Best Easy Day Hikes Milwaukee  by Kevin Revolinski

Best Easy Day Hikes: Milwaukee Guide Book

by Kevin Revolinski (Falcon Guides)
Best Easy Day Hikes Milwaukee  by Kevin Revolinski
Best Day Hikes Milwaukee includes detailed maps, concise descriptions for 20 easy-to-follow hikes in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Discover a region of diverse scenery and natural splendors -- including Havenwoods State Forest, Petrifying Springs County Park, Lapham Peak Park, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, and the dunes of Kohler-Andrae State Park.

© 2010 Kevin Revolinski/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Best Easy Day Hikes: Milwaukee" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 20.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 20.

The 216-acre Falk Park is a thick collection of wet woodlands with some intermittent creeks flowing through. For the most part this is a well-shaded hike and you will hear a lot of birds, especially woodpeckers.
South Milwaukee, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.1
The scenic Fox River runs along one side of this woodand- wetlands park in Waukesha. The trail rolls with the land making this more than a stroll, and observation points will satisfy those looking for wildlife, especially waterfowl. The Fox River passes through Waukesha on its journey to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi. This hike, in contrast, is a much shorter journey, but its up-and-down terrain puts a little bit of work into it. The hiking trails are color-coded blue, red, and green. All of them are packed to facilitate hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. The route described here follows the green trail.
Bethesda, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
Enjoy a historic trail system that follows ravines and babbling brooks, creating a network of short paths along the shore of Lake Michigan. You’ll find more bridges to cross than the name suggests. You may count ten bridges, actually. Kids especially will love this network of trails and its Lannon stone paths and staircases laid out by more than two hundred Civilian Conservation Corps workers back in the 1930s. In the 1990s the Wisconsin Conservation Corps helped restore some of the steps and trails, and since 2006 the Milwaukee Conservation Leadership Corps has worked on conservation and erosion control. The trails crisscross and meander—but not very far—through the woods along brooks cradled in ravines. It doesn’t quite lend itself to loops but the joy here is random exploration, as well as access to the beach where you can see rising cliffs far to the north.
South Milwaukee, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
An often overlooked state park not far from the city, Harrington Beach offers the beauty of a 1-mile, undeveloped, sandy beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, a quarry lake, cedar lowland forest, and historical landmarks from an old mining community.
Belgium, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Though there are indeed rich woods within the park, the prairie flowers may steal the show and the wetlands offer even more variety. You may forget you are in the city as you walk down what feels like a classic country road. This 237-acre state forest is right inside the city limits. Homesteaders occupied this space in the nineteenth century, but then the county’s correctional facility took over. Army barracks and a Nike missile site also used the space before it became a preserve. The trails show abundant wildflowers in the prairie and woodland areas, and some restored wetlands round out the mix.
Greendale, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
This segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail passes through the Carl Schurz Forest over glacial moraines, and then descends into wetlands and lowland forest to follow the Oconomowoc River. This hike is even more impressive when fall colors hit their peak. The northern portion of this segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail travels primarily up and down moraines through the forest dedicated to Wisconsin conservationist Carl Schurz. The southern portion follows the marshy edge of the Oconomowoc River, which drains marshland in the Kettle Moraine area. If you see the yellow blazes on the trees, you are on the official Ice Age Trail. Blue blazes indicate spur trails; unmarked trails lead elsewhere. Remember, the trail passes over private land. Respect the privilege of its use by staying on the path and leaving nothing behind but footprints.
Merton, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.4
Hike a portion of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail as it passes through forest and prairie over moraines and kames. Then have a look at the Holy Hill Basilica on top of a 1,335-foot kame. From the top you can see all the way to Milwaukee. A national Shrine of Mary, Holy Hill Basilica is built atop a glacial formation called a kame, formed by debris deposited by a stream that once rushed straight down through the thick sheet of ice above. This segment of the Ice Age Trail approaches from the north, passes around the kame, and heads south. The best option for hiking this segment is to park in the middle of the hike on Station Way Road and hike the northern and southern halves each as out-and-back routes.
Plat, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.6
An easy escape from the city, this trail is short and sweet, buried in a hardwood forest. Now a national recreation trail, the hike is getting more attention. The fall colors are a must-see. These trails were first laid out in 2006. By 2009 the Kohl Park Hiking Trail had garnered some national attention when it was designated as a national recreation trail. The trail’s creation was a collaboration between Milwaukee County, local conservation groups, scouting groups, and West Fairy Chasm Drive.
Brown Deer, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
Set along a beautiful sandy beach on Lake Michigan, this state park protects a fragile ecosystem set among sand dunes. A cordwalk traverses the grass-covered rolling sands and offers views of the lake and rare plant species. The glaciers of the Wisconsin Period of the Ice Age carved out the basin that is now Lake Michigan, depositing fine sand. When the waters of the previous glacial lake receded, beaches emerged and winds created the dunes we see today. The cordwalk, a series of narrow planks that traverses the sands, offers a chance for hikers to responsibly see the fragile dunes and their uncommon plants.
Oostburg, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
Hike over glacial terrain amid hardwood forests on this section of an extensive trail system in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Don’t miss the Butterfly Garden at the center of the loop, and the 45-foot observation tower in the middle of the park. Lapham Peak is named for Wisconsin’s first great scientist and naturalist, Increase Lapham. The “peak” is a glacial formation known as a kame. Meltwater flowed straight down a hole in the 1-mile-thick ice sheet, carrying debris and depositing it in a cone shape. The kame terrace then was created by a large glacial river flowing past the kame.
Delafield, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Just as much meadow as it is forest, this trail gives a taste of what you might find at the venerable Lapham Peak Park and shows signs of Native American culture—the unusually bent marker trees are believed to indicate trails or water sources. Lapham Peak is a regular hiking mecca. Trails are color-coded and can be mixed and matched. The park signage clearly shows the colors, as do the trail maps that even list step-by-step trail difficulty if you want to avoid the leg burners. The two trails included in this guide tend toward the easy side, and the Meadow Trail is coded green. From the trailhead enter the meadow and take the trail going right (south).
Delafield, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Another one of Waukesha County’s fine parks, Muskego Park includes a two-acre swimming pond and a twenty-four-site campground. The trees this trail passes through are part of a sixty-acre hardwood preservation area populated primarily by old-growth white and red oaks but also maples, shagbark hickory, walnut, basswood, and, notably, Kentucky coffee tree and blue ash. The hardwood forest in Muskego Park is the subject of state scientific research, and the park’s wetlands give a nice balance to the hike. A sort of open-air museum—or graveyard of the agriculture days—is an interesting distraction along the trail.
Muskego, WI - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 1.4
The variety of landscapes in this park—including marshland, lakes, and hardwood forest—offers great habitat for birds and other wildlife, and the rolling terrain gives you scenic overlooks of the water and a little extra exercise. For a park of 443 acres, Nashotah has quite a variety of habitats. With lakes, wetlands, savanna, meadows, cedar glades, and hardwood forest, the park is home to a variety of plants and animals, in particular songbirds. There is a map board at the trailhead, as well as at most trail junctures throughout the hike.
Chenequa, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
Take the easy path around this nicely wooded park offering views of the Pike River, and then stop for a picnic in the center of the park or even a round of golf on the park’s course.
Somers, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.7
From a meadow overlook scan the horizon for miles around, then descend into one of the few places in this part of the state to observe the type of wetland known as a fen.
Waukesha, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Take a long stroll through one of the area’s most popular state park retreats. Trails pass through the largest managed grassland in this corner of the state and it’s just awash with wildflowers. This 4,515-acre state park is named for Wisconsin native and World War II flying ace, Major Richard I. Bong. Activities range from hiking and swimming to model airplane flying and hunting. The trail system collectively totals over 41 miles and hiking trails are color-coded. This is the largest managed grassland in southeastern Wisconsin and if you enjoy wildflowers, this is a hotspot for them. Benches are spread intermittently throughout.
Union Grove, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
Just a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Milwaukee, this lakeside nature center offers easy hikes through a rich preserve, all centered around an outstanding education facility. Fun for all ages, the center also offers organized hikes and other events for nature lovers.
Fox Point, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.1
Follow a self-guided nature trail through woods full of springs and patches of scenic wetland. The nature trail booklet has more to say about the human history of this spot.
Eagle, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
A scenic overlook gives a view for miles, and rolling hills through pine forest will invigorate the spirit. Popular with joggers, these trails offer three levels of difficulty all dependent on inclines. Not to be confused with Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail, this collection of three forest loops passes across higher ground than its neighbor. Also, unlike the springs trail, this area has pit toilets and drinking water. The trail doubles as a cross-country ski trail, and the short climbs up and over the roller-coaster terrain make this popular also for cross-country runners.
Eagle, WI - Cross-Country Skiing,Hiking,Trail Running - Trail Length: 5.4
The wildlife is abundant along this network of trails that combines woodlands and wetlands, prairie and savanna, for a nature lover’s perfect package. The center also offers a schedule of guided hikes and events. Woodland, oak savanna, prairie, and wetland are all neatly packed into this nature park within the larger Whitnall Park. A labyrinth of trails awaits, with an abundance of active wildlife—from songbirds and waterfowl to deer and their fawns—and a variety of wildflowers. There are a number of loop options depending on your interests and time. The route suggested here makes a circuit of the entire natural area, passing through a portion of all loops, but certainly you have the option of lingering in one loop or another. This is a park worth returning to often. Stop in at the nature center for information about what’s to see each time you visit.
Hales Corners, WI - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
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