Gorgeous Fall Views at Grandad Bluff in La Crosse

Though there are plenty of fantastic things to do in La Crosse, WI, including a delightful range of outdoor activities, there is perhaps nothing more iconic than hiking to the top of Grandad Bluff. Grandad Bluff rises majestically from the banks of the Mississippi River, affording those who climb to the top one of the best views in Wisconsin. 

Though the views from Grandad Bluff are worth seeing no matter the season, it is truly sensational when the vibrant colors of fall descend upon Wisconsin. Just like the rest of the year, though, seeing the views from the top of Grandad Bluff is just one of the many great things to do in La Crosse this fall. 

Embrace the season’s beauty this fall and plan a fall getaway to our romantic Bed and Breakfast in Wisconsin. There aren’t many opportunities to stay in a real castle, but you can when you visit us this fall. Not only that, but we’ll treat you to the best hospitality in the Midwest. There’s a lot to love about our charming, historic Inn, rated as one of the best places to stay in Wisconsin

Embrace the best of the season with us this year. Book your room at our Bed and Breakfast in Wisconsin today! 

the gorgeous Grandad Bluffs in La Crosse, Wisconsin

Hike Grandad Bluff in La Crosse This Fall

Towering 600 feet above the gorgeous Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin, is Grandad Bluff. Grandad Bluff is an iconic bluff in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area – a remnant of the last ice age as the glaciers receded and left their mark on the region. It’s easily one of the most iconic landmarks in the region. 

As iconic as Grandad Bluff is to the landscape around La Crosse, it’s nothing compared to the view from the top. From there, you’ll enjoy commanding views of the Mississippi River Valley below, with views stretching as far as Minnesota and Iowa on a blue-sky day. 

Many have considered the view from the top of Grandad Bluff to be one of the most scenic in the state – and we’re inclined to agree with them! We love to take in the sights any time of year, but it’s truly magnificent when the valley is covered in a mosaic of red, orange, yellow, and green. 

Getting to the top of Grandad Bluff is easy – just take the short 10-minute drive on Main Street East, which eventually becomes Bliss Road, to the top. You can also bike up the road, rewarding yourself with the signature La Crosse views. There are also several miles of trails to explore in The Gateway Trail System on Grandad Bluff – a network of six miles of shared-use trails designed to safely get hikers and bikers from the base of the bluff to the top. Hikers can even access Grandad Bluff from the incredible Hixon Forest. If you’re looking for even more great bluffs to hike in Wisconsin, here’s a great list!

The top of Grandad Bluff is a city park, so there are plenty of amenities here – important if you choose to hike or bike your way into the park. In addition to the scenic overlook, complete with coin-operated binoculars for better viewing, there are also bathrooms, bike racks, a picnic shelter, and more. However you plan to get to the top of Grandad Bluff, it’s well worth your time to take in these iconic city and river views. 

biking through fall colors in Wisconsin, after visiting Grandad Bluffs in La Crosse

8 More Things to Do in La Crosse This Fall

Though we’d put hiking, biking, or driving to the top of Grandad Bluff at the top of our list of things to do in La Crosse this fall, it is just the beginning of great adventures waiting for you near our Bed and Breakfast in Wisconsin. La Crosse is a truly magnificent town filled with unbeatable outdoor adventures, fantastic restaurants, and plenty of gorgeous fall colors. 

Located just a few hours from some of the biggest cities in the Midwest, La Crosse is an easy weekend getaway worth enjoying this fall. Fall is a colorful and vibrant season in Wisconsin – a great time to get out and explore beautiful La Crosse! Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite things to do in La Crosse in the fall. 

  1. Grandad Bluff is just one of the many great places to enjoy some hiking in La Crosse. Fall is the perfect time to explore the vast trail networks that are part of La Crosse’s Outdoor Recreation Alliance, which includes the popular Hixon Forest, the Mississippi Valley Conservancy, the Van Loon Wildlife Area, and the Norskedalen Nature and Heritage Center, among others. 
  2. We’ve written about the many Wisconsin Bike Trails near us. Bike through tunnels of fall color and enjoy the sensational scenery of Wisconsin in the fall. 
  3. Fall is among the best times to enjoy birdwatching along the Mississippi River Flyway. La Crosse is one of the major destinations along Wisconsin’s Great River Road, where you’ll find some of the best birding hotspots in the country. Popular spots include Goose Island County ParkVan Loon State Wildlife AreaNorskedalen Heritage & Nature CenterFriends of Trempealeau Refuge, and the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
  4. Take part in a quintessential fall day at apple orchards and area farms! Try picking apples at Southwind Orchards just across the river in Minnesota or Eckers Apple Farm in Trempealeau. 
  5. There’s a lot more to this rich agricultural region than apple orchards! There’s also a healthy agritourism business in the area. Fall is the perfect time to get out and explore area farms! You can taste many of their delicious products at local restaurants, too. 
  6. There are a lot of great fall festivals in the La Crosse area, too, including Oktoberfest USA in La Crosse and Applefest in La Crescent.
  7. Fall views are breathtaking from the water, and there are plenty of great places to enjoy a paddle in the La Crosse area, including the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge.
  8. Fall is also a great time to hop in the car and take a gorgeous scenic drive along the Great River Road. Another excellent fall drive is Apple Blossom Scenic Drive across the river in Minnesota. This is also a great route to tackle by bike! 
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