for packing a picnic lunch and taking in the glory of the autumn season. If you are planning a family outing or hosting guests from a distance, Greenfield offers the option to reserve the pavilion and grounds for your friends and family for the day.
  • Whitnall Park: Offering over 200 acres of preserved nature areas and sanctuary to a host of Wisconsin wildlife, Whitnall Park provides multiple ways to take in the colors of the season. Gnarled, corky-barked Bur Oaks are commonly scattered throughout the Oak Savanna Loop. Especially beautiful in fall, the Woodland Trail Loop features sugar maple, old oaks and hickories. Says McRae, “It’s important to consider the incredible fall color on display beyond the trees. Goldenrod, sunflower, aster, and beautiful prairie grasses contribute to the beauty throughout the park system (on all the trails and walkways).”

With such an abundance of trees, flowers, and grasses, bird lovers will revel in visits from ring-necked pheasants, indigo buntings and goldfinches, while animal lovers may be surprised by visits from other migrating wildlife.

For more information or to view trail or park maps in detail visit: Milwaukee County Parks and Extension Services

No matter where you decide to take in the fall colors, pack your camera and those you love and hit the road, water, or trail this autumn season! And be sure to connect with us on Facebook and share your favorite photos from your adventures.

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