The Cranberry Highway in Wisconsin | Exploring the Midwest Podcast Episode 29

Last Updated on February 9, 2022 by Jody Halsted

This month on the podcast I am celebrating the flavors of the Midwest.

And while Wisconsin may be best known for cheese, today’s guest is going to guide us along the Cranberry Highway.

Meredith Kleker is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Heidi Slinkman – Gaynor Cranberry Company

Follow the Wisconsin Cranberry Highway

Wisconsin’s cranberry bogs may be one of the state’s best kept secrets!

Where is the Cranberry Highway in Wisconsin?

The Cranberry Highway is located in the central sands region of Wisconsin. The 50 miles trail stretches from Wisconsin Rapids on the east to Warrens in the west, the town of Pittsville to the north and Nekoosa to the south.

The Cranberry Highway is a self-guided scenic highway designed to be joined at any point of the route. You can do part of the trail, or the entire highway.

Cranberry harvest is a great place for family photos! photo credit Nieman Photography

When is the Best Time to Drive the Cranberry Highway?

Harvest season in fall is peak time to view the sea of cranberries – along with terrific autumn colors. Cranberry harvest in Wisconsin takes place between mid-September to late October.

Late spring, when the cranberries’ delicate pink flower are in bloom is also a terrific time to visit.

Make Plans: Cranberry Festivals in Wisconsin

Hand raking cranberries

Experiences along the Cranberry Highway

Wildlife sightings along the highway are common. Watch for Sandhill cranes, Trumpeter swans, Bald Eagles, and plenty of deer. The Sandhill Wildlife Area also has a herd of bison and is a terrific place for bird watching.

Stop at the historic marker along Highway 54 for a photo opp and to learn more about cranberry history and culture in Wisconsin.

The Pittsville High School FFA program has the only cranberry science program in the nation. They offer two hour ‘Splash of Red Cranberry Tours‘ that take you into a marsh and end with cranberry product sampling.

Visit the Wisconsin Cranberry Discovery Center to see, touch, and taste everything cranberry! Don’t miss the Taste Test Kitchen and Ice Cream Parlor for cranberry treats!

Le Chateau – The Manor Bed & Breakfast offers special packages during harvest season, we well as cranberry inspired breakfasts!

The Stone Cottage at Glacial Lakes Cranberries offers guests the opportunity to take part in cranberry harvest.

Rooted in Red is a cranberry farm with a charming boutique. Visit for tours and events during harvest season.

cranberry harvest raking

Wisconsin Cranberry Facts

Wisconsin is the number one producer of cranberries in the US, and the town of Cranmoor has the largest concentration of cranberry farms in the state.

Cranberries grow in marshes, not bogs. Marshes are larger and have more nutrients.

Cranberries grow on a vine in the soil. At harvest time water is added to make the cranberries float which makes them easier to harvest.

Cranberries were first called ‘craneberries’.

More Activities in Central Wisconsin

Outdoor recreation abounds in central Wisconsin. Enjoy hiking and cycling through the tall pine forests. Or fish or float on the Wisconsin River.

Pump up your adrenaline with ATV and UTV racing, a BMX track, or races at the speedway.

Sports fans can take in a Northwoods League baseball game in the spring or River Kings AHL hockey in the winter.

Southwood County Historical Museum celebrates the logging and cranberry heritage of the area. There is also a collection of work by native Grim Natwick, the Disney animator who created Snow White – as well as Betty Boop and Mr. Magoo.

Cranberry harvest

Plan Your Trip Along Wisconsin’s Cranberry Highway

Online: – click ‘attractions’ then ‘cranberries’ for up to date information during harvest season.

In person: Be sure to stop in at the visitors center and pick up a map and recipes to create with Wisconsin cranberries!

Follow Wisconsin Rapids Area CVB on Facebook and Instagram

Join the Exploring the Midwest Group on Facebook!

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