Photo by Visit Pepin County
Drive Through Pepin County: A Scenic Fall Itinerary
If you’re planning on exploring Pepin County in the fall, a scenic drive is one of the best ways to see scenic views of the colorful leaves, all while discovering what each community has to offer. With beautiful natural views all year long, Pepin County shines during the fall when the leaves change colors into bright red, orange, and yellows. A scenic drive on the backroads throughout the county will offer you views of this fall phenomenon, plus you can make some stops along the way at local shops and eateries. Here is one fall drive itinerary to get you started.
Photo by Lisa Lemmons-Powers
1. Northeast Region
Pepin County’s scenic fall drive starts in Durand in the Northeast Region, but visitors can start their drive in any region, as the itinerary follows a loop around the entire county. The itinerary will offer the ultimate Pepin County fall drive with plenty of opportunities to stop at all of the small, local businesses along the way! In Durand you can stop for a bite to eat at one of the many bars and grills along the Chippewa River, or plan for a picnic at Pepin County Veterans Memorial Park.
After you’re done discovering Durand, go west on Highway 10. Turn left at County Road P and head south. Along County Road P, you’ll come across Sam’s Produce right along the road. Here visitors can purchase a variety of different fresh produce all throughout fall seasons from a family owned and operated farm, including pumpkins. From there, continue down County Road P until you reach County Road N, turn left and continue south. After you pass through Ella, turn left on Byington Road and continue south (Byington Road turns into Bill Hill Road, continue to follow Bill Hill Road).
2. Southwest Region
When you reach County Road N again, keep heading south until you reach the Mississippi River town of Pepin. Turn right onto Highway 35, better known as the Wisconsin Great River Road, and stop along Pepin’s main street. Here you can check out Lake Pepin by taking a walk on the docks of Pepin Marina, and enjoy the shops and eateries along the water. After exploring the quaint and charming downtown area, hop back onto Main Street until you see County Road CC.
Take CC north and take the opportunity to stop at the Little House Wayside Cabin. This historical landmark marks the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can learn about Laura’s life in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and explore the rich history of Pepin, Wisconsin. Once you’re done at the cabin, backtrack south to Bogus Road and turn right.
3. Western Region
Follow Bogus Road south until you reach the Wisconsin Great River Road (Highway 35) again and turn right. From Pepin, you’re going to head to Stockholm, another quaint river town just north on the Mississippi River. The Great River Road will provide beautiful scenic views of the Mississippi River dressed up in fall colors of red, orange, and yellow as you drive. Stockholm is a small town with a variety of local shops, art galleries, and restaurants, and there is plenty to discover during your short visit.
Every visitor to Stockholm should be sure to make their way over to Stockholm Pie and General Store for a slice of pie, and maybe even one to bring home. Stockholm is also a great place to shop, especially for handmade art items, as there are a variety of galleries, art and craft shops, and locally owned shops. After hanging out in Stockholm for a while, find your way to County Road J and turn right. From there drive north until County Road J turns into County Road SS.
Photo by Visit Pepin County / John Wolf
4. Northern Region
By this time you’ve reached the final leg of the scenic drive and are looping back around where you started. Follow County Road SS east until you reach County Road N again. Turn left onto County Road N to head north. There will be great opportunities to catch epic glimpses of the fall leaves and color on your way back. Drive along County Road N until you reach the Pepin County city of Arkansaw.
Arkansaw is a great place to stop for a drink if you want to relax a little after driving, but always remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver. The Rec Hall and Ree Pete’s Bar and Grill are two great places to stop. To make your way back to Durand, get back to Highway 10, turn right to head east, and end up back in town.