Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive

The Fall colors were beautiful in Wisconsin last year, and it looks like they may be good again this year, although maybe a week or two behind last year.  I did this drive the first week of October 2012. You can find the Kettle Moraine scenic drive on line along with the fall color report and put the two together to decide when to go.  Because we don't live very close to either end of the 115 mile drive, I decided to take the interstate to the northern point, near Elkhart Lake, and drive down through the forest as far as we could get before I had to go pick up my son from school.  I used my GPS to set my home address and that's a convenience I'm starting to love.  With every turn we made, it showed me exactly how long it would take me to get home so we could just enjoy the drive.  There were not so many cars on the road with us, but lots of motorcycles.  At every place we stopped it was mostly the same people you see all day.  If you do this scenic drive this weekend or next, expect more traffic and potentially peak color.

The first stop was Wade House.  You can print out written directions for the tour, but the roads are well marked with signs so you won't need them unless you get lost.  We stopped at Greenbush picnic area and had lunch.  There aren't a lot of places to buy food or water, so it's a good idea to bring your own along.  You will also need a sticker or day permit for using the state park.  You can buy them at the parks along the way in a self pay box.  You can hike the trails all through the park, and Greenbush has several that start there.  From there we drove to the Greenbush Kettle- a big hole left behind from a glacier.  The big challenge was climbing to the top of Parnell Tower.  Don't miss it if you enjoy views of the region.  There was a lengthy trail of steps to get to the tower and then of course you have to climb to the top.   I was huffing and puffing.  Of course there were senior citizens on the top that weren't breathing hard at all.  I met so many who were trying to visit every state park and did lots of hiking.  It's a wonderful way to enjoy your retirement!

Greenbush Picnic Area
Parnell Tower
hiking trail near Parnell Tower

Greenbush Kettle

view from the top

and another view from the top- Gorgeous carpet of color!
After the tower, there were several lakes (Butler, Long, and Mauthe) with nice views.  If you enjoy churches, there are some pretty country churches.  One was covered in vines that were turning purple.  We stopped at the General Store at Mauthe Lake for an ice cream.  They also had everything you might need for fishing and you could even rent canoes.  It wasn't too far past that point that we turned off and headed for home.  Great drive for anyone wanting to get out of the house and see something this fall!

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