10 Best Hiking Trails in Wisconsin

best hiking trails in wisconsin

Wisconsin is endowed with rich natural sceneries which are bound to create unforgettable hiking experience to any hiking enthusiast. If you love exploring breathtaking natural sceneries, spectacular water body masses, and expansive landscapes, then Wisconsin is the right place to visit. Here, you will get an opportunity to connect with nature’s goodness, unwind, and enjoy the fresh air emanating from the surrounding leafy forests. 

There is an existing notion that the best of sceneries can only be found around the areas touching the oceans. But you will be surprised to find that nature has hidden exciting landmarks and sceneries in the heart of Wisconsin. The sceneries are numerous and every moment is golden. The best way of getting the most of out all this is by following the major hiking trails. Below are 10 best hiking trails in Wisconsin which will give you an opportunity to enjoy the most of Wisconsin natural and historic endowments. 

1. Gibraltar Rock

Gibraltar Rock is found 23 miles from Madison. You can start your trail from Lodi, and follow the wooden path which leads to the cliffs of Gibraltar rock. Here, you will be able to get a panoramic view of the expansive landscape overlooking the croplands, the cattle dairy farms, and the winding Wisconsin River Valley. Looking to the north, you will be able to see Lake Wisconsin which from the Gibraltar Rock appears as a flat shiny extensive piece of sheet. If your eyes can stretch further, you will also be able to admire the sloppy Baraboo Hills. 

If watching the natural landscape from the top of Gibraltar Rock is not your main hiking activity, you can opt to follow a trail up the cliffs which starts from County Road V. This trail is 2.8 miles long and you will pass through thick pines, tall red oak trees, and get an opportunity to see raptors frequently swoop from the cliff and gliding in the air. It’s important to note that rock climbing is prohibited in this area.

2. Copper Falls State Park

Copper Falls State Park is another hiking location which is guaranteed to give you the needed hiking thrill. Within the Copper Falls State Park is North Country National Scenic Trail which covers 9. 2 miles within the boundaries of the park. The trail infrastructure was built in 1929 during the Great Depression period. By just using this trail, you will be connecting to the rich American past and feel one with the architects of American Democracy. 

On the trail, you are bound to encounter a wide variety of birds and scenic views including the Bad River and the two waterfalls emanating from this river. If you get tired, you can opt to camp at the state park and explore other natural wonders such as the rocky nooks, churning waters, and the famous Devil’s gate the next day. 

3. Quincy Bluff

Quincy Bluff made it to the best hiking trails in Wisconsin because of its underdeveloped nature which has made it preserve the old life in the midst of modernism and development. Quincy Bluff is located 20 miles from Wisconsin Dells. Once you are in Quincy Bluff, you will get an opportunity to view the Lone Rock and explore the surrounding areas through a 2 miles trail where you are likely to encounter bobcats, wooded ridges, and a wide assortment of vegetation and natural formations. 

4. Devil’s Lake

This is one of the heavily visited places in Wisconsin. It’s part of the Ice Age Trail and features dramatic sceneries such as the breathtaking Devil’s lake which has an area coverage of 360 acres, magnificent rock ledges, and green lush vegetation surrounding the Devil’s lake. You can start your hike at the Sauk Point or from the cliff tops surrounding the lake. Either way, you will get a spectacular view of the lake and enjoy the refreshing natural beauty surrounding this great water body mass.

5. Scuppernong Trail

The Scuppernong Trail is found in Kettle Moraine State Forest which boasts of 22,000 acres of lush and forested landscape. This state forest can easily be accessed from Milwaukee. You can as well get here by traveling 61 miles eastwards from Madison.

The Scuppernong Trail located on the north side of this state forest offers hikers two trailing options. You can choose to follow the 5.4 miles long Green Loop trail or use the 5.6-mile trail which intersects with the famous Ice Age Trail. These hiking options are perfect for those who love skiing and are best visited during winter.

6. University of Wisconsin Arboretum

This Arboretum features 1,200 acres of forest, prairie, and wetlands. And the good news is that it is in the heart of the city implying that you will not take long to get to this hiking site. Here, you will find a wide network of trails to follow. But two of these stand out as the best. 

The first one is the Wingra Marsh Trail which is around 1.6 miles long and goes through the outer side of the park giving you an opportunity to explore wildlife such as the deer and a wide variety of bird species. The second trail is the southernmost Green Prairie trail packed with marshy areas, pine needles, deciduous forests, and oak savanna lands.

7. Madeline Island

This is the largest island among the Apostle Islands located in Lake Superior. Here, you will get the Big Bay State Park which is the home to the rare species of nesting eagles and unique plant species. You can choose to hike for 9 miles and get to the enclosed lagoon with a long line of beaches and restaurants. Or still, you can choose the Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve and get an opportunity to watch birds, pick berries, ski, and snowshoe. 

8. Hixon Forest

This forest has 10 miles of hiking trail and is interconnected with other city parks giving you multiple hiking options. This place is best for trail running, kayaking, and fishing. If you are an enthusiastic bird watcher, then this place is the perfect spot for watching birds swoop, glide, and do all sorts of gimmicks in midair. 

9. Timm’s Hill Trail

If you love high-rise trails which will help you burn more calories and still enjoy the surrounding sceneries, then Timm’s Hill trail could be the best for you. Located in the little known Ogema town, Timm’s Hill trail links the Ice Age Trail to one of the highest peaks in Wisconsin. The 10 miles trail will lead you to spectacular sceneries including the Rib Lake and its surrounding skiing facilities. 

10. Hank Aaron Trail

Hank Aaron Trail is an urban trail consisting of a wide network of sceneries which are bound to raise your exploratory spirit. This 12 miles’ trail interconnects with streets and paths leading to renowned sites such as the Milwaukee lakefront, Discovery World and other multiple facilities and sceneries. If you choose this trail, be sure to make a stop at Milwaukee Soldiers’ Home whose history goes back to 1865 during Abraham Lincoln’s reign as the President of the US. 

Conclusion

Wisconsin has a wide variety of trails to enrich the experience of any enthusiastic hiker.

The rich natural sceneries, historic sites, and national parks are bound to create unforgettable hiking experiences which most hikers look for. If you are planning a hiking adventure in the future, consider including one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin among your lists of top hiking destinations. 

Condition Yourself for Your Next Hiking: Learn the Exercises to Stay Fit

get in shape for hiking

Hiking is one of the most exciting yet challenging adventures you can have.

It may seem simple, but mind you, this is no walk in the park. The physical demands of hiking require you to be in good shape. Strength and balance are very important as you will encounter a lot of uphill trails.

Preparing for a hike is very important. Your current fitness level will give you a hint on what type of exercises you need for your much-awaited hike. Not only that, consider the level of difficulty of your hiking trail.

Is Body Conditioning Necessary?

Definitely! First, it is best to consult your doctor about what kind of body conditioning or exercises you need. Remember, each of us has a different body structure and health conditions. According to Mayo Clinic, it is still best to have yourself checked first to determine what kind of exercise is suitable for you.

Do remember that hiking is not just long walks. Don’t be overconfident that you do this regularly. It is still better to prepare for the hike.

I Do Brisk Walking Every Day. Why Do I Still Need to Train?

Yes, walking is a good start. Mind the last two words: GOOD START.

However, walking isn’t enough to help you last longer in your hiking trail.
Start your walking exercise from shorter to longer distances. This way, your muscles will be prepared gradually, especially when taking long hikes.

Other tips:

  • Walk with your backpack. You may start from carrying a light one, to the exact same size and the weight you will carry.
  • Walk in different paths. If ever you have a chance to walk in uneven areas around you, take this opportunity so your feet will get used to it.
  • Do this for two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes. This way, you give your muscles enough time to stretch.

Benefits of Training

Do not underestimate hiking. If not taken seriously, it will give you serious injuries. This is the reason why hikers really prepare and are very serious about it. 

Have fun while staying active: WebMD notes that one of the benefits of exercising is the release of happy hormones. It also gives you more strength that will be beneficial to you every day.

Reduce body pains: Our bodies are like machines. If not cared for, it may malfunction. Once your body is properly tuned up for your hike, all the muscles, tendons and ligaments will help support your body during your climb. It will also help develop muscle memory in times of difficult trails.

Hiking Exercises for You

First things first! STRETCH.

Every exercise or training starts with proper stretching. This warms up your body for the strenuous battle you will do. The absence of stretching can give you injuries. Imagine buying a car without test driving it. Do you think you’ll be safe on the road without knowing its different maneuvers? Dangerous, right? Same thing with your body.

STRETCHING

Calf: Find a wall for support. Step back with your right foot, pointing your toes to the wall. Bend your other leg forward. Do this for 20-30 seconds. Switch legs afterward.

Shoulder: Stand straight with legs apart. Rotate your shoulders in forwarding manner. Do this for 15 seconds. Repeat in a reverse manner.

Hamstring: Stand while crossing the right foot over the left. Lower your forehead towards your right knee by bending your waist. Do this for 20-30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

Wrist: Extend arm with palm facing the ceiling. Use your other hand to press the fingers toward the floor and back to the body. Do this for 20 seconds.

STRENGTH TRAINING

Mountain Climbers: Get into a push-up position. Bring your right foot forward towards your right elbow. Switch legs by bringing your left foot to your left elbow. Continue this for 30 seconds.

Planks: There are different kinds of planks. You may do all or one of them. Let’s do the side plank for this one. Go to your push-up position in sideways, resting your forearms while bending the elbow. Keep your body as straight as possible for about 30 seconds.

Russian Twists: Go to a push-up position. Raise back from the ground until it forms into a 45-degree angle. Twist your torso to the right, then to the left. Repeat for 30 seconds.

CARDIO EXERCISES

This exercises, you can actually start early. Walking is part of it, so if you have already incorporated it in your routine, good job!

Now, you may also want to try swimming, running and even biking. You can do this three or four times a week for about 30 minutes. It is also recommended to do a simple day hike before the actual one so you can test your strength and build agility and balance.

Enjoy Your Hike!

Above all the given exercises for hiking, the most important thing is for you to enjoy.

If this is your first time hiking, you do the above exercises regularly not only when preparing for a hike, but also a form of your regular exercise.

You will see, during or after your hike, that you have more strength because you came prepared. Have fun and climb to the top!