The great outdoors is having its moment in the sun, and we’ve got the rundown of outdoor activities in Wisconsin that will give you that feeling of “walking on sunshine.”
Everything You Need to Know about the Best Wisconsin Adventures Outdoors
Wisconsin Dells has some of the best outdoor adventures in Wisconsin. You may find yourself spending your sun-up to sun-down hours exclusively outside. To make the most of your visit to the Dells, we recommend choosing at least one outdoor adventure from each of the categories below.
Wisconsin Outdoor Adventures on Water
- Dells Kayak and Canoe Rentals – If paddling is your thing, we say more power to you. Rent a kayak or canoe and take to the Lower Dells of the Wisconsin River to see famous sandstone cliff formations. Keep an eye out for bald eagles too, a majestic sight that is always awe-inspiring. If you’re more of a beginner paddler, ask for a kayak with “training wheels” – optional outrigger floats to keep you stable.
- Mirror Lake State Park Boat & Kayak Rental – Mirror Lake is one of the best paddling lakes in Wisconsin. It is classified as “slow no wake,” so no need to worry about speedboats or personal watercraft interrupting your Zen. It’s also a good little fishing lake. If you’re feeling surefooted, rent a standup paddleboard. Double kayaks and smaller kayaks for kids are great for active families. Proceeds from this rental spot directly benefit Mirror Lake State Park. This location is part of the Dells Watersports family, which also has rental offerings on Lake Delton and Castle Rock Lake (ski boats, pontoons and wave runners offered at these two locations along with the paddle-under-your-own-power offerings).
- Jet Boats – Thrill seekers, this category is for you. Jet Boat Adventures runs on both the Upper and Lower Dells, while WildThing Jet Boats focuses on the Upper Dells. Both serve up a speed boat ride with ricochet-style turns, 360-degree spins, power stops and cascading sprays of water. Yet the real thrill of these rides is the spectacular scenery. Here’s an insider tip: Bring a towel and change of clothes if you plan to sit in the front row.
- Redbeard Bowfishing – As if reeling in the big one wasn’t exciting enough already; this fishing guide service turns it up a notch by using a traditional bow or cross bow to fish on the Wisconsin River. Choosing their night charter provides another spike of adrenaline.
Adventurous Things to Do in Wisconsin That Take You Uphill
- Hiking at Devil’s Lake State Park – Here, there are 29 miles of hiking trails, some that are easy strolls and others that will give your legs a real workout such as the rocky ascent of the south face of the East Bluff, all 500 feet of it. Into pedaling? Check out the off-road biking trails on the Upland Trail Loop. Cool off with a swim after your outdoor adventure. Must try: Hike a segment of the famous Ice Age National Scenic Trail while you’re there.
- Roche-A-Cri State Park – This state park was established to protect a 300 foot-high rock mound outcropping as well as Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. Hike all six miles of trails and be sure to take the stairway to the top of the mound (stairway is open 6 a.m. to sunset). Little-known fact: Roche-A-Cri has the only interpreted rock art site in the state. This observation area is west of the office and allows all visitors to view the petroglyphs and pictographs depicting stylized birds and other bird symbols.
Outdoor Activities in Wisconsin on Land
- Rocky Arbor State Park – Where a self-guided nature trail, picnic area and playground make it a top spot for families in search of outdoor activities in Wisconsin.
- Horseback Riding – While technically you are perched on a horse with your feet not touching the ground, this entry still belongs in the “land” category because it’s the scenery that defines this type of outdoor excursion. There are several horseback riding stables to choose from, including Woodside Ranch, Red Ridge Ranch, and Canyon Creek.
Best Outdoor Adventures in Wisconsin Above the Treetops
- Ziplining – Tree canopies are just one of the natural elements to be enjoyed while ziplining in Wisconsin, with lakes and canyons adding to that exhilarating bird’s eye view. Take a zip at Bigfoot Zipline Tours and save some energy to do the ropes course too. Dells Zipline Adventures has a ropes obstacle course and they’ve just added a zipline called Soar Like an Eagle that has you zipping in superhero, face-down fashion. And Wilderness Canyon Zip Line Canopy Tour takes you flying over the canyon floor that’s 55 feet down.
- Do it all: In addition to offering the first eco zipline tour in Wisconsin Dells, with beautiful Chimney Rock Park the setting for your treetop-to-treetop adventure, Vertical Illusions also has guided rock climbing and kayak and paddleboard tours. So you really can see all the sights with this one outfitter.