By Amy Bayer
Green County is known for its small-town charm, Swiss culture, rolling hills and rich farmland. Take a trip to this southern county to experience its beauty and tranquility.
Hike more than 22 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that wind through this county. And if you love biking and paddling in addition to hiking, there are multiple state trails and parks, as well as a winding river for you to enjoy.
Here are just seven of Green County’s natural scenic wonders to get you started on your next adventure.
More than 25 miles of the Badger State Trail are located in Green County and pass through the communities of Belleville, Monticello, Monroe and Clarno. Surrounded by scenic rolling hills, pastures, meadows and farmlands, any visitor to the trail will be sure to see natural beauty.
One of the most unique features on the trail is the Stewart Tunnel, located just north of Monticello. At 1,200 feet long with a slight bend, this is the darkest trail tunnel in Wisconsin. Hikers and bicyclists are encouraged to wear headlamps as they walk through, and because of the cool water from the springs surrounding the tunnel, the temperature can get chilly so jackets are also recommended.
Just north of Albany, this state owned wildlife area consists of 1,421 acres of mostly forested land. The Sugar River State Trail bisects the property as it follows the route of the Little Sugar River.
Numerous bridges along the property provide moments to stop and watch the wildlife along the river’s edge and in marshy areas. As with the Badger State Trail, several miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail coincide with this scenic path.
Located immediately south of New Glarus, this state park offers quiet solitude in a beautiful natural setting. There are eight miles of rolling trails that wind through forests and restored prairies.
At the center of the park is an accessible observation deck, and the property also has an ADA Wildlife Observation Blind and accessible campsites. Visitors can observe a variety of wildlife such as deer, squirrels, raccoons, songbirds and woodpeckers.
While Pearl Island started as a manmade feature, created in the 1800s when the Mill Race channel was dug by hand, the land and water in the area is undergoing extensive restoration. Now the Pearl Island Recreational Corridor is housed on 180 acres where beauty and outdoor recreation go hand-in-hand.
Explore the island on its trails, walkways, piers or its surrounding waterways whether you want to travel by foot, bike or kayak. The shoreline trail starts in downtown Brodhead and connects to Headgates Park, and also passes near Decatur Dam Park.
The Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area is located just outside Browntown and offers 11 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails around two lakes, marshes and bogs. The Zander Lake Nature Trail is a one-mile loop that encircles the smaller of the two lakes.
With more than 644 acres of land, there is plenty of space to soak in the beautiful surroundings. As a day-use area, the top activities on site include picnicking, hunting, fishing and wildlife watching.
Two miles northeast of Monroe is the Forest Prairie Park, a 90-acre natural property. There are multiple hiking and ski trails of varying difficulties and length.
Benches around the property offer opportunities to sit and appreciate the wildlife in the area. This is also an excellent place to walk your dog or enjoy a picnic.
Located near Monticello’s historic downtown is a quaint park and extensive garden. The community has come together to maintain the gardens from spring through the first frost in fall and offer an array of colorful flowers.
With a gazebo, benches and walking trails, the park offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy an explosion of beautiful blooms. Visitors who attend in the early spring are treated to more than 100 blooming crab apple trees lining the entrance to Monticello.