September 12, 2017


Hiking in West Bend

The best time for a hike

Fall colors are starting to appear throughout the state, so now’s the time to hit the trails! Here are some of the best spots in the state to enjoy the beauty of the season.

Kettle Moraine State Forest

The Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is located near West Bend, just 45 minutes northwest of Milwaukee. Here you can hike, bike, camp, fish and paddle. The area was formed by glaciers which changed the landscape, adding kettles and eskers, ridges and cliffs.

Explore the Parnell Tower Loop Trail, a 3.5-mile loop with a series of steps leading to the highest point in the forest. You can climb the 60-foot observation tower for a stunning view of the fall colors.

Or bring your bike and check out the New Fan Loop System Trails – four loops of moderately challenging mountain biking trails interconnected with four hiking trail loops. The area is thickly forested and skirts a large pond.

Hiawatha Trail and Bearskin State Trail

These trails run from Tomahawk in Lincoln County to Minocqua in Oneida County. Both are former railroads and are level, for an easy hike or bike. The trails pass through city parks so the kids can explore the playgrounds while you take in the colors.

Both Lincoln and Oneida counties are packed with lakes and rivers, so you’ll cross over the water more than a dozen times on these trails. Keep an eye out for herons and wood ducks!

Schmeeckle Reserve

Located in Stevens Point in the center of Wisconsin, this 280-acre natural area can be found on the UW-Stevens Point campus. There are five miles of trails and boardwalks that wind through pine forests, meadows, cattail marshes, prairie, oak woodlands and through wetlands.

The Trail of Reflections is a short, wheelchair-accessible trail great for seeing fall color. You’ll come across a reflection pond and a treehouse, plus it’s a great spot for wildlife viewing. Look for birds, fox, deer and waterfowl!

Blue Hills ATV Trails

You’ll find the Blue Hills near Ladysmith in Rusk County. If you like to ATV, this is the place to take in the fall color. There are 24 miles of ATV trails that skirt lakes and have plenty of terrain changes to keep you interested. This is a great spot to visit early in the morning – this area gets its name from the blueish hue the hills have when seen through the morning mist.

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