Heading out for a road trip but feeling guilty about leaving Fido at home? Here are four of many Wisconsin options for dog lovers who want their canine companion on the trail, too.
At a glance, twelve stunning state parks have designated on-leash areas and trails, and many off-leash dog parks border some of the most revered glaciated landscape in America. So pick a park, corral the brood and get packing.
Dog Day on the Dunes
There are countless reasons to visit Whitefish Dunes State Park in Sturgeon Bay. Its size is one. Here, 865 acres along the western coast of Lake Michigan in Door County boast a lake vista and six diverse and groomed trails.
Each trail has its own terrain, from traversing sand and inland water, to coursing through a tree plantation or intersecting wildlife habitats. Then there’s Old Baldy, a 93-foot sand dune measuring higher than any in the state. And it’s a beautiful destination for Lake Michigan paddlers who approach from the north where sea caves can be explored along the way.
But a great bonus is that you can bring the beloved family dog. Plan a day trip; there’s no overnight camping here.
Water-loving dogs will be your best friend after a trip to Lake Kegonsa State Park, a 342-acre park with trails and camping between Stoughton and Cottage Grove. Here you can swim with your canine pal in the lake or run them leashed alongside you on trails that weave through prairies, oak savannas and wetland marsh.
Off-Leash Open Trails
Prairie Moraine County Park is a 160-acre off-leash dog park that borders the Verona Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. So popular with dog owners that Dane County officials had to expand the parking lot, Prairie Moraine offers more than two miles of hilly trails through meadows, prairie grass and showy seasonal wildflowers.
Bonus: A short distance away is Badger Prairie County Park, another off-leash favorite.
Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area allows leashed dogs to accompany their owners along kettle lakes and other glaciated features that are home to some of the best birding in the state. The area is set along a 23-mile stretch of the Ice Age Trail that runs from the recreation area’s David R. Obey Ice Age Interpretive Center in New Auburn to Brunet Island State Park in Cornell.