The best places to see the fall colors in Door County

For Natalie and Nedd Neddersen, the proprietors of Eagle Harbor Inn, autumn is one of their favorite times of the year in the County. And, after making their home in Ephraim for a quarter of a century, they know the best places where leaf peepers can find the stunning colors they’re looking for. Check out their favorite spots below.

The Iconic View:
Highway 42, Between Gills Rock and Northport

Winding two-lane highway 42 in Door County
Highway 42’s serpentine curves encourage — if not compel — drivers to slow down and take in the scenery around them. The fifteen curves are often credited to the influence of Jens Jensen, a renowned landscape architect. Jensen strongly believed in “the power of nature to enrich the lives of men and women, even in the most urban of environments,” writes Door County Visitor Bureau. Jensens’s beliefs led him to found The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay, where adults can take classes in the arts an fine crafts, humanities, and natural sciences. “Early in his career, he designed what he called the Ideal Highway, a thoroughfare that would slow traffic, keep nature in view, and include a separate pedestrian path.” Highway 42 reflects Jensen’s philosophy and is well worth your time to visit and take things at a more leisurely pace.
Photo credit: UnSplash

The View From the Edge:
Ellison Bluff Park

After a moderately strenuous trek to the peak, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of Green Bay — if they’re willing to ease themselves to the lookout at the edge of the bluff, forty feet above the crashing surf. Once at the lookout, you’ll spot Chamber’s Island and the Little Sister Islands, all exhibiting fall’s finest foliage. Photo credit: TripAdvisor

The Bellwether of the Season:
Spring Road

This rural road runs parallel to Highway 42 to circumvent the bustling village of Fish Creek. Residents rely on this stretch of highway to predict when peak colors will happen.

The Nautical View:
Sister Bay Scenic Boat Tours and Sail Door County

It should come as no surprise that one of the more memorable ways to see fall foliage of the Peninsula is on the water. Sister Bay Scenic Boat Tours offers narrated tours of Door County’s many islands, bluffs, and beaches from its double-decker tour boat, which includes a full bar on the lower deck. Or, opt for a romantic cruise on Edith M. Becker (pictured; photo credit @saildoorcounty), a two-masted schooner helmed by Sail Door County. Edith M. Becker has room for 23 passengers and is inspired by 18th century sailing vessels.

The Well-Traveled View:
Door County Trolley

If you’re not the sea-faring type, stick to land and traverse Door County on land on a narrated scenic tour from Door County Trolley. Door County Trolley’s tours are known for giving guests plenty of context and interesting Door County tidbits they can use to impress their friends with at dinner. We love this tour so much we partnered with them for the fall season — book now before the leaves peter out. Photo credit: Door County Trolley.

The Spirited View:
Moravian Cemetary

For history buffs, take a short stroll from Eagle Harbor Inn to the Moravian Cemetery. The cemetery dates back to 1855, just two years after Ephraim was founded by a group of Norwegian Moravians, one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world. Tall hardwood trees and the quiet residential neighborhood that surrounds the cemetery make this a solemn and softly beautiful place to contemplate autumn’s beauty.

For more tips on how to see the colors of Door County, check out the Door County Visitor Bureau.