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Trail mix

By JENNIFER HUNHOLZ

March 2014

Metro Milwaukee boasts more than 300 miles of recreational trails, and you’re sure to find a perfect one to explore each month of the year. Here’s a sample of what the area has to offer.
 

January: Whitnall X-Country Trail

Best for Cross-country Skiing

January is a month often marked by resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more. Ditch the traditional gym, rent a pair of cross-country skis and head to Whitnall Park, which offers cross-country ski rentals at the Whitnall Park Clubhouse. To view rental rates, go to county.milwaukee.gov
 

February: Lake Country Trail

Best for Snowshoeing

This 15-mile trail cuts through the center of Waukesha County. Its rolling terrain challenges even the most experienced snowshoer, but the scenic views of the mid-Kettle Moraine area keep trail-goers distracted and entertained. Download a trail map at www.waukeshacounty.gov.
 

March: Oak Leaf Birding Trail

Best for Bird Watching

Did you know that more than 150 bird species pass through Milwaukee County during their spring and autumn migrations? Combine this number with the county’s existing 100-plus bird species, and the trail offers visitors the chance to see more than 250 species of birds. Find out more at county.milwaukee.gov.



 

April: Hank Aaron State Trail

Best for Running and Walking

This 12-mile trail begins at Lakeshore State Park and weaves through the Historic Third Ward and Menomonee River Valley. Whether you’re training for an upcoming race or enjoying a leisurely walk, the trail provides a picturesque backdrop for runners and walkers alike. Learn more at www.hankaaronstatetrail.org.

May: Oak Leaf Trail

 

Best for Road Biking

May is National Bike Month, so mount your bike and hit the pavement. Possibly the most well-known recreational trail in southeastern Wisconsin, the 114-mile trail encircles Milwaukee County, connecting all of the major parks in the Milwaukee County Park System. View a full route map at county.milwaukee.gov/OakLeafTrail.

 

June: Bugline Trail

Best for Horseback Riding

A multiphase redevelopment project to pave the entire trail is currently underway, but the 12.2-mile trail’s 10-foot width and generally flat terrain makes it ideal for horseback riding. The Waukesha County trail stretches from Merton to Menomonee Falls. Learn more about the redevelopment project at www.waukeshacounty.gov.

 

July: Ozaukee Interurban Trail

Best for Families

The majority of this paved trail is off-road, providing a safe and secure option for families. The 30-mile trail spans the entire length of Ozaukee County and connects the communities of Mequon, Thiensville, Cedarburg, Grafton, Port Washington and Belgium. View trail maps at www.interurbantrail.us.

 

August: Milwaukee Urban Water Trail

Best for Canoeing and Kayaking

It’s the height of summer, so why not enjoy the weather from the water? The Milwaukee Urban Water Trail winds through 25 miles of the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers, offering canoe riders and kayakers a secure route and intimate views of Milwaukee’s shoreline. Download the official route map at www.mkeriverkeeper.org.

 


September: Hoyt Mountain Bike Trail

Best for Mountain Biking

The 2.5-mile loop caters to novice riders, but the trail provides challenging points for more experienced mountain bike riders. The primarily single-track path weaves along the Menomonee River in Wauwatosa; riders can access the trail from Hoyt Park’s main parking area. View specific trail information, including ascent and descent metrics, at www.mtbproject.com.


 

October: Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Best for Hiking

Located entirely within the state of Wisconsin, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is one of only 11 national scenic trails in the United States. The 1,000-mile footpath crosses through Lapham Peak State Park in Waukesha County, where hikers can experience views of Wisconsin’s illustrious fall beauty. Read more about the trail’s history at www.iceagetrail.org.

 

November: Natural History Trail

Best for the History-lover

If you’re searching for an active yet educational way to spend your afternoon, consider walking the Natural History Trail, which circles the Wehr Nature Center in Whitnall Park. The 1.7-mile trail is designed to showcase different geological communities and their diverse plant and animal life. Explore an interactive trail map at www.friendsofwehr.org.

 

December: Ozaukee County Snowmobile Trails

Best for Snowmobiling

If we’re on our way to a white Christmas in December, check out the powder-filled trails in Ozaukee County, which cover more than 90 miles. Riders are encouraged to join one of the county’s six snowmobile clubs, which meet monthly. Visit www.visitportwashington.com to download trail-specific maps.





 

This story ran in the March 2014 issue of: