Hiking the Urban Outdoors

Sports & Recreation

The abundant green spaces that surround Milwaukee mean you don’t have to go far from downtown to feel like you’ve entered another world. Nearby forests and wetlands are the perfect place to step away from the bustle of the city and enjoy the great outdoors. Take advantage of hikes for all skill levels surrounding Milwaukee.

Seven Bridges Trail – Grant Park

This trail offers an easy 2-mile loop through ravines and across flowing streams in a beautifully wooded park. One of the most often photographed portions of the trail is a covered bridge at the trailhead with a sign that reads “Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature.”

Havenwoods State Forest 

After more than a century of settlement and development, Havenwoods has been returned to its roots as a lowland forest thanks to dedicated local volunteers. More than 6 miles of trails showcase the woods, wetlands, and grasslands that are once again a haven for wildlife and nature lovers.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

Explore nature across Schlitz Audubon’s 185 acres, from the turtles living in Mystery Lake to the 60-foot observation tower with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The 6 miles of trails include wheelchair-accessible routes as well as sandy routes to the beach. During summer, enjoy guided hikes with a Nature Ambassador each weekend at no extra charge.

Ice Age Trail – Holy Hill Segment (Trailhead: Glassgo Dr., Hartford)

Over 12,000 years ago, glaciers shaped the terrain of southeastern Wisconsin, leaving behind kettles, moraines, and drumlins. The 1,000-mile Ice Age Trail highlights these natural formations – if you don’t have time to hike a 1,000 miles, we recommend the 7-mile trail segment that showcases the hilly, forested areas around the iconic Holy Hill shrine.

Lapham Peak State Park

Set in the Kettle Moraine Forest, this state park features more than 17 miles of loop trails. Combine options like the 5.8-mile intermediate Kettle View Trail and the easy Kame Terrace Trail to create a custom hike. One of the highlights is a 45-foot observation tower showcasing  beautiful views of southeastern Wisconsin and as far as northern Illinois on a clear day.