“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” L.M. Montgomery
It’s that time of year again, folks! We are in the prime time of fall foliage here in Madison. Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons in Wisconsin, and while we have have a short time to take in the enchanting scenery, it just makes it that more special for the people who live here and out-of-towners who travel just to see the beautiful changing leaves and rustic features our city has to offer every autumn.
We put together a list of the best spots in Madison to see fall foliage this year. Enjoy!
The UW Arboretum is a true treasure for the Madison community. The 1,260 acres of land is a teaching and research facility of the University of Wisconsin and home to more than 300 species of native plants, forests, wetlands, prairies and wildlife. The Arboretum has something for everyone, whether you like to bike, hike, ski, snowshoe or enjoy scenic drives. The facility includes 20 miles of hiking trails, 3 miles of biking roads, and 10 miles of ski/snowshoe routes, all offering fantastic views of fall foliage in the month of October.
Tenney park is one of Madison’s most historic parks and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The park offers storybook scenery from its famous bridges and lagoon, to its beautiful landscape and shrubbery with breathtaking fall colors all around. The 37-acre lakeside park also features a playground, boat launch, tennis/pickle ball courts and more.
Picnic Point is a very popular area for Madisonians of all ages. The mile-long peninsula sits along Lake Mendota’s south shore with a gorgeous view of the lake and forestry that resides there. Along the main trail, there are six reservable fire circles for visitors to sit beside a warm fire and enjoy each other’s company – a perfect fall activity! At the very tip of the peninsula is a great view of the Wisconsin State Capitol and downtown Madison area.
The Madison downtown skyline view from Olin Park is nothing short of spectacular. Along with gorgeous fall colors, the park offers lake access, playground equipment, beach, soccer field, bike path, restored historic pavilion, boat landing, and a scenic walking path. The park dresses up for every occasion, whether it’s beautiful colors of orange, yellow and green in the prime or fall or cheery Christmas lights in late December, the park is always a sight to see.
Cherokee marsh, the largest wetland in Dane County, serves the community in many different ways. The marsh is a total of 2,000 acres of low prairies and wetlands and acts as a living sponge as it is strategically placed at the head of Madison’s lakes. It filters upland runoff, using excess fertilizer to grow marsh plants, and slowly releasing cleaner water to the lakes below. The area is used by thousands of students each year for environmental education. Visitors can experience the fall magic on the many walking trails and boardwalks the area has to offer.