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In Door County there is hardly a bad location to spot all the beauty the county has to offer, but there are a few locations that would compete for the best place to see the fall color. Here are five of our favorite fall color lookouts:
Old Baldy is the tallest sand dune in Whitefish Dunes State Park, and it’s also rather sandy (or bald!) on top. From the main park entrance take the Red Trail for a 2.8 mile round trip hike that takes you by the Old Baldy lookout. From there you can spot the corner of Clark Lake to the northwest, Lake Michigan to the east and plenty of stunning treetops in between.
See the golden yellow and orange leaves from below as you hike along one of the many trails within the 174-acre park. The trails through the top of the bluff includes a variety of trees such as sugar maple, white ash, red oak, birch and beech trees. Or, see the color from the top of a 100-ft limestone bluff where the observation deck leads you safely to a spectacular view of the water and surrounding forest.
With the Potawatomi State Park and Peninsula State Park towers currently closed, this is the only open observation tower in the county. Once on Washington Island, you will find the park a short drive from the ferry dock. You will climb 186 steps of stairs up the “mountain” of a hill and then, at the top, climb the tower to find yourself with a beautiful view overlooking the island. The rolling landscape is colorful and serene in the fall season and you can also spot the “death’s door” water passageway.
Although the lookout tower at the park has been permanently closed, there are still gorgeous views to be had. The best option to find a colorful canopy view in the park is at the top of the Old Ski Hill. To get there, hike the Tower Trail (a 3.6 mile loop from the nature center) or drive to it via N. Norway Road. The view is indeed atop an old ski hill, giving you a clear view over the treetops.
Cana Island is a small island located just north of Baileys Harbor. On that small 8.7 acre island you will find the Cana Island Lighthouse which was first operated in 1869. Standing a total of 89 feet tall, this lighthouse offers beautiful 360 degree views after you climb the 97-step spiral staircase. Admission is required to tour and climb to the top, but the view is priceless — especially in the fall.
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