Fall Colors Oct. 11 – 16th

Fall Colors Oct. 11 – 16th

This coming weekend probably won’t provide “peak” colors here in the Baraboo Hills, but it will provide pretty darn great colors… IF the weather plays nice!

So.., I always give you these reports a few days before the weekend because most of us have to plan ahead a bit before we make our big escape. Besides, right now, I can assume the colors will be slightly better by the weekend than what I tell you today. I think that’s the old Star Trek “Scotty” rule, understate everything!  So let’s get to it!

North Shore Entrance Road is Mostly Green

North Shore Entrance Road is Mostly Green

For most of you, the questions are about Devil’s Lake. Right now the north shore entrance road is just starting to change. In the north shore picnic area, you’ll see nice blasts of color here and there but just standing back and looking at the bluffs, won’t provide much joy.  My recommendation is hiking the East Bluff Woods Trail this weekend, you’ll be in for a colorful treat. It’s pretty nice today and will only get better. It’s a sea of yellows and oranges right now.

Driving south shore road from the north end earns about a C grade at the moment. A smattering of nice colors at the beginning and dotted throughout. The curvey, snake road is gaining color but not at it’s best yet. Same goes for the rest of South Shore Road all the way out to Hwy 113. The south shore picnic area has some brightly colored maples, especially around the playground area.

East Bluff Woods Trail

East Bluff Woods Trail

Looking at the Baraboo Hills as a part of the general landscape, the bluffs are turning fast on the north faces but not in a particularly colorful way. This is probably the one place where the “muted” thing you’ve been hearing about actually fits. If you stand back and look at the bluffs from a distance, yeah, muted. On the other hand, once you get up and drive around within the bluffs, there are lots of nice colors along our country roads. The point is, don’t go for sweeping vistas of color this weekend, get up close and intimate, that’s where the joy is!

Right now we’re hearing a lot of folks saying peak colors will be around Saturday, Oct. 21st. I’ll go along with that, albeit with a big proviso; This is not feeling like a “peak” sort of year. You really need that frosty cold snap to get everything going at once. If we get a lot of rain over the weekend as predicted, we could lose as much color as we gain with what the rain knocks down. A warm up next week could keep things slower as well. I think there is a good chance we’ll just be swapping out this weeks color for next weeks and not so much adding more. We’ll see. One good thing is that we’re still waiting on those oak trees and they tend to bring some of the deepest reds and purples to the landscape.

Near the old Highway 12

Near the old Highway 12 west of the park.

If you do decide to come to Devil’s Lake State Park this weekend (Oct 13,14,15) you’ll have a pretty good chance at a campsite as the park has opened up the Lower Ice Age Campground for walk-ins. You will want to note as well that the Balanced Rock Trail will be closed this weekend as volunteers from climbing groups and the Ice Age Trail will be working on some much-needed repairs.

For tomorrow’s blog, we’ll talk about events and activities coming up this weekend to keep you busy when you’re not checking out the colors!

Here are a few more pictures from this week at the park…

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  1. Li

    Thank you for posting.I was planning to go there this Weekend, but I will changed my plan because it looks like not the best time to see the leaves colorful. Is it good on October 28&29 weekend? Thank you


    1. Author

      Yeah, it looks like the weather will be good Sunday, but not Saturday this weekend. It sounds like next weekend (around the 21st) will be great. It’s hard to guess for Oct. 28-29. I would expect we’ll be past peak with a bit of color here and there but that should be about it. But at this point, I can’t be sure.

      1. Gregg

        The color change has really slowed due to the warm temps we are having. There should be some good color yet the last weekend in October, if we continue with these summer temps and humid days. Everything is still quite green yet in the Fox River Valley area. We are only about 35% change and that is a lot further north then Devil’s Lake. Far northern Wisconsin is just at peak now, so the color change is really slow this year.

  2. Gregg

    The colors are not going to be as brilliant this year because of the very warm and humid days we have been having in September. I was up in Vilas County in northern Wisconsin last weekend when it was peak and it was beautiful, but the colors are a bit dull this year because of the warm temps. I had to brighten the colors on my pictures with photo editing software. haha

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