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30 Best Hiking Trails in Wisconsin

A selection of the best hiking places in Wisconsin covering North, South and Central Wisconsin

The best hiking trails in Wisconsin are tough to narrow down. But if you’re looking for amazing outdoor activities in Wisconsin, hiking is one of the best options!

There are more than 2,500 miles of official hiking trails (and those are just the official ones!) in Wisconsin. Where do you begin?

Thousands of people drive far and wide to travel Wisconsin, and with good reason.

For a state with such a small population, there’s an overwhelming abundance of trails to hike, bike and ski in every corner of Wisconsin.

Fancy Hiking in Wisconsin? This list shares the best hiking trails in Wisconsin incl. hiking in Wisconsin Dells, winter hiking trails, and trails in Northern Wisconsin. There is a trail for every taste and level in Wisconsin! Wondering what are the best hiking trails in Wisconsin? This is the ultimate guide on hiking in Wisconsin. #wisconsin #hiking #hikinginwisconsin #hikingtrailswisconsin #visitusa #hikinginwisconsindells #northernwisconsin #southernwisconsin #hikingmilwaukee #trailsmadison
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Best Hiking Trails in Northern Wisconsin

1. North Country National Scenic Trail – Copper Falls

strong narrow waterfalls in between rocks with a leafless tree on the corner
  • Length: 1.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation Options: The best way to enjoy the beauty here is by renting a cabin or a cottage. On VRBO, I found this scenic waterfront Log Home I recommend.

Now, you’re really heading North, all the way up to Copper Falls State Park, known as one of the best places to hike Wisconsin and a must-visit for hiking Wisconsin enthusiasts.

This is where you’ll find some of the wildest and most remote parts of Wisconsin’s share of the North Country National Scenic Trail.

The opportunity to hike some of the North Country Trail (NCT) is one of the biggest appeals of visiting the area.

The Doughboy’s Trail is a simple 1.7-mile walk that allows you to see two of the area’s highlights: Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls.

Follow the NCT along Bad River before turning off near Brownstone Falls to finish the loop.

For such a short walk, you’ve hiked an impressive stretch of the NCT and seen two awesome waterfalls, too! In fact, Cooper Falls is home to some of the best waterfalls in Northern Wisconsin.

This loop can easily be extended to include many more trails in the area, such as the CCC 692 with plenty of camping options too.

Ashland is the closest community, roughly a half-hour drive north of Copper Falls.

Don’t forget to bring your “Hiking in Wisconsin” guide.

2. Bayview Trail – Madeline Island

trees above a Sea caves along the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior
The sea caves of Devils Island in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior, near Madeline Island

For the hikers willing to head offshore, Madeleine Island has some lovely walking and makes for a great day out from Bayfield.

You can take the ferry to LaPointe in the morning, walk all of the island’s trails, and still make it back to the mainland on the last ferry!

Once you’re on the island, you’ll head towards Big Bay State Park. The Bayview Trail is a simple out-and-back trail that follows the shore the whole way.

This trail suits walkers of every ability and the relaxed day out offers stunning views with some bird-watching too. This trail is also a great option for those who are considering backpacking in Wisconsin.

For walkers looking for an extra challenge, this can easily be combined with the Bay View and Woods Trail Loop.

It’s an extra 2.9 miles, which takes in even more of Madeleine Island’s coast. It’s definitely a great Wisconsin vacation idea for those who love the outdoors.

If you have more time, you also need to explore all the cool things to do in Apostle Islands.

Book here your Lake Cabin in Madeline Island

3. Timm’s Hill Trail – Ogema

Areal view of wide valley full of lush green and yellow trees from rocky ice age hiking trail during sunset hours
  • Length: 10 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Accommodation Options: This area is a haven for outdoor lovers, thus a cabin is the best option. Have a look at this Northwoods cabin or this relaxing “Creature’s Retreat.”

Timm’s Hill Trail, which crosses the North-East border of Taylor County and the South-East border of Price County, takes you to Wisconsin’s highest natural point, Timm Hill itself (1,951 feet above sea level).

This hike is unique in that it links the highest natural point in Wisconsin with the spectacular Ice Age Trail. Much of the Ice Age Trail follows a landscape left behind by ancient glaciers in Wisconsin.

The non-motorized trail is constructed on entirely private land, and the hill itself is the showpiece of the 220-acre park by the same name.

Tiny Ogema, in the center of Wisconsin, is the closest settlement to Timm’s Hill Country Park.

Expect to see glacial lakes, the “Highway to Heaven,” thick stands of sugar maple, and plenty of interesting rock formations. The trail is also accessible in winter.

Buy here your hiking gear

4. 9 Mile Loop – Couderay

a woman carrying a hiking backpack smiling at the camera on the side on a trail in a forest during fall

The 9 Mile Loop is a popular trail near Couderay, Wisconsin. It is located just off the Tuscobia State Trail, a 74-mile trail of abandoned railroads.

But do keep in mind it can get nosy when it’s busy. That’s because this is one of the best trails in Wisconsin for ATVs and off-roading.

Nevertheless, if you avoid peak times, like weekends or holidays, this is also one of the most scenic hiking trails in Wisconsin. Especially in fall when the colors really bring it to life.

Book here cabins in Northern Wisconsin

5. Ice-Age Trail – Eau Claire Dells Segment

water flowing by a river during autumn at the Dells of the Eau Claire in Wisconsin
Autumn at the Dells of the Eau Claire in Wisconsin

I’ve already spoken about the 1,000-mile Ice Age Trail, and this is just another section of the colossal trek worth mentioning, offering a picturesque hike Wisconsin.

But I mention it for a reason: the 3-mile stretch, which follows the Eau Claire River, is one of the prettiest on the whole trail.

The Dells of Eau Claire is a country park found not too far from Timm’s Hill Country Park. Many people come to visit this short stretch of the Ice Age Trail because of its scenic views.

It’s of course one of the top things to do in Eau Claire, WI, but it’s also one of the best things to do in Central Wisconsin.

Small, trickling waterfalls and rocky riverbeds make for great photo opportunities and a refreshing swim on a hot summer day making this one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin with waterfalls.

Easily accessible (just 20 minutes) from Wausau.

If you are still wondering where to stay in Northern Wisconsin, check out some of the prettiest hotels there.

Book here the best cabins in Eau Claire

6. Bearskin State Trail – Minocqua

Rustic wooden trestle across the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua Wisconsin surrounded by trees by a body of water
Rustic wooden trestle across the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua Wisconsin.

The Bearskin State Trail begins in the popular lakeside resort of Minocqua, and it is one of the best things to do in Minocqua.

The trail follows Bearskin Creek and winds through heavily forested areas.

As well as getting to see some of Northern Wisconsin’s woods, you’ll see countless glacial lakes along the way too.

The easy-to-navigate path, a former railroad corridor, is flat and compact, with level stretches that suit every type of walker.

Day trippers, campers, and vacation-goers can all enjoy the area, as can couples, since the region is home to some of the most romantic cabins in Wisconsin.

For those who don’t want to walk the full length of the trail, there are plenty of attractions and campsites. There are also restaurants, restrooms, and picnic areas for visitors.

After an exhausting day of hiking, consider a stay at The Waters of Minocqua, one of the best spa resorts in Wisconsin.

Check vacation rentals in Minocqua

7. Brady Bluff – Perrot State Park

Panoramic autumn scenery at Perrot State Park in southwest Wisconsin with trees and dried  up lake
Perrot State Park in southwest Wisconsin.

Perrot State Park, right on the Minnesota border, shows hikers some pretty breathtaking views.

Upriver from Trempealeau, you’ll find a beautiful park filled with wildflowers and rugged trails.

Don’t expect to shrug it off once you see the view from Brady’s Bluff. These are some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin, and they also have one of the best viewing platforms. It will live long in the memory.

You’ve got two options. The Brady’s Bluff Trail East is slightly longer than 7 miles. It’s steep and narrow, but you can count more than 100 types of native Wisconsin plants.

The slightly shorter Trail West is 5 miles, skirts the Mississippi River, and follows some impressive rock walls.

This walk is extremely scenic and no wonder that it’s considered one of the best things to do in Northern Wisconsin.

Book here the best cabins in La Crosse

8. Eagle Trail – Peninsula State Park

scenic hiking trails in wisconsin, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse

There are so many great things to do in Door County, and quite literally hundreds of hikes to choose from!

There are plenty of hiking trails within Peninsula State Park alone, but none of them offer what Eagle Trail does.

On this short hike, you’ll begin at the bluff before descending a whopping 200 ft. From there, you’ll follow the mesmerizing Niagara Escarpment back to the trailhead.

You’ll see all sorts of land, bluff, and water views as you walk. And, if you’re lucky, you may even spot a nesting bald eagle!

Make sure to stop and visit the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, one of the best lighthouses in Wisconsin.

The trail also passes through thick cedar forest, but take care; the path is uneven and far from easy-going!

If you can visit in the fall, hiking is one of the best things to do in Door County in October, thanks to the cool weather – and you’ll have the trails almost to yourself!

In winter, you can also go snowshoeing here which is one of the top things to do in Door County in winter.

It’s not only one of the top hikes in Door County, but one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin.

Fish Creek will be your base. I recommend staying at Homestead Suites, one of the best resorts in Door County.

Buy here your hiking gear

9. Trail of Myths – St Croix Falls

clearing morning fog on the st. croix river in interstate state park, minnesota during autumn.
  • Length: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation Options: Your best option if you want to stay in St Croix Falls is the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, which has all the amenities of home, plus a pool and gym. Or stay at this artist’s loft, a luxurious apartment.

Hiking in Northern Wisconsin would be incomplete without a stop in St Croix Falls.

Situated on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, St Croix Falls is home to some of Wisconsin’s best hikes. 

It is also a popular starting point for the 1200-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Several species of animals, including American red squirrels, porcupines, red foxes, and white-tailed deer, can often be spotted along this path.

Plus, for my fellow bird watchers out there, this is prime real estate. You might see bald eagles, hooded warblers, and ruffled grouse, among other birds.

Trail of Myths might seem somewhat foreboding, but this is a relatively easy hike, and one of the best hiking spots in Wisconsin.

If you have more time to hang out in St Croix Falls, it’s one of the best Wisconsin fall getaways! Specifically, AutumnFest is one of the top fall festivals in Wisconsin.

Book here your accommodation for St Croix Falls

10. Lakeshore Trail – Apostle Islands

Apostle Islands Ice Caves on frozen Lake Superior, Wisconsin

Let me tell you about this incredible adventure I had hiking one of the best hikes in Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands Lakeshore Trail. It was seriously one for the books!

I mean, talk about a scenic backdrop for a hike, right? From towering cliffs to sandy beaches and lush forests, this trail has it all, making it one of the top Wisconsin mountains for hiking.

One of the coolest parts about hiking this trail is exploring the famous sea caves along the shoreline.

There’s something so magical about wandering through these ancient caves, with the waves crashing against the rocks echoing all around you.

And let’s not forget about the beaches! I stumbled upon some of the most pristine and secluded beaches I’ve ever seen while hiking this trail.

It was the perfect spot to take a break, soak up some sun, and maybe even dip my toes in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior.

Book here your Cabin in Apostle Islands

11. Coastal Byway – Door County

winding road in door county with fall leaves lining the road

Hey there! One of my favorite adventures is exploring the Door County Coastal Byway, one of the best places to go hiking in Wisconsin.

On one side, you’ve got the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan, and on the other, the serene beauty of Green Bay. It’s like being surrounded by nature’s masterpiece on all sides.

But here’s the best part – the byway isn’t just one long stretch of road. Nope, it’s a series of interconnected trails that you can explore on foot, by bike, or even by kayak if you’re feeling adventurous.

Along the way, you’ll encounter charming little towns, picturesque lighthouses, and breathtaking lookout points where you can stop and enjoy the views.

Buy here your hiking gear

12. Europe Bay Trail – Newport State Park

rocky cliffs with many boulders having fallen into surrounding water

Another one of my absolute favorite spots for outdoor adventures is Newport State Park, known as one of the best places to hike in Wisconsin. 

It’s seriously a hidden gem nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan, and it’s one of those places that just fills your soul with joy.

So, here’s the deal: Newport State Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering over 30 miles of trails just waiting to be explored, making it one of the top places to go hiking in Wisconsin.

And let me tell you, these trails wind through some of the most pristine wilderness you’ll ever lay eyes on. Europe Bay Trail to Lynd Point Trail is one of the most popular.

Think dense forests, rolling meadows, and stunning views of Lake Michigan at every turn.

But what sets Newport apart is the sense of serenity it offers. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

And the best part? The hiking trails here cater to all skill levels, so whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, you’ll find something to love. 

There are plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife along the way, so keep your eyes peeled for deer, eagles, and maybe even a black bear if you’re lucky!

Book here cabins in Northern Wisconsin

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Best Hiking Trails in Central Wisconsin

13. Devil’s Lake Loop – Baraboo

Aerial view on the South shore beach and lake from rocky ice age hiking trail during sunset, Lake State Park, Baraboo area, Wisconsin, Midwest USA.
South shore beach and lake from rocky ice age hiking trail during sunset.

I’ll start with one of Northern Wisconsin’s most famous hiking areas: the Devil’s Lake Loop. This is the first of many hikes I’ll discuss, taking in just some of the challenging Ice Age Trail.

This loop takes you into the heart of the famous Devil’s Lake State Park.

A straightforward circuit circles the shimmering 360-acre lake, and you’ll have the chance to spot some local birds while taking in the great views.

This walk begins on the lake’s northern shore, easily reached from Baraboo. The East Bluff and West Bluff sections of Devil’s Lake, some of the best beaches in Wisconsin.

After the hike, you might consider hiking at the famous Wisconsin Dells, which is a fitting reward.

Devil’s Lake is one of the top cool weekend trips in Wisconsin for outdoor enthusiasts. It also makes a great romantic getaway or family vacation.

Don’t forget to get your Wisconsin hiking map in advance.

Book here accommodation in Baraboo

14. Ice Age Trail – Devil’s Lake

A large rock positioned on top of another large rock surrounded by tall thin trees on the side of a hill overlooking a lake with rolling hills covered in green trees stretching off into the distance all covered in a layer of soft white snow under a cloudy grey sky
Winter hike at Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin

As I’ve mentioned, part of the infamous 1,000-mile-long Ice Age Trail crosses several paths with Devil’s Lake.

While this trail won’t get you close to completing the 1,000-mile stretch, it allows you to take in some of the most impressive scenery on the Ice Age Trail.

The scenery on this walk is some of the finest in all of Wisconsin.

If you visit Wisconsin Dells in winter, you’ll have stunning winter landscape views over the lake.

This trail, also accessible from tourist-friendly Baraboo, begins in the northeast area of Devil’s Lake State Park, one of the best State Parks in Wisconsin.

You’ll hike along the rocky ranges on the Western and Southern sides of the lake before heading back into the forest.

Expect amazing rock formations around the lake, a beautiful Baraboo range forest, and plenty of wildlife.

It’s one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin and is considered an excellent spot for hiking near Wisconsin Dells.

Notably, this hike also includes some incline for walkers looking for that uphill challenge. It’s one of the best things to do in Northern Wisconsin.

Book here accommodation in Baraboo

15. Hiking Gibraltar Rock – Lodi

girl hiking in bialowieza forest surrounded by trees and plants

Just outside Devil’s Lake State Park is an absolute hidden gem: Gibraltar Rock National Park. Here is one of the best Wisconsin hiking trails with a view! 

The hike up to the cliffs is relatively straightforward, but the view will take you by surprise.

Overlooking the surrounding areas, this is unlike anything else in Wisconsin. For a moment, it’s easy to feel transported somewhere else.

The Gibraltar Rock National Park is part of the Ice Age Trail but can be accessed separately just off of Highways 113 and 60 in Lodi. The hike to the top from the parking lot is just over 1 mile.

Gibraltar Rock is easily one of my favorite hiking spots in Wisconsin, and it’s rarely busy. Pack a lunch and do it as a day trip from Madison, or enjoy watching the sunset during a romantic getaway in Wisconsin Dells.

Book the best AirBnBs in Wisconsin Dells

16. Willow Falls – Willow River State Park

Colorful trees reflected in the lake during Fall in Tomahawk
Some hiking spots in Wisconsin look like a dreamscape

So many of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin are in the middle of the state. Another favorite is the gorgeous Willow Falls Trail.

This trail is much more Central, and Willow River State Park is just 10 miles northeast of Hudson. This easy-to-follow loop shows off the best Willow River and Little Falls Lake views.

Let’s not forget the dazzling, cascading waterfalls at the end!

Willow Falls are 100 ft wide, multi-layered, and up to 45 ft high. Taking in the views and splashing in the water is worth the hike alone.

Bring your Wisconsin hiking guidebook to explore the best trails in the area.

That being said, if you’re walking in spring, you’ll be blown away by the colors of the local fauna on the way there and back. It’s, hence, a perfect place to vacation in Wisconsin.

Book here AirBnBs in Wisconsin

17. Lion’s Den Trail – Lion’s Den Gorge

a riverbank along the wisconsin River during sunset
Lake Michigan at sunset
  • Length: 1.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation Options: In Port Washington, The Harborview is the best address in town. For vacation rental fans, this Modern Home is located close to Lion’s Den, and this gorgeous Lake Michigan cabin is within driving distance of Port Washington.

This trail’s all about Lake Michigan’s stunning views, one of Wisconsin’s best lakes. And again, it’s not a long walk.

In less than two miles, you’ll catch amazing panoramas of the Lake, check out 100-foot bluffs, and interact with the local wildlife (including colorful butterflies!).

One of the biggest appeals of Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Reserve is that it’s just a half-hour drive north of Milwaukee. This makes it one of the best day trips from Milwaukee.

Unlike much of the coast, this section is undeveloped and natural.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s tough-going: the path features wooden segments and a solid path.

Begin in Grafton to make the most of the dunes, bluffs, lake views and trails.

Book here cabins near Lake Michigan

18. Ice Age Trail – Kettle Moraine State Forest

Beautiful hillside of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin with red flowers and tall green brush stretching out into an area of green trees all under a vibrant blue sky with some wispy white clouds
Kettle Moraine State Forest in Wisconsin
  • Length: 33-45 miles (optional)
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Accommodation Options: A cabin getaway is the best way to enjoy the natural beauty here. You’ll love the McJugger’s Loft, close to trails and the lake. The Lillibridge Lake Home is just steps from the water on quaint Tittle Lake, nestled in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

The Ice Age Trail really is huge. I discussed parts of it up on the Northern Wisconsin shore.

Now, I’m talking about sections much closer to Milwaukee, which has some of the best hiking in Wisconsin.

A stunning 30-mile stretch of this famous trail cuts through Kettle Moraine State Forest, taking you along the spectacular, towering moraine (glacial ridge).

If that (and the 3.300 ft ascent!) sounds like a lot though, you can break that down into many smaller, more manageable sections and enjoy them in isolation.

Take your time with the trail, and you’ll be able to explore every aspect of the fascinating glacial landscape left behind.

Expect kettles (water-filled depressions), lakes, a colossal moraine, and bluff viewpoints.And all of it just 37 miles from Milwaukee.

Don’t forget to bring your “Hiking in Wisconsin” guide book. – Check prices on

19. Grass and Forest Loop Trail – Nashotah Park

White-tailed deer crossing a road in Wausau, Wisconsin with a corridor of leafy trees in various shades of fall colors to the sides
White-tailed deer crossing a road in Wausau, Wisconsin
  • Length: 5.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation Options: The best way to enjoy this beautiful area is by renting a cozy cottage. This Waterfront Lake Cottage is perfect if you want to have the best scenery, and this lake home is a fabulous mid-range option.

Nashotah Park, again close to Milwaukee, covers a huge 444 acres. The last glacial retreat also created this area of natural beauty.

Between the woodlands, wetlands, forests, and hills, you’ll find two cute and captivating lakes: Grass Lake and Forest Lake.

And as it so happens, this easy trail takes you on a loop around both of them!

The combination of the purple, yellow, green/blue, and pink loops makes for a great day out. It’s impossible to get lost, and you’ll find plenty of natural wonders along the way.

This is one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin because it suits every type of walker. With so many different natural formations to see, it’s a rewarding day out.

Buy here your hiking gear

20. Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area – Wisconsin Dells

Rocky cliffs and vegetation in the Wisconsin Dells reflected in a lake
Rocky cliffs and vegetation in the Wisconsin Dells.
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Accommodation Options: The Fairfield Inn is always a great choice, and I love the backyard of the Hilton Garden Inn.

If you are looking for fun outdoor things to do in Wisconsin Dells, head to wetlands to find some of the best hiking places in Wisconsin.

You’ll find the Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area around 20 miles north of the famous Wisconsin Dells.

There’s a good range of hiking trails in the area, and many of them focus on the obvious highlight, which is Lone Rock.

Instead of circling the 200-foot rock formation, this trail takes you into some of the area’s most remote areas.

It’s a gentler alternative to the Lone Rock trail and an excellent opportunity to explore wild, desolate terrain.

Wisconsin Dells’ hiking trails will make you fall in love with the distinctive nature. This is one of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin for the unique views.

Unlike the other hikes I’ve mentioned, you won’t find campsites, restrooms or restaurants here.

Instead, you’re much more likely to come across rare wildlife like wolves, while making your way between atmospheric oak and white pine forests.

Check wood cabins in Wisconsin Dells here

21. Quarry Trail – Hixon Forest

Pile of firewood and shovel alongside birch tree in forest located in the north woods of Wisconsin
Hixon Forest

Hixon Forest is next on the list, and it’s a paradise for those looking for bike trails in Wisconsin.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t great hiking trails, too! The majority of the hiking is in Lower Hixon, while Upper Hixon hosts the majority of the mountain biking.

The Forest is just a few kilometers from the popular La Crosse area and is definitely one of the top things to do in La Crosse, WI.

The beginning of the trail gently ascends, and before you know it, you’ll be walking along the ridge.

The incredible views of the Mississippi River may catch you by surprise. Especially if you’re visiting in autumn, which is one of the best places for fall colors in Wisconsin.

If you’re up for a challenge, you can extend this trail to include some impressive bluff viewpoints where you’ll find plenty of pretty Wisconsin fauna.

Book here wood cabins in La Crosse

22. Hiking Kohler – Sheboygan

beach view of Kohler-Andrae State Park, Sheboygan on a bright day

There are several hiking trails in the Kohler-Andrae State Park, which allow you to explore the area, and are one of the best things to do in Sheboygan.

However, my favorite is the Woodland Dunes Natural Trail, while the Dunes Cordwork is the most popular.

If you are looking for cool hiking places in Wisconsin, Kohler-Andrae State Park should be top of your list. Parts of the park are open year-round for hiking or dog walking.

The trails at Kohler-Andrae State Park are all low-difficulty, making them the perfect day hikes in Wisconsin for the whole family.

The park is also an excellent spot to try some bird watching while in Wisconsin.

If you hope to stay a few extra days to explore more, there are lots of great hotels in Sheboygan to relax in after a hard day of hiking.

Book here the best cabins near Sheboygan

23. Parfrey Glen’s Trail – Wisconsin Dells

trees and rocks surrounding river at Parfrey’s Glen Trail

One of my favorite hiking spots in Wisconsin is Parfrey Glen’s Trail, perfect for exploring the walking trails in Wisconsin.

Picture yourself trekking through dense forests, with sunlight filtering through the leaves and birds chirping in the background. 

It is home to many endangered species of plants and insects, so look out for them.

Also, you might enjoy a view of the waterfalls on this lovely trail.

And the hike itself? It’s not too strenuous and perfect for hikers of all levels.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking for a stroll in nature, you’ll find something to love about this trail. Surely one of the best Wisconsin Hikes!

Check wood cabins in Wisconsin Dells

24. Horicon Marsh – Mayville

view over Horicon Marsh with long grass and a lake or marks on a bright day

Let me share one of my favorite places to connect with nature: Horicon Marsh.

It is known as one of the best trails to hike in Wisconsin and will likely be one of the best Wisconsin hikes you will have!

Horicon Marsh is an absolute paradise for birdwatchers! With over 300 species of birds calling this place home, you’re bound to spot something truly spectacular. 

From majestic herons to colorful warblers, every turn of the trail brings a new birding adventure.

But it’s not just about the birds – Horicon Marsh is also home to diverse wildlife. 

Keep your eyes peeled for playful otters, graceful deer, and maybe even a rare sighting of a bald eagle soaring overhead.

And the best part? The trails here are accessible to hikers of all levels, so whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, you’ll find something to suit your pace.

Best Hiking Trails in Southern Wisconsin

25. Hank Aaron State Trail – Milwaukee

Milwaukee Wisconsin lakefront and beach from hill
Milwaukee, Wisconsin lakefront

The Hank Aaron State Trail is slightly different from the other trails we’ve discussed, mainly because it’s an urban trail.

For instance, the trail is entirely paved, so you won’t need to worry about muddy, flooded terrain like on other trails.

It’s also a popular spot for bike rides in Wisconsin, one of the best outdoor activities in Milwaukee.

This 14-mile city trail runs from the border of Milwaukee and Waukesha counties to the shores of Lake Michigan.

But just because it’s an urban trail, it doesn’t mean that it’s starved of nature.

Not only is this some of the best hiking Southeast Wisconsin has to offer, but it is also one of the most scenic hiking trails in Wisconsin, which makes it a great day trip from Milwaukee.

Parts of the trail include rivers, forests, and prairies. This trail combines calming nature with stops at parks and museums, giving you the best of both worlds.

26. Wisconsin Arboretum – Madison

view of Arboretum in Madison, University Of Wisconsin with large rooftop covered in solar panels sitting among some tall brown grass under a clear azure blue sky
Arboretum in Madison, University Of Wisconsin

You can’t miss the hiking in Madison, WI, and this is some of Madison’s best hiking!

There are more than 17 hiking trails at the incredible University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum.

Since you’ll find some of the best hikes in southern Wisconsin, you’ll find a new favorite!

The Arboretum offers hikers a platform to explore a range of terrains. Its trails take walkers through restored wetlands, prairies, woodlands, and even savannas.

The Arboretum has been designed and constructed to help protect the local wildlife and natural landscape.

Great care was taken to design footpaths, fire lanes, and boardwalks that don’t interrupt the local ecosystem.

Unwind and enjoy some easy-going hikes through the intriguing terrains. This expertly constructed outdoor area guarantees that you won’t be disappointed.

If hiking doesn’t unwind you enough, Madison also offers several of the best yoga retreats in Wisconsin.

Check accommodation in Madison

27. Green Tree Loop at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center – Milwaukee

view of Milwaukee skyline lit up at night, just after sunset
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – skyline at sunset

At the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, just a little north of Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan, you’ll find a smart collection of hiking and biking trails.

Situated within 185 acres of protected natural land, you’ll also find an incredible local bird population. Birding hikes, as are the equally tempting Solitude Hikes and Lake Michigan Hikes, are popular.

Each trail promises unparalleled views and the chance to interact with nature.

The Green Tree Accessible Trail is fully wheelchair accessible and eventually leads to the gorgeous Mystery Lake boardwalk.

This trail is great for a romantic day out, after all a fun hike is one of the best date ideas in Milwaukee.

The trail also pairs perfectly with a relaxing night at one of the best romantic hotels in Milwaukee.

28. Seven Bridges Trail – Milwaukee

close up shot of hand holding lush green vegetation on a trail whilst hiking fox trot trail in appleton wisconsin

The Seven Bridges Trail is perhaps the best hike in Wisconsin for Milwaukee residents or anyone interested in hiking in Milwaukee.

This mesmerizing walk begins and ends in Grant Park, the county’s second-largest park. Its fall foliage is gorgeous, making it one of the best fall activities in Wisconsin.

Here, you’ll discover the perfect way to unwind with nothing but the sound of nature, the smell of woodland, and beautiful trail views.

As you enter the Seven Bridges Trail, you’ll see the famous sign: “Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature.”

It’s a peaceful and relaxing walk that includes, as you guessed, Seven Bridges, all leading walkers to a delightful Lake Michigan beach.

Surely a contender for one of the best state parks and best metro trails in all of Wisconsin.

Seven Bridges is a great pet-friendly trail, and if you are visiting there are lots of great pet-friendly hotels in Milwaukee to choose from

29. Holy Wisdom Nature Trail – Madison

Tenney Park bridge on a fall morning with a reflection from a body of water
Tenney Park bridge, Madison

You might be surprised to learn that the Holy Wisdom Monastery offers some fantastic hiking in the Madison area.

The monastery and its grounds are open to the public, so everyone can enjoy the nature trails.

You’ll enjoy taking in huge sections of Lake Mendota and seeing the city of Madison from a different perspective.

While you look over the lake towards the urban center, you may see a pheasant, fox, or even a deer nestling nearby. It’s one of the best Wisconsin trails.

Four straightforward trails will help you maximize your time in the area.

Nevertheless, it’s so beautiful you will wish you had more time to explore the best hikes in southern Wisconsin.

This is one of the best things to do in Madison, Wisconsin if you love outdoor activities!

30. Lower Yahara River Trail

view from lakeside trail over lake and pier at sunset

Unlike most of the other cool places to hike in Wisconsin on this list, the Lower Yahara River Trail isn’t a forest trail, it is a paved boardwalk trail that crossed the top of Lake Waubesa in Madison.

The trail connects the city of Madison and the village of McFarland.

It might not sound like it, but it is incredibly scenic and one of the top hiking trails in Wisconsin. The view over the lake is stunning, and the trail even follows the train tracks for a time.

Hiking, biking, and any form of non-motorized transport is welcome on the trail.

The Lower Yahara River Trail is North America’s longest inland boardwalk bridge constructed solely for non-motorized transportation!

It’s also some of the best hiking in southern Wisconsin!

Check accommodation in Madison

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What is the best time for hiking in Wisconsin?

a view of a lake with a few trees during a sunset

Depending on your attitude and equipment, there’s no bad time for hiking in Wisconsin!

Many of the trails are open during the winter season, but you’ll need snowmobiles or ski equipment to navigate them.

Luckily, this region has some of the best snowmobile trails in Wisconsin, which makes any rental costs absolutely worth it!

Otherwise, there are certainly less demanding seasons for hiking in Wisconsin. I highly recommend spring, when the flowers begin to blossom and the temperatures are mild.

Hiking is a popular activity during spring break in Wisconsin for this very reason.

During summertime, some trails will become crowded and in fall, mosquitoes and ticks are at their worst.

No matter when you visit, there are plenty of good hiking trails in Wisconsin to choose from!

Don’t forget to get your Wisconsin hiking map in advance!

Why Wisconsin is GREAT for hiking?

person standing on outdoor wooden walkway surrounded by trees with green and yellow leaves

Everybody visits for a different reason. Some people visit for the famous Ice Age Trail, while others want to check out the natural glacial landscapes.

Some want to see some places depicted in their favorite movies set in Wisconsin.

Others may visit for the bluffs, the outstanding scenery, gorgeous views, and lakeside fun. You’re guaranteed to find whatever you’re looking for on your Wisconsin hiking trails.

Time it right and you could have them all to yourself.

Indeed, winter in Wisconsin is a great time of the year to visit the Dairy State. And there are many fall activities in Wisconsin to get excited about too.

There are trails for long-distance hikers, tourists backpacking in Wisconsin, and even for locals who don’t know the treasures on their doorstep.

These trails suit every type of walker on every possible terrain.

I’ll also tell you how to get there and what to expect from your trail of choice, as well as the best hiking places in Wisconsin.

Plus I’ve included how long each hike is and the best places to stay whether you want a romantic getaway, a luxury vacation, or a pet-friendly cabin in Wisconsin.

Best Hiking Trails in Wisconsin: The Video

FAQ: Best Hiking in Wisconsin

What are the best hiking trails in Wisconsin with waterfalls?

Copper Falls, Eau Claire Dells Segment of the Ice Age Trails and Willow Falls are great hiking trails in Wisconsin if you love waterfalls.

What are the best hiking trails in the Northeast USA?

If you are focusing on hiking in Northeastern Wisconsin, there are plenty of options. But I recommend Eagle Trail inside Peninsula State Park and the Bearskin State Trail in Minocqua, which are some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin.

Which State Parks are between Madison and Milwaukee?

There are plenty of green areas between Madison and Milwaukee, but Kettle Moraine State Forest is one of the best places to hike in Southern Wisconsin.

What are the best trails to hike in Wisconsin?

Some of the best trails to hike in Wisconsin include the Ice Age Trail, Devil’s Lake Loop Trail, and the Apostle Islands Lakeshore Trail.

Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip 

And for a quick overview, have a look at my “Hiking in Wisconsin” web story here.


Wednesday 29th of July 2020

Perot state park is on the Minnesota border not Michigan border


Wednesday 29th of July 2020

Hey dear, many thanks for the heads up! Clearly my mistake and it's amended :)