Best Backpacking in Wisconsin

This list represents the most popular backpacking in Wisconsin. Use this list to plan your next Wisconsin backpacking trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

Learn more about Top Trails

#1. Marengo River / Porcupine Lake


If you are looking for a long hike in the wilderness, this segment of the North Country Trail passes through the Chequamegon National Forest, passing the ruins of a historic settlement, crossing river…
From the guidebook "Hiking Wisconsin"
Mellen, WI - Backpacking, Hiking - 22.6 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Deer Island Lake


A quiet trail through one of the largest stands of virgin forest in the upper Midwest. Loons on wilderness lakes. Sylvania, with its 17,000 acres of virgin forest and thirty-six named lakes, is no str…
From the guidebook "Hiking Wisconsin"
Land O'Lakes, WI - Backpacking, Hiking - 21.2 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Lake Geneva and Big Foot Beach State Park


Only 45 minutes from General Billy Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee and ninety minutes from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the Lake Geneva area of south-central Wisconsin's Walwort…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Elkhorn, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#4. Clark Lake


One of the largest stands of virgin forest in the upper Midwest and a quiet, non-motorized lake. When hikers stand at the north end of Clark Lake, with its picnic area and boat ramp, they could easily…
From the guidebook "Hiking Wisconsin"
Land O'Lakes, WI - Backpacking, Hiking - 7.6 miles
Published by Falcon Guides

#5. New Glarus, Sugar River Bike Trail, and New Glarus Woods State Park


Green County reminds the traveler of the verdant green hills and meadows of Switzerland. Not only present-day visitors but also early settlers got that same impression. South-central Wisconsin could h…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Belleville, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#6. Burlington and Elkhorn


No chocolate fanatic can possibly skip a visit to Burlington, home of Nestle Chocolate Company, USA. A day trip here is especially fun in the middle of May, when the annual Chocolate Festival revs up.…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Elkhorn, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#7. Madison and Middleton


Wisconsin's capitol, Madison, is affectionately called "Mad City" by the locals. This is probably for good reason. Not only is the city the state's political power center, with all the attendant intri…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Madison, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#8. Port Washington, Belgium, Lake Church, and Harrington Beach State Park


This jaunt out of Milwaukee is a short, quick drive to several fun places just north of the city via U.S. 43/W-32. Within a forty-five-minute drive, you combine a peek into small-town life with vistas…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Belgium, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#9. Manitowoc, Two Rivers, and Point Beach State Forest


From Sheboygan drive north on I–43 only 27 miles to Manitowoc, the next stop on a day-tripper’s guide for fun near Milwaukee. The freeway parallels the shore of Lake Michigan, although for some of the…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Two Rivers, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#10. Old World Wisconsin and Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit


Ten thousand years ago, the glaciers crunched across Wisconsin and flattened the landscape. The towering ice sheets, like a giant bulldozer, filled in low spots and dumped a trail of rubble when they…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Dousman, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#11. Kenosha


Kenosha, voted the "Second Best City to Raise a Family" by Readers Digest magazine, has been one of Wisconsin's best-kept secrets. Nestled tightly against the shores of Lake Michigan, Kenosha lies bet…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Kenosha, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#12. Grafton, Saukville, West Bend, and Pike Lake State Park


For a fast getaway to a relatively rural area close to Milwaukee, this road trip can be done in a day or served up in delightfully delicious morsels. A drive around this part of Wisconsin, barely an h…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
West Bend, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#13. Wisconsin Dells and Baraboo


The Wisconsin Dells symbolize tourism in the Midwestern consciousness. Flatlanders from Illinois, Cheese Heads from Milwaukee, and others from around the area have been flocking here since shortly bef…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Wisconsin Dells, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#14. Oshkosh


Oshkosh is the seat of Winnebago County, located on the west shore of Lake Winnebago and the mouth of the Fox River. The city is only 19 miles north of Fond du Lac and 80 miles north of Milwaukee, mak…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Oshkosh, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#15. Spring Green, Tower Hill State Park, and Plain


The Spring Green area offers a ton of activities that capture the fancy of the day-tripper. A jaunt here—just to the west of Madison—can be an extension of a trip there or can be a direct run in from…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Spring Green, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#16. Plymouth, Elkhart Lake, Greenbush, and Kettle Moraine State Forest


This region is easily accessed from a continuation of Sheboygan–Sheboygan Falls–Kohler. The rolling countryside is resplendent with maple, oak, and birch marking woodlots between the farmsteads. A dri…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Plymouth, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#17. Fond du Lac


French explorers first visited the Fond du Lac area in the early 1700s and established a trading outpost on the south shore of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest body of water at 215 square miles. Wi…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Fond du Lac, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#18. Cedar Grove, Oostburg, and Kohler-Andrae State Parks


After leaving Harrington Beach State Park, drive north along Sauk Trail Road and cross from Ozaukee County into Sheboygan County. This is Dutch country, with neat farms, fat cows, and well-tended fiel…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Oostburg, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#19. Oconomowoc, Delafield, and Dousman


No matter the season, this westernmost section of Waukesha County offers plenty of things to do. Parks, lakes, campgrounds, and quaint little stores dot the area, connected by a series of state highwa…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Delafield, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press

#20. Green Bay and De Pere


Explorer Jean Nicolet visited Green Bay in 1634 in his search for a route to the Orient. He found an abundance of furs instead, prompting the French government to eagerly claim every inch of the new l…
From the guidebook "Day Trips from Milwaukee"
Green Bay, WI - Backpacking, Hiking
Published by The Globe Pequot Press