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Credit: Jamii Sarkauskas

3 can’t-miss fall color drives

Fall is just around the corner in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which means it’s the perfect time to hit the road for a fabulous fall color tour. Here are three routes in the Rhinelander Area where you’ll find your fill of reds, yellows and oranges.

Route 1: Pelican Lake and Monico

This route will take you south and east of Rhinelander and passes the Enterprise County Forest and Pelican Lake (both the lake and the unincorporated community). Starting at the intersection of U.S. Highway 8 and Highway 47, take Kemp Street (Business Highway 8) east to Oneida Avenue. Turn south on Oneida Avenue, which turns into County Highway G. Follow Highway G for about 19 miles southeast to Pelican Lake, then turn north on US Highway 45. Follow Highway 45 to Monico (about 5.5 miles), then take Highway 8 west back into Rhinelander (15 miles). Total route: 43 miles

Route 2: River Road

This loop takes you through the wilderness north of Rhinelander along the Wisconsin River (and also past the grounds of the popular Hodag Country Festival). From the Highway 8-Highway 47 intersection, head east on West Davenport Street (just north of the intersection) and follow that across the Wisconsin River until you reach Stevens Street. (If you keep driving on Davenport Street, you’ll end up at the historic Oneida County Courthouse; take note of its beautiful Tiffany glass dome.) Head north on North Stevens Street to County Highway W and turn north, following the highway for about a mile until you reach River Road. Turn left on River Road and follow its twists and turns through the Northwoods for about 12 miles. Turn left on Bridge Road, which will take you back to Highway 47; follow that south back into Rhinelander. Total route: 34 miles

Route 3: Sugar Camp and Three Lakes

Head into the nearby Oneida County communities of Sugar Camp and Three Lakes on this scenic cruise. From Highway 8/Highway 47, head east on West Davenport Street until you reach Stevens Street. Follow Stevens Street until it merges with Highway 17. Follow Highway 17 north for about 10 miles, passing Jennie Webber Lake and Lost Lake, then head east on County Highway A. Stay on Highway A until you hit Three Lakes (about nine miles), then turn on Superior Street. Superior Street meets up with U.S. Highway 45; follow that south until you reach County Highway C. Turn right on Highway C and follow that back into Rhinelander, where it turns into Timber Drive on the east side of town. Total route: 48 miles

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Note: The Rhinelander Area is open, and all visitors are welcome. Please travel safely and responsibly. Some businesses and events may have modified hours or procedures; please contact businesses or event organizers directly for specific information.

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