If you are a Wisconsin native, or staying nearby this upcoming summer, and are a fan of the outdoors, fill up your S’well, pack your ENO and check out one of these five amazing hiking spots located conveniently in Wisconsin.
With the school year coming to a close, the idea of a summer adventure can slowly start creeping back into students’ minds. If you are anything like me, though, saving money might not be your forte, especially around finals season, and you may now be questioning what type of trip you can take this summer with the small amount of money left in your bank account.
Luckily, all you will need is a full tank of gas and a few extra dollars for a day pass to get you to one of these five, arguably best, state parks.
Devil’s Lake State Park (Baraboo, WI)
Located just over 90 minutes outside of Madison, Devil’s Lake, the largest state park in Wisconsin, makes the drive worth the view. The park accommodates those who either want to hang out on the beach or want to climb to new heights with the many bluffs surrounding the lake. Pack lots of water, as this hike can get very hot very fast. Also, be sure to check out the Balanced Rock and Devil’s Doorway formations during your hike!
Peninsula State Park (Fish Creek, WI)
This state park allows you to enjoy the scenic views of Lake Michigan and various bluffs while on your hike. You’ll have the opportunity to explore caves during this moderately difficult hike. If you need to cool off, take a quick dip in the lake! However, beware; this is a popular tourist destination during the summer and can get busy quickly!
High Cliff State Park (Sherwood, WI)
It is not named High Cliff State Park for the fun of it. Located on Lake Winnebago, this hidden gem incorporates variations of quiet woods, very high cliffs and beautiful water views. The trails are moderately easy to navigate and offer a peaceful, nature-filled adventure. The park also provides a piece of history located on the Indian Mounds Trail and features a series of effigy mounds. To get a beautiful, panoramic view of the park, climb the 40-foot observation tower located near the beginning of the Red Bird trail.
Copper Falls State Park (Mellen, WI)
For this state park, do go chasing waterfalls. The Bad River flows right through and the park features the Copper and Brownstone Falls, the Tyler Forks Cascades and picture-perfect gorges. The Red Granite Falls are located near the southern part of the park, and the views and trails are arguably not as impressive or as well maintained as the other falls and cascades located in the heart of the park. These falls are more like rapids and are a disappointment after the breathtaking views of the other falls. I would suggest starting at Red Granite Falls so you are not let down like I was. Overall, though, this park should be on your list to visit soon.
Willow River State Park (Hudson, WI)
Willow River State Park is a mixture of prairie and woodland hiking before you encounter the iconic Willow Falls. All of the trails are wide and spacious — perfect for when there are a lot of visitors. You are able to both overlook and climb right down beside the falls and wade into the water — an added bonus if you visit on a hot summer day. There is also a bridge in front of the falls that provides a perfect photo opportunity. Overall, the hiking trails are not too difficult, but there are some steep hills on certain trails that can test your ambition very quickly.
All five of these trails are perfect options for a day trip with friends. Take advantage of Wisconsin’s beautiful summer season, and go out, be active and explore some amazing hiking destinations this summer!