Calling all hikers: Check out our 2021 hiking bucket list (with a few surprises) and then go get them all checked off!
Stretch Your Legs on These Hiking Trails in Wisconsin
Hiking in Wisconsin is a legendary pursuit with a landscape that delivers towering cliffs, picturesque vistas, winding rivers, and quiet solitude. You get all that in one place when you hike the greater Wisconsin Dells area. We’re going out on a limb here to say Spring will be the season of the bucket list for outdoor enthusiasts, which leads us right into this list of awesome hiking places in Wisconsin. Plus, a few other options to soak in the great outdoors.
- Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo.
There’s a reason we’re leading with this park – it’s the most popular one in the state and for good reason. It’s a 13.7 mile-long stretch of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a must for any serious hiker. There are breathtaking views from the 500-foot-high quartzite bluffs that tower above the 360-acre lake. Visitors can hike as much of the 30 miles of hiking trails as they like. If you’re hiking-season ready, scale the Balanced Rock Trail on the East Bluff's south face. There are 1.5 miles of trail accessible for people with disabilities too.
- Mirror Lake State Park, Wisconsin Dells.
As the name implies, this slow-no-wake lake is like one big shimmering mirror of outdoor splendor. There are more than 19 miles of hiking trails here. Fern Dell Trail is the longest at three miles. Don’t miss the Echo Rock Trail, a short .6 miles that delivers a vista of the lake and connects to the Ishnala Trail across a span bridge over the Mirror Lake Gorge. Pack a lunch and enjoy at one of the three designated picnic areas within the park.
- Chapel Gorge Trail, Wisconsin Dells.
A trailhead located just off River Road is good for all skill levels. This two-mile loop winds through a hardwood forest as it takes you to a small secluded beach with big views of the Wisconsin River and the cliffs that shadow the shore. It is one more way to see the famous “dells” of Wisconsin Dells.
- Scenic Wisconsin River Walk, Wisconsin Dells.
This ¼-mile paved path opens to magnificent views and offers ways to make the experience last a bit longer by sprinkling in some game tables and comfortable benches along the way.
- Chimney Rock Private Park, Wisconsin Dells.
The rock climbing guides at local outfitter Vertical Illusions-Zip Line/Kayak/Rock Climbing Adventure Center will help you expand your horizons with rock climbs of 20 feet to 100+ feet at Chimney Rock Private Park, not accessible to the public. They offer guidance for beginners and a push to experienced climbers. If you like what you see, book an eco-canopy zipline tour too. Note: Be prepared for a 25-minute scenic hike to the zipline summit.
- Roche-A-Cri Wisconsin State Park, Friendship.
This park offers 6 miles of hiking trails with its defining feature of a 300-foot-high rock outcropping made of Cambrian sandstone. A wooden stairway takes visitors all the way to the top where spectacular views await them. Native American petroglyphs and pictographs can be easily viewed from an accessible platform at the base of the southern face.
- Rocky Arbor State Park, Wisconsin Dells.
If you’re looking for a little seclusion and an easy hiking experience without giving up that up-close feeling to pines and bluffs, try Rocky Arbor State Park. There’s a one-mile self-guided nature hike that just begs for you to slow down, stop often, listen, and watch for wildlife.