As we make our way around to different destinations I plan to keep a list of hiking trails that we hike and hopefully will inspire some of you to try someday.
Hiking in the wilderness does something to a person that is hard to explain in words. It’s kind of like a mental release, a time to unplug from this crazy world and just be one with nature. On the trail you aren’t expected to have your hair and nails done, have matching clothes, or have the most stylish footwear. You can just grab a few items, put on your most comfortable footwear, and start walking until you forget about everything else except what’s right in front of you at that moment…..nature at it’s best.
Here is a growing list of trails we have hiked. Most will be in the Wisconsin area. Although, some will be found elsewhere. If you find a trail that may interest you and you would like more information, please feel to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suamico Trail: 2.5 miles roundtrip from the cul de sac located on Sunset Beach Lane to the sitting platform. This trail, as far as I know, has no name assigned to it yet. It’s fairly new and is a work in progress. It is crushed gravel, completely flat terrain, and offers a fabulous view as you walk along the Bay of Green Bay.
Devil’s Lake State Park: This park offers many trails, a complete loop, and some gorgeous bluff overlooks. Depending on what you like, how much time you have, and your physical condition, this park will have something for everyone. Here you can find five trails making an entire loop and the information regarding this hike. Honestly, each trail offers some fabulous views and I can not pick just one that is better than the other. You will encounter elevation,various types of trails(dirt,rock and paved) and don’t forget your cameras. It is very easy to end any hike at any moment so mileage can vary from point to point.
Ahnapee State Trail: This trail is 48 miles long and stretches from Sturgeon Bay, WI through Forestville, Algoma, Casco, Luxemburg, Kewaunee. It is crushed limestone and is flat terrain. There is parking located along many different sections of this trail and mileage will differ from point to point depending on where you choose to start. This is a great trail for geocaching.
Quarry Trail/ Homestead Loop in Rib Mountain State Park: Located in Wausau, WI this is a great trail with some elevation and different trail terrain throughout. A fine hike for adults with moderate ability.
Perrot State Park: Located in Trempealeau, WI offers great 500 foot bluff hiking with gorgeous views of the Mississippi River. Here you will find East Brady’s Bluff Trail (0.7 miles) and the West Brady’s Bluff Trail (0.5 miles) which both bring you to the top of an amazing bluff for some great cardio benefits and photos. After this you may also want to attempt the Perrot Ridge Trail (1.5 miles) although this is a mighty climb and will take some serious stamina…but so worth the reward when you reach the top.
Morgan Falls and St. Peter’s Dome: I am going to combine these two trails because if your hiking to St. Peter’s Dome you may as well venture off a bit to Morgan Falls since it’s the same initial trail. Morgan Falls is 1.2 miles round trip from the trail head. After paying a small fee at the trail head, you will hike a short ways in and see a well marked sign to the falls. After visiting the falls you will then head back on the same trail you took in and continue for another 3.6 miles round trip up to the dome. This is a strenuous hike through some very wooded/rocky terrain which will require proper footwear for such an activity.
Doughboy Trail: Located in Copper Falls State Park which is in Mellen, WI. This is a 1.7 mile loop (excluding the viewing tower) that follows the Bad River and Tyler Forks. The terrain is crushed gravel for the most part. You will encounter a few areas where steps will need to be climbed but nothing serious. This is a very photogenic trail with many, many waterfalls along the way. This is a very popular trail and you will find many others along this hike.
Red Granite Falls Trail: Also located in Copper Falls State Park which is in Mellen,WI. This is a a longer hike at 2.5 miles and brings you through the hardwood forest until you reach the Red Granite Falls. A very nice, unpopulated trail compared to the Doughboy trail also located in this park.
Mountain Bay State Trail: If you are in the Green Bay area for business or pleasure and want somewhere other than the street to walk/hike/jog or bike this would be a nice option. The Mountain Bay State Trail is one of the longest rail trails we have here.The 3 mile section of the trail I am very familiar with travels from Cty.Rd. J (also known as Lakeview Dr.) and goes just beyond Rockwell Rd..
Meadow Ridge Trail: The Meadow Ridge trail in the Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve is a wonderful, peaceful hike through many different types of areas. From open grass lands to tree covered, shady areas it is a great 3.10 mile hike. This is an ideal hike for bird watching in the many bird observation huts they have throughout the preserve. This is a completely flat trail and is crushed gravel throughout the entire 3.10 miles. For more information and our hike click here.
Hemlock Trail: Hemlock Trail in Wisconsin’s Potawatomi State Park is very peaceful. Bugs were very minimal when we hiked here in August, shade covers at least 85% of this trail and very little of the trail is paved. The trail starts are picnic parking lot #2 in the park. There is ample parking here and restrooms at the trail head.Signage is marked along most of the trail by a hemlock branch on a white square sign located on trees. Although, not all of the trail is clearly marked…..so its not the best mapped trail WI has to offer in my opinion.There are also trail maps with arrows letting you know “you are here” along the way but we found that some were outdated and incorrect. My advise would be to ask for a current trail map upon entering the park and bring it with you. This trail starts out along the water and quickly brings you deep into a forested area, past some campsites and back round in a complete loop to parking area #2 where you began. In the park guide they claim this trail is 2.6 miles long. We, however, did not track this hike so I can not give you an accurate mileage.I would rate this as an easy family hike. To read my complete write up and view pictures on this trail click here.
Terrell’s Island: Terrell’s Island is located near Omro, WI and is a breakwater trail that weaves though Lake Butte Des Morts. It is handicap accessible and will offer some great views of the lake, water fowl, and species of fish. It is just short of 4 miles on crushed gravel and the entire path is level. There are ample opportunities to sit on provided benches and rest if needed. This would be a wonderful hike for the entire family. For more information on this hike and pictures from our day click here.
UWGB Cofrin Memorial Arboretum Trail: Located on and around the UWGB campus, this trail has numerous starting points. One very nice loop is starting near the athletic field off of Bay Settlement Rd. and looping around to Nicolet Rd and back up again. This hike is a variation of trail terrains, from paved, to crushed gravel, and even wood chips in the heavily wooded areas. A very nice and peaceful hike near the big city but just far enough out to give you the feeling of getting back to nature. Read more about this hike here.
Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary Trails: This is a popular place for families to visit while in the Green Bay area but many never find the trails that lead around the property. With many short trails to choose from or the ability to make one long trail for a day long hike, you have many options here. Most of the terrain is flat, with an option of a hill overlook. Terrain can be anything from grass, wood chips, dirt or wooden boards in some areas that cover water. One thing to keep in mind is this is a gated nature area and hours are strictly enforced. For more detail on this area and pictures from our hike near the end of November….click here.
Deer Path Trail: Located in Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca,WI. This is an easy one mile trail around Allen Lake. Easy to follow, with very little difficulty, and many places to access the water for exploration. ***NOTE: WI State Park entrance fee will be needed to access this trail. This would be the perfect family friendly trail to hike. For more on my hike on this trail click here.
Interstate State Park: Located on the WI/MN border this was a beautiful park as a whole but hiking trails were very short and easy to do for anyone that is able to walk on two legs. We ended up combining a few trails in this park and still only came up with a bit over 2.5 miles. Although, the sights were spectacular and I would say this is the perfect place to get out and stretch your legs if your passing through the area. You can read about our entire adventure at both the WI and the MN side here.
Eagle Trail: Located in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, WI. A two mile loop that is rated difficult will guide you along to some amazing sea caves. This trail is a mixture of terrain and is not handicap accessible. Since it is located in a state park, an entrance fee into the park will need to be paid to access this trail. For more information on this hike click here.
Emerald Pools Trails: Three emerald pools make up this hike…there is the lower, middle and upper. They all offer different views and each offers you different terrain to hike. The trail head is located across the street from the Zion Lodge in Zion National Park. You will begin this hike by crossing over a bridge and on a paved path. To reach pool #1 it is a 1.2 mile hike round trip and is easy to accomplish for most individuals. This pool is also wheel chair accessible with assistance. After reaching pool #1 and enjoying the moment, you will continue on the same trail up another level and quickly reach pool #2 a total of 2.0 miles round trip. This is when you take a moment, have a snack, and prepare for some difficult terrain to come. Heading up even further you will find pool #3 a total of 0.8 miles higher. You will be climbing rocks, hiking in sand, and scurrying across some pretty steep boulders before reaching a nice pool filled with water and a shaded area to rest, take pics, and have some water. Hiking to all three pools is well worth 3-3.5 mile effort and I would highly recommend taking this journey.
The Narrows(bottom up): This is by far the most popular hike in Zion National Park. After departing the shuttle you will walk on a paved path 1 mile before reaching the Virgin River. However, along this mile you will follow the river and be able to enjoy the view making this a short, easy hike. This hike does not need a permit if doing this route….however, there are permits needed to do longer or different direction hikes in the Narrows, so please do your research. After making the one mile hike you will come to a sitting area to change into water shoes(if you wish), waterproof any valuables in your pack, and prepare to enter the river. Walking stick(s) are highly recommended! You will enter the river and walk around a bend into the Narrows passage and you will be amazed at the beauty. Depending on how far you continue in the river will depend on the actual mileage of this hike. A few things to remember here before heading to this hike, check the flood stages, any warnings, and the weather. The last thing you want to happen is a flash flood while you are in this canyon. This information can all be found on the national park website. This is a VERY POPULATED hike…..prepare for crowds!
Weeping Rock: This is a very short 1 mile round trip hike to a overhang that is easily accessible for most people, especially children. Rain water is constantly flowing from this overhang and can be a fun place to cool off or just walk through on a hot day. It’s also a great warm up route for any hike in the park.
Echo Canyon: Another Zion National Park hike that is by far one of our favorites is Echo Canyon. I will warn you, this is a grueling, uphill, pounding hike that will make you want to quite…but just keep going it’s so worth the reward. You will find this canyon by taking the Observation Point trail which if you care to do is 8 miles round trip. We however, did not make it to the top….yet. (Maybe next time) About half way you will turn a corner and immediately enter into this gorgeous canyon. The temperatures are cooler, as in any canyon, there is plenty of shade to rest and cool down, and the photography options are endless. I highly recommend this hike…..although, if you are at all out of shape you will feel this hike for days afterwards. NOTE: trekking poles will help with the hike back down…..they absorb some of the downward impact on knees and other joints.
Angel’s Landing: 5 miles round trip strenuous hike is how the park services describes this hike. My personal description of this hike, because I believe in all honesty is it CRAZY HARD!!!! This hike will test your mental stability right along with your physical stability. Throughout this hike you will pass through a few mentionable areas, Refrigerator Canyon,Walter’s Wiggles,and Scout’s Lookout before finally reaching Angel’s Landing at the top. If you have a fear of heights, have problems with dizziness, or if you have children with you, THIS HIKE IS NOT FOR YOU! I couldn’t have completed this hike without the mental support from our group the day we did this. Physically, I found it not too bad, although, I am not afraid to say I feel I am in pretty good shape. To call this hike amazing is an understatement but there really is no proper explanation. I apologize I don’t have much for photos on this hike to share but please understand, there was no possible way to hold a camera and the chains that held me on the mountain side, all at the same time.
Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail: 3.5 mile hike located in Bryce Canyon National Park. Parking for the start of this trail can be found at Sunset Point. Here you will find bathrooms, water and quite a few parking spaces if you arrive early enough. This trail is mostly crushed gravel, and can be slick so boots/hiking shoes are recommended. During this hike you will be heading down to the canyon floor and make you way along the bottom until eventually you head up some fairly steep switchbacks. (Or vice versa depending on which way you head down) This was a leisurely hike, very picturesque, and appealing to the eye. A great hike for families with children, and adults of all ages.
Chapel Loop Trail- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore- This is a 10 mile loop with breathtaking views along the gorgeous lakeshore bluffs of Lake Michigan. I loved this hike, however, I am one that loves rock, bluffs, and waterfalls. If you are the same, then you should also enjoy this hike. There is a lot of different terrain here, nothing severe, but different throughout. Roots and rocks can be detrimental to toes so sandals would not be your best choice of footwear here. I thought the trails were very well marked until the last few miles. From Mosquito Campground until the parking lot they can be somewhat confusing so remember your trail map.
Miners Falls: Just over a half mile trail leads you to a gorgeous waterfall in a wooded setting. Not easy to get to for individuals with disabilities or children in strollers since steps are the last part of the trail leading to the viewing platform. To read more about our hike to see this waterfall click here.
Wagner Falls: A short, easy walk on a wooden platform into the falls makes this waterfall easy to reach for just about anyone. Located right on the highway it’s easy to miss so watch for the brown scenic signs directing you where to start. Parking is limited so patience is needed during the busy times. To read more about our hike into this waterfall click here.
Miners Castle/Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: This area is not technically a hiking trail but if your in this area hiking it is definitely something you don’t want to pass up seeing. Located in Alger County Michigan, this area is a sight to be seen. With gorgeous overlooks anytime of year to a great place to picnic, rest, or to venture into the wooded trails nearby. I have been here numerous times and it never gets old. To read more our visit click here.
Laughing Whitefish Waterfall and State Park: This park will cost you a $9 daily fee to enter which is on the honor system. Some we saw paying the fee and some were taking their chance at not getting ticketed. The waterfall itself is a short hike down a crushed gravel trail. Then you reach the steps that lead down to the waterfall and there are many…..and I mean many steps. So if steps are not your favorite you will not enjoy the last part to view this waterfall. Along the way you can also view awesome rock and caves all while climbing these steps with resting platforms at different levels along the way. For more on this hike click here and read about our adventure.
AuTrain Falls: Again, not exactly a hike by definition but we did find a short but nice trail nearby that we hiked while near this waterfall. This waterfall, by far, was the best, most peaceful as far as the amount of people that were here compared to others in the area on this day. Although, not the largest waterfall by any means. For more on our hike click here.
Munising Falls: Another short easy stroll to a waterfall located in the U.P.of Michigan that brings you to one of many waterfalls in this area. I would not call this hiking but a trail is a trail and I did not feel leaving this one out was fair. Children and families could do this one until they reach the stairway down to the actual falls where some assistance may be needed for little ones. There is no fee to view or access this waterfall and parking is easy to locate. To read more about this waterfall click here.
Bona Dea Trails and Sanctuary: Located in Russellville, Arkansas this trail offers 6 miles of paved peaceful walking/hiking. It is located in a wetlands area and features a lake, stone structures and shade in the summer months. Habitat is everywhere from turtles basking in the sunlight to small forest animals running about and even the occasional alligator sighting. Dogs are allowed if leashed. I would rate this trail as easy and suitable for all levels of ability.
Cedar Falls Trail: Located in Petit Jean State Park and is rated as moderate by the park service. The trail is marked as 2 miles round trip but according to the park service it is 1.5 miles round trip. Either way, it’s doable and honestly, when your hiking elevation it is somewhat hard to accurately track the mileage which could explain the discrepancy. We did not track our mileage but I would say, from my experience, it felt more like two miles. It was a great hike and I think that most families with children 4 and up should be able to accomplish this hike with no problem. Proper footwear is recommended to avoid slipping on the rock covered trail and don’t forget your camera. You can read the complete write up here about our hike.
Pinnacle Mountain-West Summit Trail: This was by far the best hike we did while we visited Arkansas. Pinnacle Mountain is strenuous, rocky, and steep!!!! Arkansas does a wonderful job a clearly marking the trails in the parks so you will have no issues knowing where the trail leads. Prepare for boulder climbing, steps and many other people hiking this trail. You can read about our experience on the Pinnacle Mountain trail here.
Oberg Mountain Loop: The Oberg Mountain Loop is a hike that begins at a parking lot on Onion Rd. off the scenic Hwy. 61 near Tofte, MN.This hike is just under 3 miles and offers spectacular views of every side of the mountain. This, in my opinion, is a very doable hike for families/individuals. Whether it’s hiked slow or fast, it is a great average hike and elevation gain is at a slow pace and should not offer much, if any, difficulties. The trail is well marked and there are many overlooks where a nice rest can be taken if needed.Bring water, bug spray, and a snack and you should be good to go for a quick hike and a view you will never forget.
Cathedral Rock: Also known as Sedona’s right of passage climb. This is a rock trail that offers a spectacular view…..if you can make it. Read more about Cathedral Rock trail here.
Devil’s Bridge: This trail offers three different routes with three different mileage calculations. It also is the one trail that had the most people hiking it when we were there. Although, the view is spectacular and well worth the hike. I would rate this hike as moderate simply due to the fact that the very end has some rock scrambling involved. To read more about our adventure down this trail click here.
Fay Canyon: Fay Canyon trail in Sedona, Arizona was a meandering desert hike of 2.5-3 miles long round trip including the optional side trail to Fay Canyon Arch. This was a mainly flat hike until you reach the end of the trail which is clearly marked. After this you enter a boulder garden of sorts that you can continue to climb up to the rock structure in this canyon. I would rate this hike as easy. If you decided to boulder climb at the end then easy/moderate. To read about our entire hike on this trail click here.
Doe Mountain: Doe Mountain trail in Sedona, Arizona was by far one of my favorite hikes in this area. With it coming out to a 2.6 mile loop which includes climbing up the mountain face from the parking area and circling around the entire top of the mountain before returning down the same trail we came up. The mountain top itself is flat and easy to walk either through the middle or around the edge to get every angle possible of Sedona’s red rock area. The climb up itself is moderate I would say, and does have some areas of scrambling but nothing too serious. For me the climb was fun, it’s when I reached the top that my heart was captured and I did not want to ever leave. Every direction I turned had views that were simply breathtaking. To view photos from this hike and read more about our mountain top adventure, click here.
Mescal Trail: My family did this trail as a quick add on to one day while we were in the Sedona area. We ventured down this trail for a little over a mile and then backtracked the same mile for our return. From what I have researched, this trail does make a loop and would be about 5 miles total if this loop was completed. For the majority of the trail that we did hike, it was flat to little incline and offered quite an open feel to the desert. Unlike the Fay Canyon Trail, which is more enclosed and has tree cover, this was a mostly a sunny trail and I bet it could get pretty hot mid day. The bit we did of this hike I would rate as easy. To view photos and read more about our hike on the Mescal Trail click here.
Chimney Rock Loop: This hike was a 2 mile loop that involved some elevation but nothing drastic by any means. From the parking lot located on Thunder Mountain Road in Sedona, it loops around very close to residents back yards in the first mile or so. However, all of a sudden you head inward and round the mountain and climb a bit upwards and you are on the lookout and away from the homes. You then continue around the mountain base while headed back down. This side is much more secluded and peaceful. In my opinion, this is a hike if you have a short amount of time and need to stay close to the city itself. All that being said, we saw many area residents using it for trail running which I bet is ideal for a quick run before or after work. To view photos and read more about our hike on the Chimney Rock Loop click here.
TENNESSEE/GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK TRAILS
Alum Cave to the Bluffs: This trail is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a fairly short hike, 4.6 miles round trip and rated as strenuous in the day hikes manual but we ended with a good 5.6 miles recorded on our GPS. We did this hike in January 2017 and it was wet, bathrooms were closed for the season, and the trail was easily managed with less people in the morning hours. To read more about our hike click here.
Appalachian Trail (A.T.) to the Boulevard:
This was one amazing trail…..a bucket list dream come true for me. We started this trail at the Newfound Gap parking lot in the GSMNP. Rated as strenuous….this trail was very rock and root covered and in my opinion, added to the fun. One thing to note, we found it much colder at this elevation than I expected to find it for such a short distance from the other hike we did in this national park. So plan for this scenario and dress in layers. With 6.3 miles accomplished on this tranquil trail, I can’t wait for the day that I can log a few more miles to my quest of hiking the A.T. For more on this hike click here.
Fall Creek Falls State Park: This was the only state park we visited while in the state of Tennessee. Located in Bledsoe and Van Buren counties, it surrounds the eastern top of the rugged Cumberland Plateau. We explored two waterfalls while here, Fall Creek Falls and Cane creek Falls. Upon arrival to the trailhead we found ample parking, great signage, and an overlook for anyone not hoping to hike down to the falls itself. The trail down into the gorge to reach the water fall was difficult simply due to the rocks and roots along the trail, so take this into consideration if you have difficulty on these types of trails. For more on our entire 5.3 mile hike through this park and a fun swinging bridge we found on our adventure, click here.
McAfee Knob: We hiked this trail via the AT both ways and found it to be rocky with many roots and all uphill. That being said, it was worth the time and skill it took since the view from the top was amazing. Mileage we found did not quite match the mileage we calculated on our GPS but one thing to note is we took the AT trail there and back and this may be the difference. Many of the others we saw seemed to take the fire road one way and the AT the other way. Our total mileage was 9.5 not the 7.8 stated on the mileage post near the trailhead. If you are in shape and have at least 4-6 hours to spare this would be a great hike for you to tackle.To read more on our hike click here.
Sharp Top Trail: This is a unique trail since you have options to hike both ways, hike one way or the other, or not hike at all since its so steep and rocky they offer a shuttle for those of you that are not hikers. Everyone should get to see a view from a mountain top at some time in their life and this trail offers this opportunity to everyone. The trail itself, like I said, is very rocky and you will need to have some good hiking shoes/boots for ankle and foot support to attempt this hike. At just over 2 miles one way according to our GPS, its doable in a few hours at most. We had originally planned to hike up and down but after hiking up and finding out at the top that the shuttle allows you to pay the fee($6 each person) for one way at any point, we decided to take the shuttle down. This actually was an experience in itself since its fast and down a mountain on switchbacks that make your stomach twirl a bit. The view from the mountain top is simply amazing and I would highly recommend this hike to anyone if your driving near the area of the Peaks of Otter/Blue Ridge Parkway. Its easily located and bathrooms are at the trailhead along with a snack shop for when you are done. WARNING: Bear activity was big when we were here so check with the park rangers for your own safety. To read more about our entire hike click here.
Compton Gap Trail: Located in the Shenandoah National Park this trail is short at 2.7 miles on our GPS and rated as moderate. Easy to find, with ample parking, and not a highly populated trail when we visited here in October. This, like may trails in the park, is a portion of the ever popular AT and can offer you a very spectacular view of the mountain ranges in this area. To read more about our adventure on this trail click here.
Bradywine Falls at Cuyahoga National Park: The trail is 1.5 miles long and offers a great view of the Brandywine Falls. It starts out as a boardwalk to the falls with upper and lower viewing platforms easily accessible.Then you follow the path up and over the actual waterfall and begin to follow a crushed gravel path.This crushed gravel path leads you a short ways until you then make a left hand turn down a rocky slope. Eventually it leads back to a crushed gravel path ending back at the parking lot after following the river bank.I liked this park. Off the beaten path and not well known meant not a whole lot of people were here. To see photos and read about our brief stop click here.
****If you would see a hike that may interest you in our area and need a hiking companion feel free to contact me. We can be found on a trail most weekends and would enjoy any newcomers. As for trails located outside of Wisconsin, again, contact me, I am always looking for a reason to go on a vacation:-)