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Four Seasons of Fun in Greater Mauston

The beauty of south central Wisconsin was extolled by two of America’s iconic conservationists – Aldo Leopold and John Muir. The Greater Mauston area offers an abundance of year-round recreational opportunities that allow you to revel in that beauty. The truth is, though the type of activities may not be that different from what's in your backyard, there's so much more of it and in greater variety. And the true secret? you never fight the crowds! There is always a front row seat to revel in the beauty in solitude and peace. Yet there's also plenty of fun, music and crowds to keep your heart pumping.

Summer Fun in Greater Mauston

The Greater Mauston area is all about water. We're surrounded- with a multitude of places to enjoy great fishing, boating, swimming, canoeing, paddle-boarding and tubing.

The Lemonweir River flows through Mauston and creates Decorah Lake at the heart of our revitalized downtown. Decorah Lake is a 314-acre lake, visitors have access to the lake from a public boat landing. it's quite a common sight to see kids on bikes holding onto fishing gear to reach the river's stone embankments, seldom empty of fishermen casting for Panfish, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye. The beautiful river walk surrounding the lake has quickly become the community’s focal point for leisure activities, including concerts on the square.

The Wisconsin River flows through the area and creates both Petenwell and Castle Rock Lakes. There's nothing more relaxing than tubing down the river with refreshments in tow or cast fishing on the banks of Castle Rock Lake.

Not all the fun involves getting wet. Camping puts you in the middle of nature's abundance and in Juneau County, you could camp every week in summer and never stay at the same place.

There's several ranches in Mauston offering horseback riding along with stables to board your own horses. Biking and hiking opportunities abound with all the parks and lakes, hiking trails and rails-to-trails.

There's inside activities also from shopping to celebrating. Restaurants and taverns on the lake offer music, dj's, sand volleyball and lots of fun!

Fall

The beauty of the Greater Mauston area is always apparent but never more so than in Fall. As the weather grows crisper and the days shorter, morning mists gather in the hills, dew sparkles in the grass and the turning fall colors are heightened by spectacular shows at sunrise and fall. Come and stay and get up early to enjoy the show. Sunrise is later in fall, making it easier to enjoy. The fields of crops are golden and glistening. A motorcycle ride through the bluffs that surround the area takes you on winding turning roads past iconic farmland, woodlands and wetlands. Don't miss Juneau County's Rustic Road off Hwy 80 just northwest of Elroy. Whether on motorcycle, bicycle (for those with the stamina to conquer the hills) or car, it's a trip that makes you happy to be alive. Just don't forget your camera.

Fall is apple orchard time. And at Northwood's Orchard it's a season-long celebration. There's several wineries in the area to tour and enjoy and a wonderfully-interesting mushroom farm. The fun is they're miles apart on roads that will take your breath away. So leave plenty of time for touring.

Speaking of apple orchards and wineries, now is the perfect time to start your holiday shopping. Unique food and beverages always make a great gift. For the Foodies, this area offers fresh and aged cheeses at Carr Valley and the finest in smoked meats at Wisconsin River Meats.

For truly unique gifts and holiday decorations visit the Red Geranium, Decorator's Touch or McKinney's home decorating in Mauston. Oh! Arts has local, artisan-made gifts and will put you in touch with the perfect artist for a commissioned truly one-of-a-kind gift.

We travel a little farther here in Juneau County. Just around the corner could be miles- a stone's throw two town's over. However, with no traffic and no hassles, we can travel twice as far in half the time. But, truth be told, we've learned, that with no traffic and no hassles, the journey is as exciting and beautiful as the destination and that the best choice is often the long way around especially in Fall!
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Winter

Ah, the joys of Winter fun! Friends here have a tradition, at the start of the first heavy snowfall, we travel on snowmobiles and heavy winter vehicles to a place in the woods. We start a fire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows and share hot drinks and good stories. It's the celebration of what's ahead - snowmobile rides on paths that extoll the true beauty of winter, cross-country skiing on groomed trails. And for those more adventurous and athletic the trail possibilities are endless. Plan ahead and end your outing with a massage and hot sauna at Healthy Prelude in the beautiful hills on Juneau County's designated Rustic Road in Elroy. There are several excellent massage choices throughout the city and country.

Mauston has ice skating ponds on the Lemonweir river for great family fun. You'll be skating next to the many ice fishing shanties that dot the shore while at nearby Mile Bluff Park you're sure to find families sledding.

And, sometimes the best winter thing for a couple to do-- is nothing! Cuddle up in a beautiful room, enjoy the company and come out for food. The new Lodge in Mauston has well-appointed rooms and a first class restaurant. You can enjoy the hot tub and pool without crowds of yelling children. There's also the Victorian Manor Bed and Breakfast and several other local hotels.

The Holiday Train stops in Mauston every year and though it draws a crowd, you can still get up-close and personal. Several area lodgings offer special promotions for the event. Book a room at Woodside Ranch and the next day enjoy a quiet sleigh (or hay) ride through the woods there or at the nearby Red Ridge Riding Stables. What a great holiday tradition to start for your family.

Talking about family fun, how about a truly different game night. Games for Us offers a game room to rent. You can Host your own personal video game tournament using the Xbox live accounts on high speed internet. A gift card from Games for Us just might be the perfect answer for gamers young and old.

If it's not the answer, The Greater Mauston area offers other unique last minute holiday shopping ideas. From locally-made artisan gifts to excellent cheese, wine and candy for the food lover on your list.
 
Come and stay. Come and play. The Greater Mauston area is the perfect way to break up your winter.
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  • Winter
Juneau County Rustic Road Lee Rd in fall with turning road

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Spring Awakening

As the days grow longer and the snow has melted, you find yourself yearning for a connection to nature. Mauston is the place to truly celebrate Spring. Get out and explore the many nature trails that surround us. The Necedah Wildlife Refuge, Buckhorn State Park and Castle Rock Lake offer hiking trails that puts you in the middle of your yearnings.

Birding in our area is unsurpassed. There are tourists that come from across the seas to catch sight of a rare whooping crane. But sightings here are not rare at all. Other flying species you're likely to spot include bald eagles, trumpeter swans, red-headed woodpeckers and Karner blue butterflies. Each year, as the ice melts photographers gather at the Petenwell Dam to photograph the bald eagles as they swoop and dive for fish.

But it's not just the sights, it's the sounds you'll hear that thrill to the bone. The distant howl of a gray wolf or coyote. Sandhill Cranes giving loud bugle calls can be heard up to 2.5 miles away. You'll hear the flock before you see them. And in spring as they gather back to their nesting grounds, the sound can be deafening. Yet the lone call of a loon is just as thrilling. In spring, migrating tundra swans make their way to the wildlife refuge by the thousands. The flapping of their wings as they take off in mass at sunset, once heard, is never forgotten.

What better time than spring to dust off the bike and travel the many rails-to-trails offered. Past woodlands and iconic Wisconsin farmlands, through quaint towns, covered bridges and tunnels. If you don't own a bike, renting is always an option in Elroy's town square and at Beyond Boundaries in Wonewoc.

Buckhorn State Park has trail bikes, canoes and kayaks for rent. And sometimes in early spring, there's the drawdown of Castle Rock Lake that opens miles and miles of exploration to caves and areas usually underwater.

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What Are You Waiting For?

So come and stay. Come and play. Let the beauty of the Greater Mauston area slow you down and connect you - naturally!