Staying Active as Wisconsin Cools Down

matthew poster headshot

Matthew Poster is the founder and lead motivator at, creator of GetFitsu Multilevel Fitness Cards, and a Certified Natural Trainer (CNT) through the Monkey Bar Gym.

It’s easy to be active when the weather is warm and the sun is shining. All spring and summer you can ride your bike hundreds of miles on roads or trails or wear holes through your favorite tennis shoes from all the running and hiking. Now, as the temperature cools and the days get shorter, it’s important to stay active and resist the temptation to hibernate. The good news is, there’s so much to do outside in Wisconsin, no matter what the weather brings. Here are some fun ways to stay active and enjoy the outdoors during Wisconsin’s chillier months.

Birkie Trail, Hayward – Whether you’re a newbie Nordic enthusiast or seasoned vet, the Birkie Trail in Hayward is groomed and ready to be explored. The 107-kilometer trail system attracts skiers, runners, bikers, trekkers and hikers, and was truly built with silent sports enthusiasts in mind. Trail passes, maps and a real-time grooming report are available online, so you can plot out the adventure that’s right for you.

Devil’s Lake State Park, Baraboo – Devil’s Lake is open to the public and offers 29 miles of terrain for your hiking or biking pleasure. It’s a great place for keeping your heart rate high and your joints agile. Climb, run, or bike around the park. Better yet, do all three and make a weekend of it. The clean, blue lake and rocky bluffs make it one of the most beautiful spots in the state—so you can enjoy the scenery while you break a sweat.

UW–Madison Arboretum, Madison – Riding your bike through this outdoor ecology laboratory in the fall is like traveling through a mythical garden, thanks to the many colors. This trail is a main cycling artery that travels south to towns like Paoli and Belleville. In addition to a good workout, the Arboretum also provides the opportunity to learn about nature, wildlife and more. Check online for events, classes and volunteer opportunities.

UW Lakeshore Path, Madison – Bordering the beautiful shores of Lake Mendota, this path is a favorite amongst active UW Madison students and Madisonians alike. Not only is this trail the perfect place for a walk or run, but you can also challenge yourself to the obstacle stations along the way like parallel bars, great for testing upper body strength. This route will take you past the famous UW Memorial Union and on to Picnic Point, a nearly one-mile long peninsula along Lake Mendota’s south shore. No need to worry about the snow, the path stays shoveled all winter!

Lake Mendota and Lake Monona – Nothing (and I mean nothing!) beats riding a “fat bike” over the frozen tundra of these lakes while watching the sun set along the horizon. Before cruising across the lake, be sure to bundle up and protect yourself with warm clothing. (Also confirm that the ice is actually frozen and declared safe for crossing, usually this happens mid-January.) Make sure your bike has wide tires and pay attention to those thin ice signs! After you’re finished riding the ice, warm up with a hot meal or drink at one of Madison’s restaurants or coffee houses. Don’t forget to bring your friends; they’ll enjoy it too!

From skiing to hiking to fat biking and more, I hope you’re able to enjoy everything Wisconsin has to offer as the temperatures start to drop. These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg and will keep you active through the chilly months ahead.

Matthew Poster is the founder and lead motivator at and creator of GetFitsu Multilevel Fitness Cards. He is a Certified Natural Trainer (CNT) through the Monkey Bar Gym. Matthew coached Wrestling at Madison East High School and implemented nutrition programs for the wrestlers. He also started up and coached youth wrestling at the Goodman Community Center.

This entry was posted in Outdoor Fun, Adventure Sports, Biking, State Parks & Forests, Trails and Hiking, Winter Activities