Wisconsin’s Waterside Paths and Trails

Spend some time on the water without getting wet. Wisconsin’s waterside paths and trails offer fantastic walking, hiking, and biking. Enjoy the water and encounter natural, historical, and cultural treasures, up close. What could make for a better day out? Here are just a few of the Wisconsin waterside adventures awaiting you:

Milwaukee’s Lakefront

Stunning architecture to beautiful parks, marinas and beaches: Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline has so much to offer. The Hank Aaron State Trail and Oak Leaf Trail make it easy to enjoy all of it, on foot or by bike.

Pick up the Hank Aaron Trail in Lakeshore State Park, 22 acres almost entirely surrounded by water, east of the Summerfest grounds. Follow the trail out past Discovery World, where it joins the Oak Leaf Trail. Take the Oak Leaf past the Milwaukee Art Museum, with its iconic buildings by Eero Saarinen and Santiago Calatrava. Then it’s on through Veterans Park among the kite flyers, past McKinley Marina, and to the very lively McKinley and Bradford beaches. The drama of Lake Michigan serves as a magical backdrop to the diversity of city life – or is it the other way around?

Beloit’s Riverwalk

In recent years, Beloit’s downtown has undergone a magnificent makeover, with the award-winning RiverFront as its centerpiece. The Riverside Park features a fishing bridge, paddle boats, tennis courts and picnic shelters, as well as a 3.5 mile paved path around the Rock River. Walk or bike among the beautiful landscaping, to the sound of the river…or to the sound of live music from the pavilion during the summer months.

Stevens Point’s Green Circle State Trail

The Stevens Point Green Circle offers 26 miles of hiking and biking, with connections to over 20 other trails. These are the segments we recommend for waterside fun:

  • The popular Riverfront Trail travels along the shore of the Wisconsin River through Bukolt and Pffifner Pioneer parks, with easy access to historic downtown Stevens Point.
  • Most of the River Pines Trail traces the Wisconsin River shoreline through forest, with views of rocky outcroppings, islands, large white pine and oak trees. This is the segment to choose for gorgeous sunset walks.
  • The Paper Mill Trail follows the Plover River flowage to its confluence with the Wisconsin River, with boardwalks over wetland areas. The Paper Mill Trail is a favorite of birdwatchers.
  • The scenic Whiting Park Walking Trail includes views of the Whiting dam, the wide Plover River, an abundance of year-round waterfowl, and Indian mounds. 

Superior’s Osaugie Trail

The Osaugie Trail provides 5.2 miles with incredible views of the busiest harbor on the great lakes. You’ll pass right under the Burlington Ore Docks, the largest in the world, where the Edmund Fitzgerald took on cargo before its fateful trip. From Barker’s Island, you’ll see the S.S. Meteor - the world’s last (above-water) remaining Whaleback freighter, now a museum. And if you opt for the side trip to Wisconsin Point, a naturally preserved section of shoreline, you’ll find the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, a museum honoring US veterans including the WWII flying ace.

Read about more Wisconsin’s many marvelous trails. Then get out there and have some fun.

This entry was posted in Trails and Hiking, Outdoor Fun, Natural Attractions and Parks