Hit The Road: Colorful Autumn Adventures Abound in the Tri-States
Fall leaf color season has progressed quite nicely throughout the Tri-States, and peak viewing is the week between Saturday, October 8 to Saturday, October 15.
Stretch a little further beyond Dubuque and discover that the fall color in the area known as the Driftless region is as superb and magical as anywhere throughout North America. The bluffs are on the verge of bursting with orange, red, yellow, and splashes.
The Great River Road stretching north and south is a spectacular gateway and fun adventure regardless of the direction one chooses to go or which side of the river you're on.
Fall colors appear more vibrant this year due to the recent crisp autumn weather. So the hillsides and bluffs along the Mississippi River are colorful with sugar maples.
Autumn Adventures Abound Along the Great River Road
The yellow leaves are primarily cottonwood, hackberry, elm, basswood, and walnut trees. Red and orange are the Virginia creeper and sumac.
The limestone bluffs make the region unique, and there are few places better to see autumn colors. In addition, several local and state parks provide magnificent viewing opportunities.
In and around Dubuque, there are The Mines of Spain, Eagle Point Park, Murphy Park, Heritage Trail, Swiss Valley Nature Preserve, The Arboretum & Botanical Garden, Heritage Trail, and the River Walk at the Port of Dubuque.
A drive South on Highway 52 is enjoyable, with stunning scenery through St. Donatus to Bellevue State Park.
Similarly, traveling north to Durango and Rickardsville or Sherrill to Balltown and Guttenberg, where the overlooks are always stunning. Likewise, going further north to Pikes Peak and McGregor is always a colorful & scenic adventure.
And there is no shortage of unique restaurants, cafes, and bars to enjoy delicious food and beverages. For example, visit the Gehlen House & Barn in St. Donatus - Iowa's Oldest Barn is now a perfect tap house with live music & food. Breitbach's Country Dining in Balltown has been Iowa's Oldest Bar and Restaurant est.1852.
The Wisconsin side offers similar scenery and places to experience. Consider making it a loop day trip crossing the Mississippi at Prarie Du Chein. Or perhaps take the Cassville Ferry for a shorter, fun way to get across the river while experiencing spectacular scenery.
Additionally, traveling the backroads around Jo Daviess County, Galena, and Apple River offer rolling hills, streams, and valleys to explore.
Villages with quirky hidden gems like Council Hill Station, Galena Cellars, and the General Store at New Diggins often provide live music, good food, and friendly people.
Whatever direction or road you choose, it's sure to be a colorful adventure. Enjoy the weekend!