Fall Foliage Walks
Tucked in a peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan, Door County is to the upper Midwest what the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont are to New England—an oasis of rustic peace and tranquillity, complete with country shops selling local cheese and maple syrup.
The peninsula has two distinct characters: the friendly, bustling bayside (complete with bumper-to-bumper weekend traffic and a definite shortage of parking places), and the wilder, more solitary lakeside, which faces Lake Michigan's mercurial moods head on. Five state parks give you a choice of walking trails.
Perhaps most notable of all is Newport State Park, perched on the peninsula's far northern side, facing the lake. Newport State Park boasts 11 miles of undeveloped shoreline, 38 miles of hiking trails, and nearly 2,400 acres of wilderness.
Try the seven-mile Europe Bay/Hotz Loop, which runs through ancient hemlock-covered sand dunes. Hemlocks are evergreen, so you won't see much fall foliage there. Instead, look down to the grasses, which also thrive on the dunes. And don't miss the blueberry bushes with their red foliage and ripe purple berries.
Beach walks after summer crowds are gone; sparkling blue water against orange foliage. And if someone in your family happens to be a football fan, Green Bay is an easy drive away.
For More Information
Newport State Park and Wilderness Area, (920) 854-2500. There are a variety of accommodations up and down the peninsula, including motels, B&Bs, and rental cabins. Peak foliage generally comes to the upper Midwest in mid-September, but the lake's warming effect delays its arrival in Door County by about a week.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication