To experience the full beauty of nature, you can’t beat a hike in the woods. Wisconsin is a land of trails—there are endless places to explore the state’s Upper Midwestern scenery. Some trails rise above the others. They are easy to reach, accessible to all ages and best of all, they offer unforgettable vistas.
If you’ve hiked these trails before, you’ve taken in the views and you know how special these trails are. If you’ve never visited these paths, put on your boots and see what you’re missing.
Ice Age Trail, Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Area – West Bend
West Bend has some fantastic hiking in and around the city. This is land sculpted by glaciers, so you’ll find a landscape marked by various glacial features like drumlins and moraines. The 1,000-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail passes through West Bend via the Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Trail. While some people take months to hike the whole trail, you can enjoy a great taste of the path in this recreation area. Enjoy beautiful vistas of the woodland valley while dreaming of a through-hike.
Mariners Trail – Manitowoc
This paved recreational trail covers 6 miles between Manitowoc and Two Rivers on the eastern side of the state and offers the longest continuous scenic view of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The Mariners Trail is open to hikers, bikers, and walkers, and trail users will pass scenic overlooks, beaches, and more than 30 flower gardens along the way. Once you reach Two Rivers, follow the signs downtown for about a mile to meet up with the Rawley Point Recreation Trail, which connects Two Rivers with Point Beach State Forest.
Blue Hills Trail System – Rusk County
For miles more of glacial terrain—and another beautiful stretch of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail—head to Rusk County in Northwestern Wisconsin. The 23-mile Blue Hills Trail System will take you through the remnants of a mountain range that’s older than the Rockies. To enjoy the best views here, take a morning hike. You’ll see why this area got its name; the hills take on a beautiful blueish hue early in the day.
Van Vliet Hemlocks – Vilas County
Vilas County has more than 240,000 acres of public forest so there’s no shortage of places to take a hike. In fact, the county boasts more than 60 trails that are open for hiking. For a picturesque hike through the towering remnants of an old growth forest, head to Van Vliet Hemlocks. This 400-acre parcel includes more than 3 miles of hiking trails. The views of Averill Lake and Van Vliet Lake are simply beautiful.
Bearskin State Trail – Oneida County
For a gentle hike that’s full of Northwoods scenery, head to the Bearskin State Trail in Oneida County. This trail, which was once an old railroad corridor, has a crushed granite surface that’s easy on the legs. The views are incredible. You’ll enjoy vistas of shimmering lakes, lily ponds and dense forest.