Hiking Boot Season
As fall creeps toward winter, outside activities seem to be put on hold until the ski trails open and snowmobile trails groomed, however, that doesn't have to be the case! A favorite November activity for us is hiking. A few early morning flakes create shorelines of pines dusted with snow, calm reflective water, and a smell in the air that is indescribable. Lace up your hiking boots, throw on a jacket and enjoy Wisconsin in all seasons.
With hunting season on the horizon, we recommend putting on a layer of blaze orange, or for the ladies - blaze pink - officially approved as an alternative hunting color in 2016. We suggest wearing Stormy Kromer's Ida Kromer hat in blaze pink. For pets, add a Buff in blaze orange, easy to slip on over their neck and washable.
Nestled under dreamy, towering pine trees, Star Lake Nature Trail is an easy hike for all-levels with two distance options - 1-mile interpretive trail, 2.5 miles total. Enjoy views of Star Lake as you wander along the narrow trail, and make sure to stop for a rest on one of the benches along the route. When the snow flies, bring your snowshoes - a favorite of ours. Dogs are welcome.
Well known for cross country skiing in the winter months, North Lakeland Trails are smooth, grassy, and perfect for a late-fall hike. Bring a friend to chat with as you walk their wide trails flowing through a variety of landscapes from bogs to evergreen forests. Trail lengths vary from 0.5 miles to 6 miles, so pick your distance and enjoy. Use the chalet for a post-hike break - enjoy a cup of coffee or tea from the Keurig, a shelf of books, and a hidden luxury - flush toilets. Park in the lot on Papoose Lake Road for chalet use.
This easy, 1-mile hike meanders through a mature black spruce-tamarack bog. After winding through the forest and over a boardwalk, enjoy the view of North Trout Lake from a bench on the lakeshore. When the snow falls, bring your snowshoes. Northerly tip - sunsets are amazing.
On a snowy morning, the trees on the shoreline reflect on the calm waters of Fallison Lake creating a picturesque moment. The trail rolls through mixed forests of coniferous and deciduous trees, by a hemlock glade, and across a boardwalk. Trails loop to create a variety of distances from from 0.5 miles to 2.5 miles. If we had to choose, Fallison Trail is by far our favorite for this time of year.
Walk among giants as you wander through an old growth hemlock forest to clear your mind and appreciate Wisconsin’s natural beauty at Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area. Tip: Find directions before departing, located at the end of a backroad without good cell phone service. Always open and beautiful in all seasons.
Explore over 12 miles of trail through tall pine forests and expansive wetlands along the Manitowish River and White Sand Creek. The trails begin as a narrow path, before widening out. Explore the Fishtrap Dam from the blue and red trail - a great snowshoe stomp in early winter.
turtle flambeau flowage hiking trails
For the regular hiker, discovering a brand new trail in the area is like opening gifts on Christmas morning. Located severals miles down a back road are the Turtle Flambeau Flowage Hiking Trails - true hidden gems. A variety of trail options are spread across the forest near the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Mercer, WI. Hike the Big Island on the flowage, learn about the formation of the area on the Hidden Rivers Trail at Fisherman's Landing, or wander the mowed trails of Little Turtle. This area of Iron Country is filled with old growth forests, soaring eagles, and silence. Our advice - cellular service is hard to come by, print your directions ahead of time.
Round Lake Hiking Trail
A mixture of foot trails and old road grades, Round Lake Hiking Trail is another hidden secret, located in the expansive Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and filled with history of the bygone logging era. Hike a portion of the 11 mile trail system, exploring old-growth forests, the South Fork of the Flambeau River, and a restored logging dam. Our advice - plan your hike accordingly, the trail varies from easy, rolling elevation to ridges and wet areas.
Worth the drive:
From a short hike up to the Lake of the Clouds overlook to a multi-day adventure, the Porcupine Mountains has it all. After a light dusting of snow, the Lake of the Clouds overlook is breathtaking. Be prepared - nestled along the shore of Lake Superior in the “snow belt region” means more snow. A late fall hike might be an early winter snowshoe.