Wisconsin is full of great natural areas. As the weather starts to cool down, you’ll be tempted to get out and explore. There is so much great scenery to see, so much that you will probably not see it all. But here are 15 trails to help get you started.
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. Devil's Lake State Park
This is the most visited state park in Wisconsin, and people love to come here for the 360 acre lake. Check out the wonderful rock formations, including the famous Devil's Doorway. There are paths here for a variety of fitness levels.
2. Ice Age Trail
There are only 11 national scenic trails in the United States, and this is one of them. It's actually entirely contained within the state of Wisconsin. Because it is over 1,000 miles long, you go through a variety of terrains such as prairie, forest, and water.
3. Amnicon Falls State Park
See loads of waterfalls at this state park. There are numerous scenic overlooks to check out the falls. Our favorites are from the few pedestrian bridges they have. There's nothing like hearing the water rumbling below you.
4. Horicon Marsh
You might not think to visit Horicon Marsh, the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. It is great for seeing wildlife, but great to walk around just to see the water. A new path that takes you over the water is truly amazing.
5. Wyalusing State Park
At this state park, you will get a great view of the Missisippi River below. It is located 500 feet above the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. Dramatic bluffs along the water, as well as scenic overlooks, make this some place you definitely have to hike.
6. Peninsula State Park
This 4,000 acre state park is the crown jewel of Door County. Make sure to check out Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, built in 1868. If you can, get out to Horseshoe Island, accessible by boat and open for hiking.
7. Kohler-Andrae State Park
Golden sands and blue waters--doesn't sound like Wisconsin, does it? Behind the beach, trails wind through pines. Enjoy the breeze coming off the lake as you walk through these trails.
8. Perrot State Park
This should be on everyone's bucket list, specifically Brady's Bluff Trail (which has this awesome view). But there are several trails for you to explore here. Native Americans and French explorers knew this area quite well, and it is cool to walk where they did.
9. Mirror Lake State Park
This might be the clearest lake in all of Wisconsin, hence the name. The lake is surrounded by beautiful sandstone bluffs that go up 50 feet or so. Hike the Hag's Crag Trail for a great overlook of the entire park.
10. Willow River State Park
Many tails will wind you through waterfalls. The great news is that even if you aren't in great shape, you can see them.The Willow Falls Hills Trail is only half a mile. There are other trails for greater fitness levels, too.
11. Nordic Trail
Located in Kettle Moraine, this trail is great for both hiking and cross-country skiing. You'll love walking between the uniformly lined, thin trees. There are 18 miles of manicured trails.
12. Bong Recreation Area
One of the most underrated recreation areas in Wisconsin, this park has a lot going for it. There are prairies to walk through, and there is a lake area to explore. Lots of beautiful birds enjoy this area, too.
13. Governor Dodge State Park
This park is known for its steep hills and bluffs (pictured here). It also has some deep valleys. There are also two lakes here, as well as a waterfall.
14. Lions Den Gorge
This 73 acre park is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Scenic overlooks of the lake over the bluffs will take your breath away. Cross bridges or go down the stairs to get right on the beach.
15. Whitefish Dunes State Park
There aren't tons of dunes in Wisconsin, but these are some of the best in the state. A great boardwalk lets you walk right on the beach. There are wetlands to explore, as well as forested areas.