Madison Road Trip

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Walking

Apple River Canyon State Park

Right over the border in Illinois, Apple River Canyon State Park is a beautiful valley hidden in some otherwise dull landscape. The Apple River flows through the middle of the park and is bordered by picturesque stone bluffs. The hiking… Continue Reading →

John Muir Memorial County Park

The pandemic has given us a much greater appreciation of county parks. There are so many of them, and they are usually just as nice as the state parks – but quieter and less visited. John Muir Memorial ParkĀ  is… Continue Reading →

Whistler Mounds Park

This small, hidden park contains an extensive Native mound system. Sadly, these ancients memorials are greatly eroded. Without the hand-made map, you would likely overlook them. While the rest of the park is small, it has an amazing view over… Continue Reading →

Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve

You can’t beat the views of Lake Michigan from the bluffs at Lion’s Den Gorge. Most of the trails are along the bluffs, through woods and wetlands. However, if your thighs are up to it, head down a long flight… Continue Reading →

Green Lake/ Winnebago Trail Conservancy

There’s something eerie and rather inhospitable about the Green Lake region. We’d only been there once in the past, and only knew it existed from the listing on a now-defunct sculpture garden. Despite it being a sizable lake, it seems… Continue Reading →

Castle Creek Conservancy

Wedged between the railroad tracks and a suburban neighborhood, the Castle Creek Conservancy preserves a slice of native prairie and woods. Parts of Six Mile Creek wander through the property. The path makes a large loop, so no chance of… Continue Reading →

Six Mile Creek Fishery Area

Fishery areas rarely hold any interest for us. Usually, they’re a small lot, then a short trail to a body of water. After driving by Six Mile Creek Fishery Area for nearly two decades, we were completely floored to find… Continue Reading →

Big Bay State Park

Big Bay State Park takes a bit of schlep to reach. It is located on Madeline Island, near the shore of Bayfield. A regular ferry can take you and your car across the bay in about 20 minutes. Arrive early… Continue Reading →

Salmo Lakewalk Trail

This magical trail starts in an inauspicious parking lot. The first section follows the road, but soon turns off into a gorgeous wooded area. Boardwalks go over and around marshy areas, which team with insects, fish and frogs. The trail… Continue Reading →

Brooklyn Wildlife Area

Part of the Ice Age Trail that runs through much of Wisconsin, this wildlife area is quiet and secluded. With over 2600 acres of land, you’ll find plenty to do and see. Just a short drive from Madison, but very… Continue Reading →

Windmill Island Gardens

The Windmill Island Gardens do not disappoint. It’s an island, there are extensive gardens, and a massive functioning windmill. Like much of Holland, MI, the high-point of the year is during May for their tulip festival. Like other parts of… Continue Reading →

Saugatuck Dunes State Park

The western shores of Michigan are famously beautiful year-round. During summer, their sandy beaches are packed with vacationers. But they’re just as nice, albeit a bit chillier, in Spring or Fall. Saugatuck Dunes State Park has a stretch of open… Continue Reading →

Wyalusing State Park

The best time to visit Wyalusing State Park is actually when the weather is pretty miserable – Jan. through early Spring. While the view is quite dramatic, with it’s steep cliffs overlooking the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, the main draw… Continue Reading →

Houghton Falls Nature Preserve/Echo Dells

Not to be confused with Houghton Falls, MI, this wonderful preserve is an off-the-beaten track gem. Well groomed trails and wooden paths wind through piney woods, past a small waterfall, sandstone overhangs and a winding creek. The path ends on… Continue Reading →

Upper and Lower Potato River Falls

Expect some stairs when visiting the Potato River Falls. But the climbing is worth the view. Not quite as impressive as Copper Falls, but the red water and rocky falls are still a trip worth making. Sadly, no potatoes spotted… Continue Reading →

Interstate Falls

Not the most romantic of names, nor the most awe-inspiring of falls. But Interstate Falls are still a good hike with a nice waterfall view. Hat tip to Troy Hess, author of Waterfalls of Wisconsin: The Wild Waters of Intrigue,… Continue Reading →