City Travel

Autumn Beauty In Unique Places: Wisconsin’s Cranberry Trail

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person holding cranberries in hands in bog

Image: Midwest Living

Most of us don’t often think of cranberries. We might drink the juice on occasion, probably sometime around Christmas and mixed with champagne, or force it out of a tin can at Thanksgiving dinner. But did you know there is a thriving community of Americans who spend months on end growing, harvesting, and selling those shiny red berries? And did you know that the dense, flooded marshes where they’re grown is one of the most beautiful Autumn sights you could ever see? You might want to rethink your fall break plans after feasting your eyes on the sights of the Wisconsin Cranberry Trail.

Cruise along the “Cranberry Highway” in Central Wisconsin at your own speed, taking in the views of 100-year-old cranberry marshes. The Autumn colors truly come alive when contrasted with the flowing red sea on either side of Highway 54.

Pause in nearby towns such as Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, and Cranmoor to get a feel for the local flavor. With harvest festivals happening all season long, make sure to find yourself a taste (or three!) of the regional delicacies, like crisps and cobblers. You could even plan your trip around the largest cranberry festival in the world, the Warrens Cranberry Festival. With over 3 miles of foods, crafts, and flea markets, you’ll hop back in your car with sore feet and a full stomach!

The very last must-do when cruising the Cranberry Trail is visiting a working cranberry marsh. This is an experience you’ll find nowhere else but in Wisconsin! Check out the Glacial Lake Cranberry Link Visitor’s Center to schedule a tour of one of the oldest running cranberry marshes in Central Wisconsin. Dive in to experience the marshes for yourself!

Seeing how Americans celebrate Autumn in differently is a unique way to bring in the season yourself. And who knows, maybe next time you dump out the cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll remember what an actual cranberry looks like!

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r