Hiking the Black Trail at Cave Point in Door County



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Cave Point County Park in Door County WI
Cave Point County Park in Door County WI

Cave Point is fast becoming one of Door County's most popular natural sights. Lake Michigan waves pound the rocky coastline here and have created wondrous sea caves. There are a few short trails along the bluffs at Cave Point, but an additional loop trail, the Black Trail, explores the hardwood forest set back from the shore and connects to the Whitefish Dunes State Park trail system.

The Black Trail is an adventure in its own right - and among the best nature walks in Door County. It is a 3 mile lollipop covering mild terrain. It begins and ends at the Whitefish Dunes State Park Parking Lot. 

Door County Hiking Trails



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Door Bluff Headlands County Park
Door Bluff Headlands County Park

Getting close to nature is one of the top reasons to visit Door County. The rocky Door peninsula is surrounded by Lake Michigan and Green Bay. The natural scenery and vistas of Door County landscape make for ideal hiking. The county is home to 5 large state parks - each with a network of hiking trails. The Door peninsula is also orbited by a number of islands waiting to be explored. This article spotlights some of the most popular hiking trails Door County. 

Hiking the Dunes Cordwalk at Kohler Andrae State Park


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The Dune Cordwalk Trail at Kohler Andrae State Park in Sheboygan WI
The Dune Cordwalk Trail at Kohler Andrae State Park in Sheboygan WI

The Dune Cordwalk Trail is a 1.3 mile linear footpath through the Kohler Dunes State Natural Area at Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan. This unusual trail is surfaced with a string of cord wood planks pinned into sand dunes. The strange landscape of shifting ground makes walking this trail feel like exploring a distant planet.

Hiking at Plum Island in Door County



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Abandoned Coat Guard Lifesaving Station at Plum Island in Door County WI
Abandoned Coast Guard Lifesaving Station at Plum Island in Door County WI

Plum Island is located off the tip of Door County between Northport and Washington Island. Until recently it was the property of the Coast Guard which operated a range light and life saving station between the front and back door channels of Port Des Morts passage (translated to Deaths Door).

The Island was closed to the public until recently when the land was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It is now open to the public throughout the summer months. But, getting there is still a trick. You'll need to motorboat, sail, or kayak to Plum Island if you want to trek it's 3 miles of hiking trails. 

Hiking at Ridges Sanctuary in Door County



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Ridges Sanctuary Boardwalk in Bailey's Harbor Door County WI
Ridges Sanctuary Boardwalk in Bailey's Harbor Door County WI

An unusual textured landform at Bailey's Harbor caught early attention from conservationists. As Lake Michigan receded over time it left behind earthwork impressions of waves - a series of parallel sand dune ridges and wetland swales. This landscape was difficult to build on, but it turned out to be the perfect refuge for rare plants and wildlife.

In 1937 The Ridges were protected as the first land trust in Wisconsin. Today 1600 acres of  pristine land and indigenous ecosystem are preserved. A nature center in Bailey's Harbor hosts most visitors and this is the starting point for a network of hiking trails that exceeds 5 miles combined. These walks are very easy with many of them being on boardwalks. 

Hiking Toft Point in Door County



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Toft Point State Natural Area in Bailey's Harbor Door County
Toft Point State Natural Area in Bailey's Harbor Door County

On the quiet side of Door County is a not often visited state natural area at Toft Point. There is a 1 mile linear hike (2 miles out-n-back) that cuts across this 700+ acre preserve. The trail passes beneath cedar, hemlock, white pine, and sugar maple canopies on its way out to the former homestead and guest cabins of the Toft family. Hikers enjoy taking the walk out to the cobblestone shoreline in a forest that feels remote and similar to those found in Canada. 

Hiking Door Bluff Headlands in Door County



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Deathdoor Bluff at Door Bluff County Park in Door County WI
Deathdoor Bluff at Door Bluff County Park in Door County WI

Door Bluff Headlands is a county park perched on a bluff overlooking Green Bay at the end of the Port Des Morts Passage between Gills Rock and Washington Island. You'll find several unmarked trails crisscrossing this county park. I recommend what I am dubbing the blue trail - a 2.5 mile moderate loop.

Hiking Ellison Bluff State Natural Area in Door County



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Ellison Bluff State Natural Area in Door County WI
Ellison Bluff State Natural Area in Door County WI

Ellison Bluff County Park and State Natural Area is a popular diversion on the northern tip of Door County at Ellison Bay WI. It features an unforgettable viewing platform that cantilevers off the bluff and is an ideal sunset watching spot. There is also a 1 mile loop trail that is wide and paved with crushed stone. 

Hiking the Red Trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park



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Red Trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County
Beach Access #2 Red Trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County

The Red Trail at Whitefish Dunes State Park is a 3 mile loop which leads to three beach access points, to the top of Old Baldy Lookout, and through the Whitefish Dunes State Natural Area. The eastern portion of the trail is the main route for accessing the beach and is open to bicycles as wells as walkers and joggers. The complete loop is a rock star among hikes in the state of Wisconsin, offering a scenic and unforgettable one hour hike. 

Hiking the Ice Age Trail Pike Lake Segment



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Ice Age Trail Pike Lake Segment in Hartford WI
Ice Age Trail Pike Lake Segment in Hartford WI

The Pike Lake trail is a is a 2.3 mile segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. It crosses through the extents of the Pike Lake Unit of the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest. This "unit" (formerly called a state park) is a recreational area with camping, a beach, fishing piers, picnic areas, and lawns for picnic games. The Pike Lake Unit features a few hiking trails in addition to the IAT and a popular trail up Powder Hill to an observation tower.

Hiking the Lapham Peak Segment of the Ice Age Trail



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Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Ice Age Trail Lapham Peak Segment near Delafield WI
Lapham Peak is one of the major segments of the Ice Age Trail in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. It packs in almost 9 miles linear and crosses a variety of terrain. A level 5 mountaineering climb ascends on both sides of Lapham Peak to an observation tower. Other connecting and intersecting trails at the Lapham Unit of the State Forest can be combined with the IAT to create loop options for day hikers. For long distance hikers, a hikers campsite is available half way up Lapham Peak. 

Hiking the Waterville Segment of the Ice Age Trail



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Ice Age Trail Waterville Segment in Waterville WI
Ice Age Trail Waterville Segment in Waterville WI

The Waterville Segment is a short 2 mile long segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Waukesha County. It is separated by roadway connecting routes between the adjacent Scuppernong and Lapham Peak segments. The Waterville Trail passes through lightly wooded greenways in an upscale residential neighborhood. There are few sights, but the gentle terrain is a breeze for seasoned hikers. 

Walking the Wisconsin Dells Riverwalk


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Along the Wisconsin Dells Riverwalk
The Wisconsin Dells Riverwalk offers unique views of a scenic stretch of the Wisconsin River along its entire length.

In 2003 the City of Wisconsin Dells moved to reclaim its most valuable resource, The Wisconsin River, by establishing a riverwalk and linear parkway on its banks. In 2016 a critical expansion of the Riverwalk was concluded nearly doubling its length.

The Wisconsin Dells Riverwalk is a 1/2 mile paved recreational path that begins in the heart of the Dells River Arts District on Broadway and continues to Crandalls Bay and marina on Illinois Avenue. The trail traces the banks of The Wisconsin River, meandering through a lush forested landscape that was previously inaccessible to the public. The length of the trail is punctuated by strategically placed overlooks and includes interpretative monuments which tell the history of Wisconsin Dells over 10 chapters. 

Hiking the Ice Age Trail Eagle Segment



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Along the Eagle Segment of the Ice Age Trail
Along the Eagle Segment of the Ice Age Trail


If there is one word to describe the Eagle Segment of the Ice Age Trail that word is wet. The Eagle Segment meanders along the edge of what was once Glacial Lake Scuppernong. This 5.25 mile linear footpath is mild and easy walking characterized by frequent boardwalks through low wetlands, prairies, and thin forests. The Trail passes through the Kettle Moraine Low Prairie and Scuppernong Prairie State Natural Areas. It also belongs to the larger Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. 

Hiking the Ice Age Trail Scuppernong Segment



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Adirondack Backpacking Shelter #1 on the Ice Age Trail Scuppernong Segment
Adirondack Backpacking Shelter #1 on the Ice Age Trail Scuppernong Segment 

The Scuppernong Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 5.6 mile linear footpath in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest. It is among the most popular segments of the IAT as the Scuppernong is immediately accessible to campers at the Pinewoods State Campground and Ottawa lake Recreational Area. It also includes a backpackers cabin; one of three in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest.

White River State Trail

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The White River State Trail is a bike and recreation trail set onto a retired rail bed. It traverses scenic rural countryside in the southern Kettle Moraine region and is near to major tourist destinations surrounding Lake Geneva. There is a gap in the trail at Burlington.

Hank Aaron State Trail

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The relatively new Hank Aaron State Trail pays tribute to the legendary baseball player for which it is named. This trail connects directly to the northern portions of the Oak Leaf Trail system at Lakeshore State Park directly across a lagoon from the Maier Festival Park where Summerfest is staged.

The Hank Aaron then winds along the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers through the industrial heart of Milwaukee - the Menomonee Valley. It continues westward passing the Harley Davidson Museum, Potawatomi Casino, Mitchell Park Domes, Miller Park Baseball Stadium, The State Fairgrounds, The Milwaukee County Zoo, and eventually connecting to the western portions of the Oak Leaf Trail System at Krueger Park.

During the multi-year reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange portions of the west end of the trail may be detoured or closed.

The Bugline Trail

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Among the most popular cycling trails in Wisconsin, The Bugline cuts through parkways in the suburban areas of Waukesha County. Shaded and winding, the trail is a supremely pleasant ride. Views of the expansive Lannon Quarries are a memorable feature.

Lake Country Recreational Trail

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A paved Waukesha County trail, the Lake Country Trail is a popular cycling route in the Milwaukee area. It weaves through a number of parks and includes a loop onto the acclaimed Veterans Memorial Riverwalk. This trail is well serviced with parking lots and restrooms distributed along its length. A few miles of the trail includes on-road connecting segments in designated bike lanes.

Wiouwash State Trail

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The Wiouwash State Trail is a recreational rail trail split into two segments. The North Segment runs from Eland to Hunting; the South Segment from Hortonville to Oshkosh.

The North Segment connects directly to the Mountain Bay State Trail in Eland. The majority of this trail is shaded by a leafy canopy.

The South Segment connects to the Friendship State Trail. Notable features of this segment include views of Lake Butte des Morts, a historic railroad trestle bridge over Little Lake Butte des Morts, and a route through the Rat River Wildlife Area.

Currently a 30 mile gap separates the two segments. The master plan calls for connecting the segments to seamlessly connect Oshkosh to Aniwa.