Not every park or preserve is blessed with miles of hiking trails or sandy beaches. But every bit of green space is beautiful and bountiful in its own way. There are times when I want a varied adventure in my day trips. Or maybe I don't have a full day to spend. These are the days I double up on smaller preserves and parks. I look for two parks within a defined location, and get outside and explore. Here are a few of my favorite combos.
Trinity Creek Wetland Habitat and Grasslyn Nature Preserve
Trinity Creek and Grasslyn are two of my most recent discoveries. Just minutes from each other in Mequon, they are not large in stature, but they both have plenty to offer. I would start with Trinity Creek, as there's a bit more area to cover, and finish with a stroll through Grasslyn, and a bit of relaxation and contemplation on one of the benches along the trail. These are two "Treasures of OZ", and it's easy to see why.
Lulu Lake Preserve and Crooked Creek Preserve
Lulu Lake and Crooked Creek are within minutes of each other in the East Troy area. Both preserves are managed by The Nature Conservancy. Of the two, Lulu Lake is the easiest hike. So, I would start there, then move on to Crooked Creek. Both are great spots for bird watching. Crooked Creek can be muddy after a rain, but the trails are nicely marked, and the hills are a good workout. Both offer respite from a busy world.
Mauthe Lake State Recreation Area and Spruce Lake Bog
Mauthe Lake is perfect for a weekend getaway. Just over an hour from Milwaukee, you can immerse yourself in nature - hiking trails, beach, picnics, and camping. If you're spending time at Mauthe Lake, carve out an hour for a trip over to Spruce Lake Bog. It's a nice easy boardwalk trail bathed in green. Wildflowers, ferns, the sound of birds. About 15 minutes from Mauthe Lake, it's an easy side trip. And worth the effort.
Glacier Hills County Park and Bobrowitz Sculpture Garden
Bordering Friess Lake, Glacier Hills County Park encompass 140 acres of glacial formations, forest, wetlands, hiking trails, and a beach for swimming. A perfect place for a summer picnic, and a day of hiking, bird watching, and swimming. When you're done here, take a short drive to Bobrowitz Sculpture Garden for something a little different. Works of art displayed in a nature setting. This outdoor art gallery (all art created by Paul Bobrowitz) is brimming with creativity and whimsy (and all pieces are for sale). A visit to the sculpture garden is free, but donations are accepted.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, and nature lover. I've been keeping closer to home these days, and truly discovering the beauty that lies in The Park Next Door.