24 Hiking spots near Milwaukee

I began an adventure blog and started sharing places my kiddos and I have been exploring, but I also wanted to include a bunch of places we went before I started sharing these awesome places with you guys!

Note: Dogs are welcome in Wisconsin State Parks but must be on a leash.

Seven bridges

The Seven Bridges hiking trail at Grant Park in South Milwaukee is famous for the sign which you walk beneath at the trailhead reading: "Enter this wild wood and view the haunts of nature." Local teenagers have interpreted this phrase as a warning of paranormal activity; however, the word 'haunt' in this context means 'the place nature inhabits.'

This is my favorite place in Milwaukee. It is the best of both worlds with the wooded hike that leads you to a beautiful beach overlooking Lake Michigan.

On the seven bridges trail you will find it has a few things you won't want to miss, a beautiful lannon stone trail, a wooded ravine trail and seven bridges which cross a babbling brook that spills out into Lake Michigan at a pristine natural beach.

Wehr Nature Center

The center's 220 acres are located within the beautiful 660 acre Whitnall Park in southwestern Milwaukee County. The only nature center located in the southern half of Milwaukee county, Wehr has over five miles of trails linking the center's natural communities: the Woodland, Wetland, Prairie, Oak Savanna and Lake.

This is our local nature center and I have seen every inch of this place. It has two piers that overlook the beautiful lake. A rustic bridge, pines, a bird watch area, a prairie and a gorgeous small waterfall that you can get up close and personal to see and explore. You can get to the waterfall two ways, one, by taking the prairie trail down to the lake. Two, by taking a left across the bridge before you enter Wehr and just hiking down the small hill. They have wood chip trails, dirt trails and quite a bit of paved trails for easy hiking, especially with those little ones.

I've seen many deer and lots of butterflies.

It is located next to the botanical gardens so explore them both if you have time.

A heads up: There is a $3 parking fee at Wehr.

Botanical Gardens

Located a short distance from the formal gardens, the Trial Garden is well worth a visit. It is, in fact, the cutting edge of horticulture here at Boerner. Devoted to objectively evaluating the overall regional performance of newly developed plant varieties, the Trial Garden is beautiful, informative and internationally significant.

Where ever you look, you see beautiful plants and flowers. The smell alone should have you coming back multiple times. There's also a cool little hidden waterfall straight back down a few steps. Hands down the most peaceful place to go!

Doctors park

My friend showed me this place and boy oh boy am I glad she did.

It is such a hidden gem! and is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.

There is a large sand based park for the kids and plenty of picnic areas. Then take the paved trail down to the beach overlooking Lake Michigan. As you walk down enjoy the beautiful sounds of waves crashing. It's such a peaceful hike down to a relaxing destination. This is usually the least crowded beach of the Milwaukee beaches. There isn't a lifeguard here, no changing facilities other than a portable toilet at the beach level. Doctors park is located next to Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, another amazing place.

Schlitz Audubon

In May, watch for the ephemeral beauty of wildflowers in the wetlands and forested areas. June is the celebration of basking, with turtles and frogs sunning throughout the ponds. Enjoy exploring this celebration of rebirth on the six miles of trails and Lake Michigan shoreline.

It's especially beautiful in the spring when filled with migrating birds, and in fall when the tress turn color and you can find chestnuts have fallen on the ground. This places is so beautiful no matter what time of the year you go and there's something here for everyone. Grab a souvenir at the nature store located in the building and find a relaxing seat as you plan your hike.

Adults: $8 Youth (3-17) $5

Glacier Hills County Park

An excellent example of a glacier moraine with rugged terrain, wooded trails and picturesque views of Holy Hill. There is 1200 feet of Friess Lake frontage. The park is excellent for bird watching. A large hall and chapel may be reserved for groups. Picnic area, hiking trails, snowmobile trail access, fishing, play fields, basketball court, play equipment, sand volleyball & swimming beach available.

The pine area off to the side is so peaceful and beautiful. It was a foggy day when we went and the wooded areas looked so magical. There was no one else there when we went so we had this whole area to ourselves.We did a lot of exploring and free playing.

Stute Springs and Homestead

This trail is not well known but boy is it a cool place to hike. When you pull up their is a beautiful display of pine tress. As you start walking you come across a couple old historic buildings and a little creek right behind it. The kids love playing in the creek, when it's warm of course. Which was not the case the last time we went. The Stute Springs and Homestead Nature trail has about 2 miles of hiking trail running through an old farm homestead. The trail incorporates a self-guided tour illustrating farm life in the early 1900s. Mix of woods, prairie, and wetlands with historic farm buildings.

Pike Lake State Park

The Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is located in the middle of the Kettle Moraine, a strip of glacial landforms which extends through southeastern Wisconsin to Lake Winnebago.

Pike Lake offers several miles of hiking trail. Nine different hiking trails provide you with an amazing scenery.

Hikers will pass through wetlands, maple, oak, and basswood stands, open prairies, and a variety of glacial terrain.

There is so much to do at this amazing State Park. Fishing, camping, boating, swimming at the beach, a nice playground and of course hiking.

My son loved the more difficult trails, his independence really kicked in and he wanted to hike up the steep hill all by himself. This is just one of many trails, there are plenty of much easier trails.

After a two hour hike we decided to relax by the lake. Both kids enjoyed playing in the sand and on the playground as we watched the amazing sunset.

High Cliff State Park

Guys! This place is so incredibly magical. From the vantage point of the cliff and especially from the 40-foot observation tower, you can see the cities of Appleton, Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha and Kaukauna. Each trail is looped (which is nice) and vary in length. The Lime Kiln ruins is what really caught my eye. The structures were so magnificent and to read all the history right there on the information boards was a plus. The ruins are gated off, but shhhh don't tell anyone, we snuck in to see it up close and personal. This place has so much to offer. Definitely plan to come for the whole day because an hour or two is just not enough time to really explore and admire this places beauty and soak in all the history.

Lions Den Gorge Lion's Den is a 73 acre natural area set along the slumping bluffs of Lake Michigan. With over 1/2 mile of 90-100 foot bluffs. There are 3 miles of wide and groomed hiking trails, boardwalks through wetlands, a giant staircase that descends through layers of cedar forest, a salmon spawning stream, a few miles of beach front, a pond, and the deep and verdant ravine called Lion's Den. The view from the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan are just so beautiful! Camping is available at the Lions den and wow that morning sunrise and sunset is gorgeous! If you bring your children here, you must keep a very close eye because there are no railings or fences in certain parts. If you choose to walk right up to the edge of course. The hiking trail is not tightly on the bluff so no need for worry there. Picnics and portable toilets are available.

Retzer Nature Center The pines here are just unbelievably mesmerizing! And a big hill with quite the view is a must see, especially at sunset. Go for a hike then go inside and check out the gorgeous learning center and planetarium. There is so much to explore and so many surreal spots to just stop and unwind.