With the unprecedented nice weather Milwaukee has had in the past week or so, students have had a chance to enjoy spending time outside just a little bit longer. Even though throwing a football or reading a book on the quad are popular activities for students, there are some hiking trails right around campus that are waiting to be walked along, some even within walking distance from campus. Here are a few to check out before the snow and cold temperatures roll in town.
Lakeshore State Park
500 N Harbor Dr.
This park is located right in downtown Milwaukee on the lake, near the Summerfest grounds, Third Ward and Discovery World. It’s only about a 30-minute walk from campus. Here you can expect to see long prairie grass, a secluded bay, and a beach, all while having the Milwaukee skyline just a glance away. It’s a fairly short trail walk around the park, but all the photo opportunities could make the hike take a little while longer. Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Lakeshore State Park is a great place to check out with friends while safely socially distanced.
Jacob Rose, a senior in the College of Communication, said she loves going to take pictures at this park.
“The park gets really good sunsets, which is great for golden hour and taking pictures,” Rose said. “I also love how open it is and how you can see both the lake and the whole city.”
Mequon Nature Preserve
800 W County Line Rd.
Although this preserve is a little bit further away, it’s only about 25 minutes by car, and 90 minutes by bus if you take the BLU line to the 67 line. This nature preserve spans over 444 acres and has six miles of hiking trails. Here you can expect to see an abundance of native plants, farmlands, prairies and ponds that are home to a variety of animals and insects. Even though the flowers might be gone for the winter, you can still hike the trails and maybe see some wildlife. But beware, there are a few snakes.
Located about 20 minutes south of Milwaukee, 7 Bridges is a roughly two-mile loop through Grant Park right along Lake Michigan. It has sprawling paths that weave up and down the hills through towering trees and a slow-moving stream. It almost seems like something out of a fairytale. There are bridges all over the park that allow you to follow the trails with ease over the creek. It does get a little bit crowded at the park, so be strategic about when you go. You can easily get there by car or bus. The bus ride is about an hour if you take route 30 to route 15.
Jake Gilman, a senior in the College of Communication, said the best time to go is right before the sun comes up.
“I’ve gone there a few times for the sunrise,” Gilman said. “There’s usually nobody around and you can get some really cool views as the sun peeks through the trees.”
1525 Carmel Rd.
This hill, and the hiking trails around it, are the furthest of the four listed, about 35 minutes by car in Erin, Wisconsin. The view and vibrant fall colors are worth the trip. This Roman Catholic Church, traditionally known as “Holy Hill Basilica and National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians,” is one of the highest elevation points in southeastern Wisconsin. You can see the church from miles away as it stands alone in the sky above all the trees. Along the hill there are a few different trails students can walk along. The most popular is the “Ice Age Trail,” which stretches over 1,200 miles around the state of Wisconsin. At the top of the hill, you can see the Milwaukee skyline and nearby farmland. It’s open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
Right now, winter seems to be holding off, so be sure to check these places out before it gets too cold. Or dress warm, as all of these trails are open year-round. Although cities don’t typically have well-regarded hiking opportunities, Milwaukee has several in and just around the metro area.
This story was written by Quinn Faeth. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.