Are you itching to get to your next trailhead? Wisconsin’s portfolio of best hiking trails will blow your mind.
From Kenosha to Superior, Wisconsin’s 54,000 square miles is chock-full of 66 state park units, covering more than 60,570 acres with more than 400 state hiking trails. Nuzzled up between two Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide range of natural resources and diverse ecology.
Whether you’re a local with cabin fever, just looking to visit, or even considering a move to Wisconsin, the accessibility of forest conservation lands, trails, and even waterways are a huge factor in the quality of life. Don’t take our word for it, though, check out our list of the top 7 hiking trails in Wisconsin. We’ve combed through every ranked blog available online and have curated the most comprehensive hiking trail guide on the internet.
Grab your boots and a compass. It’s time to begin mapping out your next hiking itinerary.
Devil’s Lake Park
Without question, the most raved about Wisconsin hiking trail is the hiking loop Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin. The trail wraps around the 360-acre lake and features more than 500 bluffs. From beaches along the lake itself to rocky terrain and breathtaking views, this park offers a refreshing dynamic terrain which is a treat for the Midwest states.
- Loop trail of 4.8 miles (roughly 2 hours 30 minutes)
- Elevation gain of +1,000 feet
Depending on the time of year, hikers should plan to hike up to Balanced Rock, which has become the enduring symbol of the park.
North Country Trail – Copper Falls (Doughboys Trail)
As one of Wisconsin’s most scenic spots in the state, Copper Falls State Park near Mellen, Wisconsin, offers the 1.7-mile North Country Scenic and Doughboy’s Loop over the Bod and Tyler Forks River basins. The trail brings you across portrait-like views of cascading waterfalls and rapids.
- Loop trail of 1.7 miles (roughly 45 minutes)
- Light elevation gain of about 200 feet.
This trail is a strong choice no matter what the season. During the winter months, the falls will freeze over and give an entirely new experience for those who’ve hiked the trail before.
Eagle Trail – Peninsula State Park
Lauded as Wisconsin’s “most complete park”, Peninsula State Park near Ephraim, Wisconsin, features more than 450 campsites, a golf course, biking trails, a beach and lighthouse, and the two-mile Eagle Trail. The trail is a prime choice for those looking for a versatile experience with a variety of terrain, including streams, winding paths, and rock formations.
- Loop hike of 2 miles (about one hour)
- Elevation gain of +180 feet.
Considered a moderate loop hike, Eagle Trail brings hikers by steep, 150-foot walls of dolostone bluffs and plenty of shoreline views of Green Bay, and a winding walk through the White Cedar and Beech Maple forests.
Scuppernong Trail – Kettle Moraine State
Located in the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit near Dousman, Wisconsin, the Scuppernong Trail offers three trail options for any desired hiking trip. There is a 2.3, 4.2, and 5-mile trail system loop with two optional overlook excursions. The trail winds through thick, towering pine forests and is a destination for cross-country skiers and trail runners.
- 2.3 – 5 miles (about 1 hour 45 minutes.)
- Elevation gain of about 290 feet
The trail is a gem not too far from Milwaukee and is near the Ottawa Recreational Area. The trail is open year-round, great for family day trips, and riddled with plenty of pools of spring water.
Ice Age Trail to Lapham Peak
The famous Ice Age Trail offers a 3.1-mile loop hike that takes trekkers to a five-story observation tower on Lapham Peak. The peak is home to one of the United States’ first national weather signal stations, receiving transmissions from Pikes Peak, Colorado, and relaying them to Chicago.
The trail is accessible from the Kettle Moraine State Forest unit in Delafield, Wisconsin, and gives hikers a sample size of the 1,200-mile-long Ice Age Trail that follows the impacts of the state’s last ancient continental glacier.
- 3.1 miles (about 1 hour 20 minutes)
- Elevation gain of 393 feet
Ice Age Trail is a popular backpacking destination and one of only eight National Scenic Trails. The hike is worth the trip and a great choice for on-leash dogs, seeing wildlife, family day trips, and enjoying dynamic terrains.
Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail – Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Located in Bayfield, Wisconsin, the Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail in the Apostle Island National Lakeshore takes trekkers on an in-and-out hike along with one of the state’s northern-most regions on Lake Superior’s Mawikwe Bay. Consider a moderate-skilled hike, the trail takes hikers through a unique landscape of ravines and breathtaking sea cave overlooks.
Hikers can opt for a 2.3-mile trip out to the sea caves or the 6-mil trip to the trail’s Mainland campsite. Roundtrip these hikes are 4.6 and 12 miles, respectively.
- Simple hike 4.6 miles (About 1 hour 40 minutes)
- Elevation gain of 269 feet
The trail is open year-round and can offer fresh experiences during the winter months. Ice traction shoes are recommended for winter hiking and trails can be considered dangerous as ice and snow can give way to falls off of shoreline cliffs.
Willow Falls and Nelson Farm Trail Loop
Located in Willow River State Park in Hudson, Wisconsin, the Willow Falls and Nelson Farm Trail Loop features 6.1 miles of diverse terrain, bridge crossing, steep hills, and waterfall views. There are scenic views of rolling water rapids, perfect for photos and beautiful no matter the season. The centerpiece of the trail is the 200-foot Willow Falls gorge.
The 2,600-acre state park has a class 2 trout stream, sandy beaches, and a nature center. With all of the park’s diverse features, this is a perfect day trip or overnight camping destination for a challenging hike.
- 6.1 miles (2 hours 20 minutes)
- Elevation gain of 347 feet
Willow Falls is a popular place for rock climbing, canoeing on the 170-acre Little Falls Lake, and cross-country skiing.
Wisconsin’s natural resources and wildlife are huge assets for the state. With one of the United States’ most impressive state park programs, Wisconsin’s trails drive tourism and economic growth. Locals love the amenities, and out-of-staters don’t mind the drive to enjoy them. Plus, while they’re visiting they will be patrons at local restaurants, hotels, and shopping centers. Get out your travel planner and make sure to pencil in each of these hiking destinations!