Wisconsin is positively chock full of parks at the state, county and city level that are perfect for exploring. Getting outside to discover the beauty of our great state is a fabulous way to enjoy the warmer weather, but for a lot of folks who don’t consider themselves outdoors-people, starting to hike can be a bit intimidating. Before you go out and purchase hiking gear or start reading up on outdoor guides, you can spend some time on these paved or boardwalk trails that give you access to the beautiful outdoors without putting you on steep inclines or muddy paths. Whether you’re looking to get your kids used to hiking or you were just stuck on ideas on how to get started, these 11 spots are a great place for beginners to get outside and discover more of what makes Wisconsin great.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Kohler Andrae State Park Cordwalk - Sheboygan
This gorgeous trail moves over and around the sand dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The two mile trail offers gorgeous scenery and is one of the best spots in the state, honestly.
Address: 1020 Beach Park Lane, Sheboygan, WI, 53081.
2. Bearskin Trail - Minocqua to Tomahawk
This converted railroad trail follows the Bearskin Creek. It's 21.5 miles long and takes you places not normally accessible, including over lakes. You can hike or bike and a state trail pass is required. The north terminus is in Minocqua and the south terminus is in Tomahawk. You can hike any or all of the portions.
Address: 900 West Somo Avenue, Tomahawk, WI, 54487.
806 US-51, Minocqua, WI, 54548.
3. Lake Kegonsa State Park Prairie Trail - Stoughton
This 1.3 mile trail is paved in crushed limestone and is a perfect spot for wildlife viewing. Not far from Madison, it's a perfect introductory spot. There's a swimming beach here, as well, so you could plan a day with the perfect cool off after you hike.
Address: 2405 Door Creek Rd, Stoughton, WI 53589
4. Horicon Marsh - Horicon
There's a long boardwalk that takes you out into some of the water for spectacular wildlife viewing as well as a number of other trails. While the trails aren't paved, they are all very flat, making this an easy gateway stop.
Address: N7725 Highway 28, Horicon, WI, 53032.
5. Crescent Beach Boardwalk - Algoma
Connecting the visitor's center to the marina, this boardwalk is right along the beach and offers gorgeous views of Lake Michigan. At just a half mile, it's another great starter spot, though if you're looking for more, there are paved paths along this part of the shore to extend your stroll.
Address: 1226 Lake Street, Algoma, WI, 54201.
6. Heart of Vilas Trail - St. German
This trail extends for more than 50 miles and has 20 different parking lots along the way, meaning you can make it as long or short of a hike as you'd like. It's also a bike trail, so make sure you keep your eyes out, but it's a great and gorgeous spot. Much of the path travels through the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. There are waysides, restrooms and stopping points all along the trail, as well as campground and hotels. You could spend a few days exploring this beautiful part of the state.
Address: 473 WI-70, St Germain, WI, 54558..
7. Lower Yahara River Trail
The Lower Yahara River Trail is a 2.5 mile stretch of boardwalk that connects the suburb of McFarland to Madison. The path meets up with the Capital City Trail path to give access to the capital city. It starts off in McDaniel Park in McFarland and follows old railway lines across Lake Waubesa.
Address: 4806 McDaniel Lane, McFarland, WI, 53558.
8. Kettle Moraine State Forest Lapham Peak Unit - Delafield
This is a 1.8 mile paved trail that goes through prairie and woods. Close to Milwaukee, it's a great beginner spot with lots of gorgeous forest and the possibility of wildlife. This path connects to the viewing tower, as well.
Address: W329 N846, County Rd C, Delafield, WI, 53018.
9. Green Circle Trail - Stevens Point
This trail is 30 miles long and travels all over the city of Stevens Point. It's either paved or made of crushed granite. There's a boardwalk as part of a 2.3 mile segment called Moses Creek and a 1.2 mil part along the Wisconsin River.
Address: 100 Bukolt Avenue, Stevens Point, WI, 54481.
10. Great Sauk State Trail - Sauk City
The plan for this trail is to connect Sauk City to Devil's Lake State Park. For now, it's a 10.5 mile trail that's a railroad conversion that gives you gorgeous views of the Wisconsin River and is a prime spot for bald eagle viewing.
Address: 700 VFW Drive, Sauk City, WI, 53583.
11. Big Bay Beach State Park Boardwalk - LaPoint
Get gorgeous views of this Lake Superior island that's part of the Apostle Islands from this gorgeous state park. The boardwalk offers glimpses of the water and a beautiful stroll through the woods.
Address: 2402 Hagen Road, La Pointe, WI, 54850.
Learn more about the Bearskin Trail and how you can visit an amazing ice cream shop while hiking it