Take A Hike
It’s so easy to get stuck in the monotony of daily routine. For most, Monday through Friday is the same thing over and over again. Then comes the much awaited weekend. But instead of spending it doing the things you love, most people end up cleaning the house, doing laundry, grocery shopping and getting organized for the week ahead. This lifestyle is not healthy. We all need a way to release stress, recharge, center ourselves and feed our souls. One effective way to find this inner peace is through getting out in nature and exercising. Being that it’s spring and the weather has warmed up, why not try out a new hiking trail?
By proximity, Waukau Creek Nature Preserve offers the best local hike, with its lively stream embedded in the center of the trails. The preserve is 64 acres, holding Rush Creek, the only flowing stream in Winnebago County. It’s densely wooded, the trails are rustic with steep-walled ravines and tiny side trails throughout leading to the beautiful quaint stream. The hike is not physically demanding, the beauty of the stream will take your breath away and the peaceful sounds of nature have a soothing grounding effect.
Kettle Moraine State Park is a vast beautiful park that is scattered along a very long stretch of central Wisconsin. The northern point is the closest part of the park to Oshkosh, falling east of Fond du Lac and west of Sheboygan. This place is a hiking and biking enthusiasts dream with miles and miles of beautiful hiking and biking trails. There are 132 miles of trails in the north unit alone, too many trails to list here, but not too many to go out and discover on your own.
Set out to discover Hobbs Woods just south of Fond Du Lac. This is a 60-acre, thickly wooded county park. There is a beautiful creek, Parson Creek, running throughout the park. The creek harbors naturally reproducing brook trout. There are about three miles of relaxing trails; all are natural and well taken care of. This place is well worth the drive.
Not too far from Hobbs Woods is The Wild Goose State Trail. The trail is located in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties on an abandoned Chicago and Northwestern railroad corridor. The trail runs from the southern trailhead at Hwy 60 in Dodge County to the northern trailhead at Rolling Meadows Drive in the city of Fond Du Lac and passes by the Horicon Marsh along the way. Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. It’s also home to more than 290 kinds of birds. Horicon Marsh embodies five miles of trails offering hiking through woodlots, planted prairies and onto the marsh. Trails are flat and easy so anyone can enjoy this area. The trails lead you through three of the most common habitats in Wisconsin; woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands. The Horicon Habitat hike is surfaced with wood chips, mowed grass and gravel. Part of the trail leads you around Goose Pond with a dike constructed to flood the pond, which enhances the wildlife. With so much natural beauty, sounds of birds singing and a fresh crispness to the air that is divine, it is so worth the trip.
Peninsula State Park, in lovely Door County, offers a variety of trails for hikers and bikers. Sunset Bike Route, 9.6 miles long, is a pretty flat trail with rather fine gravel, allowing for wheel chair accessibility. Eagle trail is one of those can’t forget breathtaking trails; however you’ll have to work hard to experience it. This hike shows off its 150-foot cliffs, beautiful springs, and forest terraces while offering you a sneak peek at an ancient sea cave. Nicolet Bay is a moderate level 2.2-mile hike that passes by Nicolet Beach. There are a number of easy 1-3 mile hikes throughout the park as well, a little something for every activity level.
Whitefish Dunes State Park sits on the eastern shore of the Door Peninsula with luscious white beaches and few tourists. This park preserves sand dunes on the western shore of Lake Michigan with a mile and a half stretch beach. Several hiking trails are spread throughout the 863 acres, where you will find a historical reconstructed village. If you’re up for a cardio workout, you can hike up the stairs to Old Baldy, the highest sand dune in Wisconsin. This park offers such a variety of natural landscapes, it’s a must visit for anyone wishing to experience Wisconsin.
Door Bluff, AKA Headlands, in Door County offers undeveloped, all natural hiking trails. The trails will take you on top of bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. Throughout the hikes you’ll get glimpses of the lake through the trees, at some points you can see down to the rocky beaches. If you decide to venture off and hike these trails, expect to have the trail to yourself.
As the busiest Wisconsin state park, Devils Lake State Park is about three miles south of Baraboo and offers various hiking trails – all of which are amazing. Balanced Rock trail is a very steep trail, resembling an uneven rocky staircase, which takes you to a beautiful scenic view. Tumbled Rocks is another beautiful trail, which follows along the lakeshore winding through boulders and talus fields. East Bluff trail is a wooded trail and is the most gradual way up the bluff with scenic vistas of the lake. Parfrey’s Glen trail takes you through the hushed narrow gorge covered with moss and ferns and a stream at the bottom of the glen. Putting this park on your list of weekend activities will not be something you’ll regret.
Ellison Bluff County Park is located off state highway 42 on the northern side of the Door County Peninsula. The park is approximately 174 acres, offering the most picturesque overlooks of Lake Michigan’s Green Bay as well as natural hiking trails. The hiking trails range greatly in terrain. Some of the trails are very steep and rocky while others are flat with crushed stone. The trails offer you a glimpse of great scenic vistas of the surrounding shoreline.
At Newport State Park, northeast of Ellison Bay, you can choose between walking along the beach or through the woods. Newport offers 38.3 miles of trails amidst 2300 acres. It also holds 16 backpack campsites with food storage bins, benches and fire pits and every site. There are 11 miles of the Michigan shoreline to hike along with a combination of sandy beach, rocky shoreline and unique rock formations.
Get out there and try out these trails for both your physical and mental health. As Garrison Keillor put it, “Walk out the door and find good health. There is no fever that a ten-mile hike can’t cure.”