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Minnesota leaves may not be as bright this year, but the best fall foliage may be right next door

This summer's drought didn't affect Wisconsin as strongly as Minnesota, so an autumn drive to see the colors may be in order.

PRESCOTT, Wis. — One of the best parts of living in Minnesota, the reason we put up with the sizzling summers and frigid winters, is those few, precious weeks in fall when our state erupts in a burst of colorful leaves. 

Unfortunately, this summer's drought has all but canceled the foliage this year. 

Fear not. The beautiful colors you've been craving are only a short drive away. 

Wisconsin, our neighbor to the east, wasn't as adversely affected by the drought, so leaves in the Badger state are forecast to be lovely this year. Travel Wisconsin has several suggestions for great fall color drives. 

In Prescott (a mere 35 minutes from Minneapolis) is the start of one of these trips. Follow Highway 35, which is also know as the Great River Road, for nearly 250 miles from Prescott to Potosi. Charming river towns with cafes and antique shops are fun to stop at along the way.  

Another popular drive is a waterfall tour along Highway 141 in northeastern Wisconsin's Marinette County, and the Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway, which takes you from Ashland along Hwy 13 and the Lake Superior shore north to Bayfield. 

If hiking to look at leaves is more your thing, Travel Wisconsin also has a list of lookouts with views that can't be beat. Interstate State Park is a popular stop. From the observation deck on Pothole or Summit Rock trails you get a combination view of leaf color, rock formations and the St. Croix River.  

Devils Lake State Park is another popular choice with plenty of colorful maple trees. 

And if you're up for climbing 178 steps, check out he observation deck at Holy Hill Basilica in Hubertus for views of the Kettle-Moraine Forest.  

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