Eau Claire Fall Color Routes
The Chippewa Valley is the perfect place to visit to surround yourself in the colors of fall and experience all the seasonal activities you wait all year to do. Matter of fact, Travel Awaits named Eau Claire and our neighboring city, Chippewa Falls, as places for "the most scenic Wisconsin fall foliage road trip". The third week in October is typically the best time to view the fall colors in our neck of the woods. Before you start the engine to your car, take a look at Travel Wisconsin's Fall Color Report to know when the exact peak time is. Locals are so grateful for the beautiful fall scenes that transform Eau Claire and we want you to experience it all at the best time too. To help guide your trip, we recommend the following routes and picturesque stops throughout our area.
Route to Augusta, WI
As, perhaps, one of the best routes to take each fall from Eau Claire, the drive to Augusta is nothing short of magical. Heading east on Highway 12 from Eau Claire, you can take in endless trees that are filled with orange, red, and gorgeous yellow leaves. On your way to Augusta, be sure to make a pit stop in Fall Creek for charming small-town vibes and outdoor adventure. All year round, you're guaranteed to get stunning views at Big Falls County Park and Beaver Creek Reserve. If there's one place you stop at in Augusta on your fall color road trip, make sure that it's Dell's Mill & Museum. The rustic red museum sits along Dells Millpond and is an absolutely stunning photo opportunity. As a matter of fact, Dell's Mill is one of Wisconsin's most photographed locations! See Dells Mill in all of its glory when the fall leaves are at their peak, and end your fall day trip with a stop at the Wood Shed and Augusta Bakery.
Route to Chippewa Falls, WI
Head north from Eau Claire for the classic, northern Wisconsin colors in Chippewa Falls! With breweries, outdoor adventures, and lakefront restaurants in Chippewa Falls, the fall season is like no other in this neck of the woods. Chippewa Falls is only about 20 minutes from downtown Eau Claire, but there are a few different routes to get there. The quickest option would be heading north on Highway 53 or Business Highway 53. If you're looking for a more country, scenic drive, you can head East on County Road Q out of Eau Claire, and turn left on County Road P until you hit Chippewa Falls. Perhaps, the most scenic route of all, however, may be riding your bike along the Chippewa River State Trail from Eau Claire into downtown Chippewa Falls. Get your fall color fix while trying craft beers at Leinie Lodge, apple picking at orchards in the area, and find more stunning colors exploring Irvine Park!
Route to Durand, WI
Durand, WI, is another destination where your commute will be exploding with fall colors! Take Highway 85 southwest for about 30 miles, and get a glimpse at the agricultural side of the Eau Claire area in the fall season. If you want to kick it up a notch for an even more colorful, country drive, we'd recommend taking a slight detour on "Rustic Road" in Meridean, WI, on Country Road O off of Highway 85. Whether you venture to Durand on the Highway or on Rustic Road, you'll hit intersections with the Chippewa River State Trail which stretches all the way from Eau Claire to Durand. If you're up for a 30-mile bike ride, this may be one of the most beautiful fall rides in the area! Celebrate your completed bike ride journey with a beer at Durand Brewing Company (and don't forget to check off the brewery on your Eau Claire Brew Pass!).
Route to Menomonie, WI
Visit our neighbors in Menomonie, WI, and see fall colors exploding along the way! Your fastest option to get there would be heading west on I-94 and Highway 12. If you stay on I-94 until you come to the north end of Menomonie, you'll have beautiful orange and red leaves, lakes, and rivers right along the road your whole drive. It's truly the perfect fall scene! For those who are looking for a bike path to Menomonie, you can take the Chippewa River State Trail and Red Cedar State Trail through the countryside, and you'll arrive in Menomonie in a little over 2 hours. To complete your fall drive to Menomonie, make a toast at brewery nønic or Lucette Brewing Company for wood-fired pizza!
Route to Mondovi, WI
For another stunning, rural drive in the Chippewa Valley, Mondovi, WI is the perfect destination! From Eau Claire, it's about a 30-minute drive south on Highway 37. On this route, you'll pass farmland, golf courses, and you'll even be right on track to stop for a fish dinner at 4 Mile Restaurant! The hills and valleys of Eau Claire County and Buffalo County will totally steal your heart, especially in all of their fall color glory. Even though the temperatures start to drop in September, you can still experience Burger Night on the Farm at Together Farms. While the burgers are always a hit, it's an even more magical experience when you're surrounded by stunning fall trees at the farm!
Route to Osseo, WI
Do not underestimate the views that come with traveling on I-94, especially those going to Osseo, WI! The drive is about 30 minutes south of Eau Claire and every year, you're guaranteed to see beautiful fall colors on this side of the Chippewa Valley. You can either travel to Osseo on I-94 or on Highway 53, which run parallel to each other to Osseo. By traveling on Highway 53, you're taking more of the country, scenic route where you'll have a chance to make some stops along the way like at AVEnue Orchard, Brackett Bar, Foster's Fireside, and Mcilquham Orchard. Once you've taken in the fall colors along the way, be sure to top off your visit to Osseo with a slice of seasonal, award-winning pie at Norske Nook. For more fall colors in Osseo, we'd recommend getting in 9 holes at the Osseo Golf Club for more stunning views over Lake Martha!
More Scenic Fall Sights in Eau Claire, WI
When it's time to stretch your legs and you feel like exploring by foot, there are several spots throughout Eau Claire and the surrounding areas that offer scenic views worth seeing during the fall. Plus, just driving by and looking through the window does not give the fall scenes found in the Chippewa Valley justice. While you make your way down these roads, pull over and grab your camera to capture Eau Claire transitioning into a whole new season of life.
Mt. Simon is nicknamed "The Top of the World" in Eau Claire because that's exactly how you feel after you've hiked to the top. Needless to say, the view from above the treetops gives you a clear look at all the yellows, oranges, and reds that have consumed the leaves.
UW-Eau Claire prides itself on being known as Wisconsin's most beautiful campus. You can find pretty sights from several angles of campus. When you stand at the top of the hill on upper campus, it feels like you can see all of Eau Claire. Putnam Trail runs through the campus as well and the path is always turned into different shades of yellows and oranges in the fall. There is lots to fall in love with at UWEC (no pun intended).
Say, "Hello" to fall at River Prairie! Between the trail along the Eau Claire River that gets coated with leaves and the hanging lights throughout the area that dim the park when the days get shorter, you get the perfect little fall sanctuary. River Prairie is also home to the annual Ginormous Pumpkin Festival that gets people in that fall mood by late September. No doubts that you'll get your fall color fix here!
No one said that experiencing fall in Eau Claire can only be done by foot or by car. Bike works too! For the people that want to see the colors of fall while pedaling, the Chippewa River State Trail has 30 miles worth of fall foliage for you to gawk at. Plus, the Old Abe State Trail adds another 28 miles if you just can't be-LEAF what you see! If you're looking for a greater biking adventure through the fall colors, check out Electric Bike Rentals at Volume One/The Local Store for electric bike and scooter rentals.
Town of Union Conservancy
There is no view in Eau Claire quite like the one from the Town of Union Conservancy. With a little hike through the woods, you'll find yourself surrounded by warm-colored trees standing above the Chippewa River with leaves falling to the ground around you. Sit back on the bench and soak it all in; time goes by fast and before you know it, the trees will be bare and winter will come knocking on our door.
A hike through Carson Park will give you those fall feels you've been searching for. Bundle up in your coziest boots, sweaters, and scarves because the crisp fall air greets you here. The leaves and pine needles fall to the ground and the sun peaks in between tree branches leaving Carson Park looking like a scene from your favorite fall movie.