Quick fall color road trips from West Bend
It’s easy to find fall color when you’re in West Bend—several of southeast Wisconsin’s most scenic sights are just a short drive away. Here’s a look at three you shouldn’t miss.
Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit
Stretching northeast from West Bend, the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest spans 22 miles, all the way to the village of Glenbeulah in Sheboygan. It’s home to three campgrounds and several hiking and biking trails; there are even equestrian trails and an associated horseriders’ campground. Hikers can find beautiful scenery on the forest with trails ranging from 2 miles to 13.5 miles. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail travels for 31 miles through the length of the forest. The forest is open from 6am to 11pm daily, and a Wisconsin State Parks vehicle admission sticker is required for all visitors.
An associated attraction you shouldn’t miss is the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. The entire drive covers 115 miles and stretches through six counties, but you can follow part of the route through the entirety of the Northern Unit. Learn more here.
Getting there: There are parking lots and visitor centers spread throughout the entirety of the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine; the closest to West Bend are located on County Highway H and Highway 28 (off of U.S. Highway 45) and at the New Fane Trail Area. See maps of the forest here.
Lac Lawrann Conservancy
Lac Lawrann Conservancy is a 145-acre nature preserve (with the connected Royal Oaks Park adding another 25 acres) that’s home to more than 200 species of birds, 300 species of plants and a wide variety of other animal life. It also boasts a vast expanse of wetlands and native hardwood forest, so it’s a great place to take in the fall color. There are more than four miles of trails to explore, including the Lake Loop, Railroad Spur, Esker, Northern Wetland, Pine Plantation and Prairie Trails.
Getting there: Lac Lawrann Conservancy is located in the heart of West Bend at 300 Schmidt Road.
Rustic Road 33 and Rustic Road 52
Washington County is home to two of the state’s designated Rustic Roads—county highways that are selected for their serenity and scenic beauty—and these routes are particularly pretty in fall. Rustic Road 52 sits on the border of Washington and Ozaukee counties, just a 10-mile drive from downtown West Bend. This scenic road runs through one of the highest points in Washington County and offers great panoramic views of the wooded countryside. Rustic Road 52’s short 6.7-mile route also passes several historical buildings and farmsteads, as well as the Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area.
Getting there: Head east on Highway 33 for about 15 minutes to County Highway Y on the Washington County/Ozaukee County border. Head south on County Y to Knollwood Drive to start the route.
Rustic Road 33 is located about 30 minutes from downtown West Bend. This 12-mile route winds through the hilly country of southeastern Wisconsin, passing through farm fields and past Lowe Lake, also offering a view of the towering church spires of Holy Hill seminary.
Getting there: From West Bend, head west on Highway 33 to U.S. Highway 45, then take Highway 45 south for 12 miles to Highway 167. Take Highway 167 west to St. Augustine Road (the Rustic Road includes St. Augustine Road and several connected roadways).
Need to fill up after your West Bend fall color tour? Explore our wonderful restaurants. Looking for a place to stay? West Bend is home to welcoming motels, hotels and B&Bs that are here to serve you.