So as it turns out, you don’t have to go to Utah or Colorado to hike, climb, and explore. You can do all that in Wisconsin! While we might not have all the national parks like they do out west, we do have tons of things to explore. Put on your Indiana Jones hat and let’s get exploring these 10 places.
1. Cave of the Mounds
Caves are scattered across Wisconsin and the Midwest, but perhaps the best cave is Cave of the Mounds. This cave was discovered in 1939 and has been enchanting us ever since. Because it's underground, obviously, they offer tours year round. Everything is paved and lit, so you don't have to worry about falling or scaring little ones. Still, this is a cave, and you will be dazzled by crystallized rock formations and shimmering pools. Located in Blue Mounds.
2. Pewits Nest
Thought by many to be a hidden swimming hole, Pewits Nest is actually a gorge that was cut by a small creek. This awesome site is in Baraboo, in Devil's Lake State Park to be more specific. This "nest" is about 30-40 feet deep. Use extreme caution, as there are no railings.
3. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Whether it's the first few days of spring or after a snowfall, you will want to visit Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Explore over 800 MILES (yes, you read that correctly) of trails. If you are really into exploring, there are five wilderness areas to get familiar with.
4. Apostle Islands
Apostle Islands is composed of 21 islands and beautiful shoreline along Lake Superior. In the summer, you can kayak through the caves and, in winter, you can walk through them. Both experiences are spectacular. Natural scenery and historic lighthouses make this even more sensational. Located in La Pointe.
5. Big Manitou Falls
In Superior, Wisconsin's largest waterfall resides. In fact, this waterfall drops 165 feet into the Black River. There are plenty of scenic overlooks for you to observe. Copious hiking opportunities are all around you.
6. HIgh Cliff State Park
Near Sherwood is High Cliff State Park, a park right on Lake Winnebago. The many limestone cliffs, effigy mounds, lime kiln, and quarry will intrigue everyone.
7. Horicon Marsh
Located among Dodge and Fond du Lac counties, Horicon Marsh has both a national and state wildlife refuge. You can see all sorts of wildlife on the numerous hiking trails, including 1400 feet of boardwalk. There is even a three-mile stretch that you can take your car through.
8. Rib Mountain State Park
You might not know this, but Wausau has a hill that is a BILLION years old. No, really. It is one of the oldest geological formations on Earth. And it's right here in Wisconsin! Rib Mountain State Park offers some awesome hiking to scenic overlooks with great views of the Wisconsin River.
9. Perrot State Park
Just check out this awesome shot of the Mississippi--the way it was meant to be seen. Well, you can get this awesome view at Perrot State Park. Located in Trempealeau, this 1270 acre park features these awesome river valley shots off of the gorgeous limestone cliffs. Do note that the river is very narrow here, and getting this fabulous view will require some walking. But it is SO worth it.
10. Brule River State Forest
Brule River State Forest, located in Brule, offers hiking, canoeing and so much more. First, the forest contains the entirety of the Brule River. You can also explore a 16-mile stretch of the North Country National Scenic Trail and eight miles of frontage on Lake Superior.
These 10 are an awesome start, but they don’t even come close to telling the full story about all of Wisconsin’s places to explore.