4 Must-See Places for Fall Color Viewing
Fall trees with hues of orange, red and yellow will be at their peak in Waukesha Pewaukee in October. Take in the beauty of fall at these four local places that offer stellar vantage points to view autumn colors close by our area.
Holy Hill is a religious shrine with a breathtaking church built atop of a glacial hill (elevation 1,300 feet). Located in Hubertus, it is just 30 minutes from Waukesha Pewaukee. Every year, more than 500,000 people from all over the world visit the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians at Holy Hill.
At Holy Hill you can admire the beautiful architecture of the neo-Romanesque church built in 1926 and the amazing views from inside the tower.
Consider these things when planning an outing to Holy Hill to view fall colors:
- The Holy Hill Scenic Tower stretches 192 feet from its base to the tip of its spire. You can climb the 178 stairs to get almost to the top of the spire and once you are there, you won’t believe the view.
- The tower is not always open because there are sections that are exposed to the outdoors. When there is threatening weather like gusty winds, rain, fog, lightning, frost or snow, it is closed to the public. Be sure to pick a beautiful fall day to make your trek.
- Hours: Open daily through Oct. 31 (weather permitting) Sunday: 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Monday – Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Admission: Free, however donations are gratefully accepted to help defray costs for maintenance and repair.
- Holy Hill is located off of Hwy 167/Holy Hill Road in Hubertus, just 30 minutes from Waukesha Pewaukee
Lapham Peak State Park
Lapham Peak State Park offers more than 21miles of trails to explore with rolling hills, natural trails and glaciated terrain. Plus, you can climb the 45–foot observation tower to see a breathtaking panoramic view of Waukesha County and beyond. From atop the tower, you are 1,233 feet above sea level (the highest point in Waukesha County).
Consider these things when planning an outing to Lapham Peak State Park to view fall colors:
- A portion of the Lapham Peak State Park is along the Ice Age Trail, one of only eight national scenic trails in the U.S.
- If you like to mountain bike, you’ll enjoy winding through the wooded hills and open meadows of Lapham Peak. Easily accessible from the 115 mile Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, turn off the drive for a five mile trek through the park.
- Hours: Lapham Peak State Park is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is located one mile south of I-94 near Delafield, on County Highway C.
- Admission: A $7 vehicle admission sticker is required, or enjoy the trails for a $5 hourly fee or a $25 annual fee that can be used at all state parks.
- Lapham Peak State Park is located off of County Hwy C in Delafield.
- You can find maps for Lapham Peak State Park here.
Minooka Park is the largest park in the Waukesha County Park system with 578 acres to explore. You will find six miles of groomed hiking trails along wooded paths and several large hills that offer great views. Dog owners will love the dog exercise area. If you like to fish there is even a pond for fishing in the park.
Consider these things when planning an outing to Minooka Park to view fall colors:
- If you plan to fish, bring your fishing pole and a fishing license. Waukesha County Parks encourages the catch and release of fish.
- Park hours: Sunrise to 10 p.m.
- Park entrance fees are $4 per day or you can purchase an annual sticker.
- Minooka Park is located approximately two miles southeast of the City of Waukesha at the corner of Racine Avenue and Sunset Drive.
- View a map of Minooka Park trails here.
Retzer Nature Center
Retzer Nature Center offers 450 acres of prairie, forest, wildlife habitat, nature trails and an environmental learning center, as well as a planetarium for you to explore. There are several trails that lead to high vantage points and many are in full fall color.
Consider these things when planning an outing to Retzer Nature Center to view fall colors:
- Retzer offers family-friendly events like Howl-a-Ween, family adventure hikes, workshops and more.
- Park Hours: Environmental Learning Center Hours: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Retzer Nature Center Ground Hours: Sunrise to 10 p.m. (Year-Round)
- The Planetarium is open for specific times and shows. Check here for times.
- There is no daily entrance fee at Retzer Nature Center
- View a map of Retzer Nature Center here.
- Retzer Nature Center is located off of Meadowbrook Road, (Hwy T) and Madison Street in Waukesha