As we head into the near year lots of folks like to make resolutions. One great one to have is to visit a new place or get out and hike once a month in 2019. We’re going to make that resolution super easy to keep as we’ve lined up 12 different hikes that take you all over Wisconsin to discover some of the very best trails in all different seasons. None of these hikes are too long or strenuous, though they’re almost all in spots with multiple trails, so you can add to your hikes as fits your ability level. You’ll see all kinds of gorgeous views of the Wisconsin countryside if you follow this handy guide and set out for at least one hike per month in 2019. Happy hiking!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. January - Whitetail Meadows Trail - Wyalusing State Park
With a 1.7 and 3.1 mile option and the ability to hike or ski, this trail has lots to recommend it. Parts of the park offer Mississippi River views, while others are well known for the wildlife they support. State Park Ln, Bagley, WI 53801
2. February - Kangaroo Lake State Natural Area - Sister Bay
There's just one trail here and it's a pretty 1.5 mile loop that will take you along the spring-fed Kangaroo Lake. You'll see outcrops of the Niagara Escarpment and even some fossil remains. Many birds and animals call this place home. You'll never feel crowded here - it's the perfect winter escape. Trailhead parking is at approximately 3000 County Rd E, Bailey's Harbor, WI 54202.
3. March - Bison Nature Trail -New Glarus Woods
This park has several trails that are less than a mile, making it a good beginner stop. It's a pretty spot as the thaw happens. It's also an easy little side trip when you're spending a weekend in quaint New Glarus. This path is all about the prairie. Located at W5508 CTH NN, New Glarus, WI 53574.
4. April - Riverview Trail - Perrot State Park
If you can handle the climb, definitely check out any of the Brady's Bluff trails. But since we're talking easy hike here, we'll focus on the Riverview Trail that traverses 2.5 miles along the Mississippi and Trempealeau Rivers. Located at 26247 Sullivan Rd., Trempealeau, WI 54661.
5. May - Lime Kiln Trail - High Cliff State Park
Photo property of author
This is a great time to visit as the trees aren't fully filled out and you can get awesome views out to Lake Winnebago. If you can handle the hills, you really can't beat the Lime-Kiln trail. The short loop is just 0.9 miles and you get to head into the forest to see the escarpment formations as well as walk along the edge of the lake. The Butterfly Pond and Forest Management Trails feature a lot less elevation change. Located at N7630 State Park Rd., Sherwood, WI 54169.
6. June - Pheasant Branch Conservancy
This gorgeous spot has more than 500 acres that protects Pheasant Branch Creek, which supplies Lake Mendota with 1,800 gallons of water every minute. This stunning spot has rolling prairies as well as hills that provide a panoramic view of the Capitol Building, the downtown Madison skyline, and Lake Mendota. There are tons of trails to choose from, but the outer loop is just 3.1 miles, doesn’t have a lot of elevation change and is great for hikers of all ages and abilities. Access the trail from Orchard Heights Park, 3960 Valley Ridge Rd., Middleton WI 53562
7. July - Bearskin Trail - Minocqua and Tomahawk
One of the very best ways to explore this gorgeous part of the state is to use the Bearskin and Hiawatha State Trails. These trails are converted rail beds that take you across lakes and into parts of nature you'd otherwise not be able to see. They're great for biking or hiking. But the very best part of this pair of trails is that just north of Heafford Junction they cross the small break in Lake Nokomis and take you right to Windmill Ice Cream Shop. Basically, it's the perfect summer hike. The southern terminus of this trail is in Sara Park, located at 900 W Somo Ave., Tomahawk, WI 54487. The northern terminus is at Torpey Park, 806 US-51, Minocqua, WI 54548.
8. August - Dike Trail -Hartman Creek State Park
Hartman Creek State Park, Emmons Creek Barrons State Natural Area and Fishery, and Pope Lake State Natural Area are all connected to provide more than 2,000 acres of protected lands in the Chain O’Lakes area of the state. If you head on the part of Dike Trail that leaves from the horse parking area and heads north before turning east to go around Hartman Lake, you'll find a nice, easy hike that's about two miles long. And near the end, you'll come to the Hartman Lake beach. Or park at the beach, do the whole loop and come back to take a dip when you're done! Hartman Creek State Park is located at N2480 Hartman Creek Rd., Waupaca, WI 54981.
9. September - Pothole Trail and Horizon Rock Trail - Interstate State Park
Even early in the season, you'll spot the leaves changing here. The Pothole Trail is just a 0.4 mile loop. The Horizon Rock Trail connects the Pothole Trail to the Ice Age Center via a 0.5 mile linear trail, so in less than two miles, you can cover some amazing, beautiful ground. You simply cannot match the amazing views on these two short trails that connect. You see gorgeous rock formations, the St. Croix National Riverway, amazing color and the steep gorge while hiking the very end of the Ice Age Trail in what is arguably the most geologically interesting part of the whole 1,000 miles. Interstate Park is located in St. Croix Falls, on Wisconsin Highway 35 just 1/2 mile south of U.S. Highway 8.
Learn more at the W
10. October - Doughboys Trail - Copper Falls State Park
Copper Falls State Park is home to the Bad River as well as Copper Falls, Brownstone Falls and the Tyler Cascades. There’s a 1.7 mile hike called the Doughboys Nature Trail that lets you see all of them as well as the ancient lava that forms much of the landscape. Hiking here is amazing as it contains part of the North Country Trail. There are footbridges that take you up and over some of the most spectacular and interesting rock formations. The base of the gorges here is actually basalt - ancient lava from volcanoes that once covered the area
Located at Copper Falls State Park is located at 36664 Copper Falls Rd., Mellen, WI 54546.
11. November - Willow Springs Trail - Blue Mounds State Park
Catch the end of the fall colors and get sweeping views of the surrounding countryside on this beautiful hike. The Willow Springs Trail is two miles long and goes through the forest, past a stand of willows and to a natural spring that flows year round and provided water for the first settlers to the area. Located at 4350 Mounds Park Rd, Blue Mounds, WI 53517.
12. December - Lapham Peak - Kettle Moraine South Unit
With a tower to view the whole area and multiple trails lengths and difficulties to choose from, there's no good reason to put off a trip to Lapham Peak. It's an ideal place for Milwaukeeans to get back in nature. The park is open Park hours: 7:00 am – 9:00 pm During the snow season, the 2.5 mile lighted loop is lit Monday through Saturday until 9:00 pm. The park closes at 5 pm on Sundays. W329 N846 County Road C, Delafield, WI 53018
These are just some suggestions for great places to hike in the new year. We’d love to hear what other trails you love – tell us in the comments what spots should be on our to-hike list in 2019!
If we wanted to, we could have make a list of just waterfall hikes. We gave you a bunch of diversity, but if checking out all the great waterfalls in Wisconsin is on your to-do list,
check out this awesome compilation and start planning!