We were recently asked what is the best way to view the fall colors from the Inn at Wawanissee Point bed and breakfast www.bestviewinwisconsin.com in Baraboo, Wis. While hiking, hiking, paddling or from the deck? Which is your favorite?
We said from anywhere on the Inn’s 42-acre estate. Nestled atop the Baraboo Range, 800 feet above the Wisconsin River and Lake Wisconsin valley, our 36-mile, panoramic southern view is unrivaled during fall.
You can replenish while forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku) through our labyrinth of leaf-blanketed, wooded trails dotted with benches. One trail meanders along the babbling stream where Wawanissee Point borders Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area.
The Glen’s trailhead is a two-minute drive below the Inn, and is connected by the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to the 1,900-acre Merrimac Preserve of forest, prairie, savanna, wetlands and streams laced with 12.7 miles of trails. The Ice Age trail connects the Preserve and Parfrey’s Glen to the adjoining 10,000-acre Devil’s Lake State Park, within which are four state natural areas.
A 20-minute drive southeast with a ride on the Merrimac Ferry across Lake Wisconsin let’s you hike a nicely surfaced, winding path through the woods in the Gibraltar Rock State National Area. From atop this 200-foot sandstone butte, 1,234 feet above sea level, you’re rewarded with more stunning, panoramic views, to the north across Lake Wisconsin looking at Wawanissee Point, and south and east toward Lodi across miles of picturesque farmland.
This geologic wonder commonly called the Baraboo Bluffs or Baraboo Hills is an ancient rock outcropping of Baraboo quartzite spanning 25 miles, topped by 55,000 acres of upland, mostly unfragmented mixed hardwood forest—the largest tract of its kind remaining in the upper Midwest.
From the Inn in the Baraboo Hills you’re immersed in a mixed hardwood forest of predominantly oak, maple, basswood and hickory, with some cherry, birch, aspen, hemlock and white pine.
The forest edges and understory offer ironwood, viburnum, dogwoods, sumac and willow. From here you’ll see autumn’s full, vivid palette of yellow, orange, gold, crimson, and later a range of warm, earthy browns like russet, burnt umber and beaver accented by the native evergreen and the cerulean sky.
If you don’t see your desired date available, call us, we sometimes have last-minute cancellations.
Photos by Tim Abraham Photography www.timabrahamphotography.com.