If you live in Madison, WI and want to get out and see the beautiful fall foliage this autumn – but don’t want to travel very far, then this list is for you! We are lucky to live in such a beautiful area of Wisconsin with all the lakes and forests. No doubt it’s beautiful year round but fall is another level of beauty.
This list is family/kid friendly. Most are stroller friendly (but some will require either baby wearing or kids who are able to walk on their own).
1. Indian Lake County Park
Indian Lake County Park is one of the largest parks in Dane County, making it a popular destination. With 500+ acres, there’s no shortage of adventures here. There’s a playground at the main entrance with a large shelter and a bathroom. You can walk through the wooded trails or the prairie trails. Be sure to go up the stairs through the Oak Savanna habitat. At the top you’ll find a beautiful chapel and a breathtaking overlook of the lake and surrounding forest.
8183 State Highway 19 – Cross Plains, WI
Go, See, Explore: Indian Lake County Park
2. CamRock County Park
CamRock is mainly used for mountain biking, as most of its trails are designed for that. The trails range in difficulty from beginners to experts, making it the perfect place for any toddlers to get out wiggles if you want to bike through the fall colors instead of walking. But if you only want to walk, there is a main path that stretches between the 3 different shelters with bathrooms at each and follows the Koshkonong Creek. It goes through woods & prairies, with playgrounds at each shelter. Shelter 2 is our favorite where there’s a natural playground for kids to explore. There are also other hiking trails throughout the 422 acre park if you don’t want to follow the gravel path.
68 Co Hwy B, Cambridge, WI
3. Upper Yahara River Trail
This is a great place to take the stroller. The path is a mix of asphalt and boardwalks and at points follows the Yahara River with spots where you can get in the water. This trail goes through multiple different hardwood forests, making it a perfect fall destination. Little kids will love all the wildlife they see on this trail from song birds, turkeys, deer and more. You can start at the beginning trailhead or jump in at other sections, making it easy to make this walk as long or as short as you want.
Windsor Rd, DeForest, WI
4. UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve
Our favorite hike here is Picnic Point, but there are many trails through the woods and along Lake Mendota here. This is a mostly hardwood forest so it’s especially beautiful in the fall. Few viewpoints in Madison beat fall foliage over Lake Mendota overlooking the capitol. The main paths are stroller friendly with a few trails that cut in between the trails that are a little more root covered and would be best for kids who are already walking or if you were baby wearing.
2000 University Bay Dr, Madison, WI
5. Token Creek County Park
This park is home to 427 acres of hiking trails, camping, disc golf courses, equestrian trails and more. There’s an off leash dog park as well as a few playgrounds scattered throughout the park making it a favorite for many families. Located near the entrance is a beautiful newly remodeled boardwalk that follows the creek. Take a picnic here and enjoy the fall colors on one of the many trails.
6200 Williamsburg Way, DeForest, WI
6. UW-Madison Arboretum
Last but not least, is there a better place to see fall colors than an actual Arboretum? Madison’s Arboretum is full of beautiful trees and home to over a thousand different plant and animal species, so you’re bound to find something fun while on your hike. Not to mention, there are over 17 miles of trails to hike and explore.
1207 Seminole Hwy, Madison, WI