Long known as a summer destination, Wisconsin Dells is becoming increasingly popular with fall road-trippers, as well – particularly those looking for socially distanced outdoor activities. Nestled in between two unique geologic regions – the Driftless Region and the Dells of the Wisconsin River – the Wisconsin Dells area has no shortage of outdoor options.
Road trippers looking to hit the links will find six courses in the Wisconsin Dells area. Two of them are championship-level tracks: Trapper’s Turn Golf Club, a Wisconsin State Open site and Wild Rock Golf Club at the Wilderness, a U.S. Open regional qualifying site. Also of note are the Cold Water Canyon Golf Course at Chula Vista Resort and the unique Fairfield Hills course near Ho-Chunk Casino. Voted Wisconsin’s “9-Hole Course of the Year,” Fairfield guests can play to play 3, 9, 12, or 18-holes, based on the amount of time allotted and challenge desired.
Hiking and Paddling
The area’s namesake river dells topography is marked by stunning Cambrian sandstone gorges, bluffs, and canyons. It can be seen from kayaks, canoes, and hiking trails in the Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area. The Upper Dells Boat Tour is another great option for viewing the dells, and runs through early November.
There are also three state parks in the vicinity—Devil’s Lake, Mirror Lake, and Rocky Arbor. The 369-acre Devil’s Lake is ideal for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and fishing. The surrounding Devil’s Lake State Park features 29 miles of hiking trails and 100 foot+ rock faces that the Mountain Project calls “the Midwest’s best climbing destination.” Mirror Lake State Park is another scenic hiking destination, offering 19 miles of trails and mountain bike routes, along with a 139-acre lake for paddlers to enjoy.
Bicyclists are also drawn to the Wisconsin Dells area. In addition to fall color hiking and scenic photo opportunities, the state parks offer a variety of paved and/or groomed trails for cyclists. The newly minted Great Sauk Trail travels through Sauk City and Prairie du Sac along the Wisconsin River, and includes views of the Baraboo Hills around Devil’s Lake.
Off-road types will want to take advantage of the many rugged single-track options nearby, while road cyclists can explore the hilly byways of Wisconsin’s so-called Driftless Region which—unlike the rest of the Midwest—was never flattened by receding glaciers.
In nearby Rock Springs, Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue & Education Center continues its mission of providing a safe and comfortable home for abused and neglected “big cats”, such as cougars, bobcats, lions, tigers, and panthers. With the addition of two rental cabins on property, guests can book an overnight experience to see the big cats up-close, including a morning feeding tour.
Wineries and Breweries
Five wineries and three breweries are spread across the Wisconsin Dells area map. The state’s oldest and largest winery, Wollersheim Winery & Distillery, is comprised of 27 acres of French-American hybrid grapes on the scenic hillsides of the Wisconsin River. One of the state’s newest wineries, Balanced Rock Winery, celebrated its first full season this summer on the doorstep of Devil’s Lake State Park. Nearby, Tumbled Rock Brewery serves up craft beer in an indoor/outdoor space complete with a firepit and outdoor games. The 2 acre brewery and restaurant combination is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts after a full day of hiking, biking, or exploring. For those who’d like to sample many stops, several Trolley Tours are available for both winery and brewery visits.
For more information on all fall travel experiences in Wisconsin Dells, visit www.wisdells.com