Door County Fall Colors 2023

Every year, people flock to see the Door County Fall colors. There are even festivals built up around the Fall colors in Door County!

Personally, I love when the Fall colors come out in Door County. There’s just something about driving with the shore on one side and a colorful bluff on the other side of the road.

I would love for you to experience this, too. That’s why I wrote this post, to help you experience the Fall colors in Door County.

Here is what we’ll cover in this post:

If you are traveling up to Door County overnight to see the Fall Colors, make sure to check out our post on the best hotels in Door County for a good starting place to find lodging.

fall leaves with superimposed text: Fall Colors

Are the Fall Colors Out in Door County in 2023?

No, the Fall Colors are not out in Door County in 2023.

The Fall Colors are, for the most part, done in Door County. Come back in Fall 2024 to see the Fall Colors.

Fall Colors Status as of October 30, 2023

There are definitely a few trees holding on to some beautifully colored leaves, but for the most part, the Fall Colors are done in Door County.

Fall colors in Door County.
Taken near Brussels on October 30, 2023.

Fall Colors Status as of October 27, 2023

The Fall Colors are past their prime. As I drove around today, I saw that there were some trees and areas with beautiful leaves still. However, many trees and areas are completely bare.

You can still find some areas of beautiful colors. But, it is not advisable to travel to Door County for the Fall Colors after the weekend of October 27-29.

Here is a picture taken in Door County on October 27. In it, you can see that some trees are bare, while other trees still have some beautiful colors:

Autumn trees in Door County.
Taken in Forestville, Door County, Wisconsin on October 27, 2023.

Fall Colors Status as of October 20, 2023

I would say that the Fall Colors are currently at their prime. If you want to see beautiful Fall foliage, now is the time to visit Door County. The leaves will be falling soon, and one wind storm could great diminish the Fall Colors.

Fall Colors in Door County.
Taken near Forestville on October 19, 2023.
Multi-colored trees in Door County
Taken in Forestville on October 19, 2023.

Fall Colors Status as of October 12, 2023

The following picture was taken near Wisconsin Highway 42, north of Sturgeon Bay. Many areas, like this one, are at peak fall colors. A few spots are still quite green. However, now is the time to visit to see Fall colors in Door County.

trees colorful with autumn foliage
Taken on October 12, 2023, on Wisconsin Highway 42, north of Sturgeon Bay.

Fall Colors Status as of October 2, 2023

The following picture was taken on County Road D, near Forestville, Door County, Wisconsin. There is still significant green on the trees, but also some vivid colors. Leave have not reached their peak.

fall scene consisting of multi-colored trees with fall foliage, haybales, and a cut field
Taken on County Road D near Forestville, Door County, Wisconsin on October 2, 2023. Via HelloDoorCounty.com.

Fall Colors Status as of September 22, 2023

The following picture was taken just south of Jacksonport, Door County, Wisconsin. Leaves are starting to turn beautiful colors in areas of Door County. They have not reached their peak.

trees turning colors
Taken just south of Jacksonport on September 22, 2023.

Fall Colors Status as of September 19, 2023

The following picture was taken in Forestville, Door County, Wisconsin on September 19, 2023. Currently, most of the leaves are still green, but some leaves are starting to turn a little bit yellow.

Fall colors in Door County. Trees.
Fall colors in Door County, Wisconsin, as of September 19, 2023. Picture taken in Forestville. Via HelloDoorCounty.com.

Where to See the Fall Colors in Door County in 2023

Here are some of the best places to see the Fall colors in Door County:

Door County Fall Colors Drives

Here are some of the best drives to see the Fall Colors in Door County.

Sturgeon Bay to Egg Harbor via Bayshore Drive

map depiciting a fall colors driving route
Screencapture from Google Maps. (Fair use.)

This is one of the prettiest drives in Door County, and one of the best drive to see the Fall colors.

It takes you right along the shore of Green Bay. That alone makes it an amazing drive.

But, there are also high bluffs on the other side of the road for several sections. Those bluffs have hardwood trees, and fields separate the bluffs from the road.

Those are perfect conditions to get good views of the Fall colors.

Imagine driving along Bayshore Drive as the golden hues of the sun setting over Green Bay bathe the colorful trees in amber light.

That’s what you can experience by taking this drive when the Fall colors are out in Door County.

Baileys Harbor to Ephraim Area via County Road Q

map showing a driving route in Door County
Screenshot from Google My Maps. (Fair use.)

Get off the beaten track with this meandering drive on the east side of the peninsula. This will take you through some of the most ecologically significant and unsettled portions of Door County. A great place to see the Fall colors.

Jacksonport to Ephraim via County Road A

map showing a drive in Door County to view the fall colors
Via Google Maps. Used by permission (fair use).

This drive is a little different than the other two I suggested. Instead of a winding road along the shore, it’s a straight one through the middle of the peninsula.

But, I think this is a great one to view the Fall colors. Here’s why:

This road goes through a high area on the peninsula, and there are lots of farm fields along it.

This means that you will get good views of the forested areas on the other side of the farm fields.

Give this one a try to see the Door County Fall colors.

Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park

The Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park is another great place to see the Fall colors in Door County. This amazing structure will elevate you over the treeline, giving you an amazing view of the leaves below.

Ula Street Park in Fish Creek

This park is across the bay from Peninsula State Park. At the right conditions, it will give you views of the forested bluffs of Peninsula State Park and all the colorful trees on them.

When Are the Fall Colors Usually Out in Door County?

multi-colored trees reflected in a pond
Via Unsplash. Used by permission (public domain).

This changes every year based on many variables, including air temperatures, rainfall, and wind conditions.

Usually, you can count on the Fall colors being out in Door County in early through mid-October.

Check back to this page, as we will keep it updated to let you know if the Fall colors are out.

How Long Are the Fall Colors Out in Door County?

The Fall colors are usually out in Door County for a period of two weeks. However, this can depend on many conditions such as rainfall, wind, and temperature.

The Fall colors do not stay out long, so if they are out, you need to move quickly to see them.

Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

Autumn leaves
Via Unsplash. Used by permission (public domain).

In the fall, leaves change colors because of a special process called photosynthesis. During the spring and summer, leaves make food for the tree by using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. They contain a green pigment called chlorophyll that helps with this process and makes the leaves look green.

As the days get shorter and the weather becomes cooler in the fall, the trees get a signal to prepare for winter. They stop making food and the chlorophyll breaks down and disappears from the leaves. With the green pigment gone, other colors that were hidden in the leaves start to show up.

These hidden colors are caused by different pigments in the leaves. For example, some leaves turn yellow because of pigments called carotenoids, which are always present but get masked by the dominant green chlorophyll. Other trees, like maples, turn vibrant red or purple because of pigments called anthocyanins, which are produced when the weather becomes cool.

The mix of pigments in each leaf determines the final color we see. Trees with more carotenoids may have leaves that turn yellow or orange, while those with lots of anthocyanins can have red or purple leaves. The unique combination of pigment colors makes autumn a beautiful and colorful time of the year!

Why Do Deciduous Trees Lose Their Leaves in the Fall?

light shining through trees
Via Unsplash. Used by permission (public domain).

In the Fall, deciduous trees lose their leaves as part of a smart plan to survive the colder months. During the spring and summer, leaves work hard to make food for the tree using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide through a process called photosynthesis. These leaves contain a green pigment called chlorophyll, which makes them look green.

As the days become shorter and the weather gets colder in the Fall, deciduous trees receive signals to start shedding their leaves. The changing seasons act as a natural alarm clock for the trees, telling them that winter is coming. They know that it will be hard to get enough water and sunlight during the cold season. So, to conserve energy and water, the trees stop making food, and the chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down, revealing the other colors that were hidden beneath the green.

The process of leaves falling is called “abscission.” The trees produce a special layer of cells that forms where the leaf stem meets the tree’s branch. This layer gradually weakens and severs the connection between the leaf and the tree. As a result, the leaves eventually fall off. This clever adaptation helps the tree save water and energy during the winter when it’s harder to grow and thrive.

When the leaves have fallen, the trees enter a state of rest called dormancy. During dormancy, the tree slows down its growth and metabolic processes. It becomes like a sleeping bear, conserving energy to survive the winter. In spring, when the days get longer and the weather warms up, the trees wake up from their winter slumber, and new leaves begin to grow again, starting the cycle anew.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to see the Fall colors in Door County, Wisconsin?

The peak time to see Fall colors is usually mid-October, but it can vary each year.

What are the best places to view the Fall foliage in Door County?

Some of the best places to see Fall foliage in Door County include Bayshore Drive, Peninsula State Park, and County Road Q.

Can I see Fall colors in Door County for free?

Yes, many places for Fall color viewing, like parks and roadsides, are free to visit and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Summary: Door County Fall Colors 2023

  • The Fall foliage is usually visible in Door County in mid-October.
  • The Fall colors are usually out in Door County for a period of about two weeks.
  • Good places to view the Fall colors in Door County include Peninsula State Park, Bayshore Drive, and County Road Q.
  • Leaves change color when chlorophyll breaks down, revealing hidden pigments.
  • Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the Fall as a strategy to conserve energy and water.

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