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Things to Do in Wisconsin Dells in October

Apples from Swiss Maid Fudge in Wisconsin Dells.

Wisconsin Dells in October

Ahhh, October, when fall colors peak, downtown events delight travelers, and treats just taste sweeter than any other time of year. Here’s the ultimate Wisconsin Dells October planning checklist.

Picture this: a blaze of fall colors, a cornucopia of autumn activities, and a selection of yummy seasonal flavors. That, in a nutshell, is the answer to the question, what to do in Wisconsin Dells in October?   

Now for all the details, laid out by category.

A child with a pumpkin at Mid-Continent Railway Museum.

Leaf-Peeping and Pumpkin-Picking:

  • A fall train ride provides all the makings for a marvelous seasonal tradition. At Mid-Continent Railway Museum, you’ll experience the Golden Years of railroading through an outdoor living museum. Their Autumn Color Weekend, Oct. 8-9, lets you do some leaf-peeping in style aboard a historic former Chicago & North Western rail line. The following weekend, Oct. 15-16, they have their Pumpkin Special rides, with a midway stop at Quartzite Lake for kids to hop off the train to select a pumpkin. Another train option, while small in stature, also provides big, beautiful views of fall colors. It’s the Riverside & Great Northern Railway, a 15-inch gauge railroad living museum celebrating 75 years this year. Their pumpkin trains run every Saturday and Sunday through October, with this mini steam train traveling along a scenic three-mile roadbed. Fun fact: It’s turned by hand on a turntable at the halfway mark.
  • You can’t get much closer to the leaves, short of raking them that is, than with horseback riding through the woods, and there are three stables in the area: Woodside Ranch, Red Ridge Ranch, and Canyon Creek. There’s also Lost Canyon Tours, a quaint horse-drawn wagon ride through a magnificent mile of cliff-walled gorges. 
  • Here’s a must for Wisconsin Dells in October: Country Bumpkin Farm Market. The corn maze is sized right for families, and they even have trivia to make it extra fun and to help you find your way through. When you emerge, reward yourself with treats from the market – pumpkins for the kids, mum plants for mum and dad, and apples smothered in caramel and dipped in peanuts to share. Allow time for the kids to pet the animals at the petting farm too. Ask about their fall special which includes admission to the maze, petting farm, and a ride on their cute tractor-pulled train ride around their 30-acre produce farm.

A path at Mirror Lake State Park.

  • Mother Nature offers no guarantees so, rather than leaving your leaf-peeping luck to chance, get exact in your trip planning by following the Fall Color Report from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, with their Wisconsin Fall Color Report. The report is updated regularly by local Fall Color Reporters and provides the estimated week of peak colors, descriptions of the color’s progress, and weather forecasts. 
  • The staff at the Wisconsin Dells Welcome Center is another terrific resource for up-to-the-minute updates on the march of fall color in the region. Don’t miss a single bright yellow birch, ochre-tinged oak, or majestic scarlet maple when you call 800-223-3557.

Wisconsin Dells October Outdoor Recreation:

  • Pack your hiking shoes and head to the nearby state parks – Mirror Lake, Devil’s Lake, Rocky Arbor, and Roche-A-Cri. Stroll the Scenic River Walk downtown with stunning vistas of the Wisconsin River and towering trees decked out in their finest fall colors. Be sure to walk through the new open-air photography gallery at the start of the river walk – it features portraits of locals whose connections to the river run deep, all photographed by Wisconsin Dells native Joseph Leute.
  • Now’s the time to get in as much golf as you can. Golfers looking for a challenge will find it at Wild Rock, Cold Water Canyon, and Trappers Turn. The views are especially gorgeous this time of year.
  • For an exhilarating take on leaf peeping, soar above the tree canopy at Chimney Rock Park with tours from Vertical Illusions Zip Line.

Seasonal Flavors:

A man at Dells On Tap in Wisconsin Dells.

Wisconsin Dells October Events:

  • Dells Craft Beer Walk, Oct. 14: Back for a seventh year, attendees sample artisan brews while strolling the downtown district, with the colors of the various beers – red, amber, and yellow – complemented by the shades of fall leaves. 
  • Dells on Tap, Oct. 15: The state’s proud brewing heritage is immensely evident at this popular beer-tasting event, where you can chat with the brewmasters while sampling their signature brews.

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