Fall Colors in Wisconsin

fall in madisonFall is here and Wisconsin is the perfect place to live to see the beautiful colors of Fall. According to the TravelWisconsin.com website, Madison is currently at 15% Fall color, where Fon du Lac is showing about 65% color! The estimated week of peak color in Madison this year is the 4th week of October, so it’ll be here soon enough. We’re sharing some information on Fall and where to go to see the best Fall colors during the peak!

You can sign up for the Fall Color Report on the TravelWisconsin website.

What Makes the Leaves Change Color

The temperature plays a big role in the color of leaves (as well as when the leaves fall) but that’s not the only thing. According to dnr.wi.gov, “trees respond to the decreasing amount of sunlight by producing less and less chlorophyll. Eventually, a tree stops producing chlorophyll. When that happens, the carotenoid already in the leaves can finally show through. The leaves become a bright rainbow of glowing yellows, sparkling oranges and warm browns.”

The red color is where the weather becomes a big factor. Leaves produce sugar during the warmer daytime temps, but when the nights are cooler, the sugar is not able to flow through the leaves properly, causing it to change into the beautiful red colors. According to dnr.wi.gov it is due to Anthocyanins. “Researchers have found out that anthocyanins are produced as a form of protection. They allow the plant to recover nutrients in the leaves before they fall off. This helps make sure that the tree will be ready for the next growing season. Anthocyanins give leaves their bright, brilliant shades of red, purple and crimson.”

Bet you didn’t know all of that about leaves, did you?

Colors of Fall Leaves Based on the Tree

Birch: bright yellow.
Black maple: glowing yellow.
Dogwood: purple-red.
Hickory Tree: golden bronze.
Maple Tree: range of colors.
Oak Tree: red, brown or russet.
Poplar: golden yellow.
Red maple: bright scarlet.
Sugar Maple Tree: orange-red.

fall in madison capitol building madison

Where to Find the Best Fall Colors in Madison

Most large parks will have the best tree coverage to see all of the fall colors. We’ve put together a list of a few places that are sure to have great Fall colors in and around the Madison area.

Around the Madison Capitol Building – the reds really come out in the Fall (photo above from Fall 2016)

Governor Nelson State Park

UW Madison Arboretum – 1200 acres with a Lake view- you’re sure to have the perfect view of Fall colors.

Capital Springs State Park and Recreation Area

Do you have any suggestions for the best spots to see peak Fall colors in Madison? Let us know below! Happy Fall Y’all!

See our past Fall post: Fall in Madison: What We Love


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