I don't know about you, but I have a nature hike wish list that is ever-growing. Making a decision on where to hike sometimes takes me nearly as long as the hike itself. For someone who has been to a lot of local nature parks and preserves, you'd think I would have better focus. But I truly agonize over the decision some days. So many factors to consider: weather, time allotted, distance allotted, whether or not I'm going solo or with someone else. If going with someone else, it can depend on that person's schedule, location, interests, and more.
Even (as my husband can attest) if I've weighed the options and settled on a decision the day before, there's an absolute chance that by morning I will have changed my mind. So, when I can set a destination, and actually get there, it's an achievement. Fortunately, it's usually worth the while.
In the past couple weeks I've visited several locations that have been on my wish list for some time. Each one was unique, and definitely worth the effort.
FRONTIER PARK - Butler
Frontier Park is located in one of those deceptive locations: behind a business industrial park. When I first turned onto Park Drive, the only bit of green I noticed was a dead end straight ahead. But once I drove down the road, I saw the park sign, and the park itself, off to the right of the road.
The park rests along the banks of the Menomonee River. It looks, at first glance, like a quaint picnic spot, accompanied by a couple baseball diamonds.
But once you walk past the bridge, and along the river itself, you will discover the entrance to a beautiful wooded trail. The industrial park disappears from view, and you are surrounded by trees, and the sight and sounds of the river flowing by. The trail is close to a mile as it loops back around to the parking lot. It's an easy walk. And it's worth it.
SENO WOODLAND CENTER - Burlington
So. Much. Green. I've been wanting to visit Seno for quite some time, and it did not disappoint! The conservancy is over 130 acres of woodland and prairie. There are over 2.8 miles of featured hiking trails.
The trails are beautifully marked with rustic wood signage. Some of the trails are a bit steep, but if I can hike them...This time of year the trees are leaved in green. The prairie wildflowers are in bloom. Song Sparrows call to each other over blooming coneflower and fields of native bee balm.
There is an education center on-site, along with a picnic shelter near the barn and parking lot.
This place is going to be brilliant with color in the fall.
NATURAL BRIDGE STATE PARK - North Freedom
This park has been on my list for several years. Located outside of Baraboo, it took a day trip with a friend to finally get me there. It was absolutely worth it!
Though we didn't have time to hike much of this 530-acre park, we did make it to its majestic highlight: the Natural Bridge and accompanying Rock shelter.
The trail there and back to the parking area is about a mile. Lots of steps, but not too strenuous. And along the trail, wildflowers in bloom, and wild raspberries ripening on the bush.
For more hiking, there is an additional 2-mile trail across from the parking lot, south of Hwy C.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.