Winter has, indeed, arrived! The golden tones of autumn have faded, and the bright whites and subdued grays of winter have taken over. Soon the holidays will be over, and, for me at least, the winter blues will settle in. I'm vowing not to let them win this year.
There is so much beauty here in Wisconsin. It's a shame to let cold and snow keep us from it. In fact, the cold and snow offer a different view of the state altogether. While the temptation to huddle deep under blankets on frigid days is hard to resist, I'm going to layer up the warmth, grab my camera, and get outside for some fresh air and frozen beauty. I have a list of places I want to hike over the next few frigid months, places I haven't been in winter; but I thought I would share a few places I've already been. So bundle up and get outside. If only for the reward of a cozy evening and a mug of something hot upon your return.
Natureland County Park - Whitewater, WI
There are four main trails in the park, totaled together, a bit over 4 miles. The park has a natural spring running through it, and nestles along the tip of Whitewater Lake. Winter witnesses flocks of geese taking off at sunset for the south. The Prairie Trail is popular for cross country skiing. The park has an open sided pavilion available for day use. It is located about an hour southwest of Milwaukee.
For more information click here.
Badertscher Preserve - Muskego, WI
Just over 20 minutes from Milwaukee, Badertscher Preserve is a great hike for a winter day. The preserve is 104 acres of former farmland, featuring foot trails for hiking the wetlands, woodlands, oak savanna, hills and prairies. There are plenty of steep hills for climbing, and a scenic, peaceful pond with benches for sitting. For more information,
Wehr Nature Center - Franklin, WI
Wehr in winter is a sight to behold! Popular in all seasons, winter brings a different kind of magic to the trails. Found right here in Whitnall Park, Wehr Nature Preserve has so much to offer. Including a nature center building with lots of educational information, and a place to warm up after hiking the trails in cold weather. They also offer all kinds of events in every season, including popular Owl Prowls on winter evenings. Do yourself a favor and get a yearly family membership. It's definitely worth it! For more information, click here.
Cudahy Woods State Natural Area - Cudahy, WI
Cudahy Woods is a favorite spot. Located just south of the airport on College Avenue, it's nearby, and yet, a complete escape! Hit the trail and once inside, you'll disappear into the woods -- 42 acres of hardwood trees, native plants, songbirds, a stream, and winding trails. The winter months bring a pristine beauty to the hills and trails here. For more information, click here.
Beulah Bog - East Troy, WI
Beulah Bog is one of my absolute favorite spots, in every season. Winter brings a special beauty to the hills, trails, and the boardwalk of the bog. Wildlife sightings are common.
Though the rare plants and wildflowers aren't blooming in winter, the trail offers lots of Tamarack trees, and a view of one of the bog lakes at the end of the boardwalk. For more information, click here.
Greenfield Park - West Allis, WI
I can never resist putting Greenfield Park on a best of list. Located in West Allis, Greenfield Park is a stellar visit no matter the season. There are woodland trails, one large lagoon, two small ponds, and even a waterfall. The main paths around the lagoon are usually nicely plowed for easy walking, as are the trails linking the parking lots on both the southwest and southeast sides of the park. Listen carefully and you may hear the call of resident owls. Deer are frequently seen here, too. For more information, click here.
So, there you have it. A handful of nature spots that offer plenty of wilderness rewards this winter. And don't forget to check out your local area parks and travel websites for lots of winter event ideas. Happy Winter!
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.