Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Waterfalls, Lake Superior lighthouse headline Ashland County day hikes

The Michigan Island lighthouse dates to 1856. Photo courtesy of  Apostle
Islands NPS.
Day hikers can enjoy a plethora of trails at three major outdoors attractions in Ashland County, which sits in northcentral Wisconsin along Lake Superior.

Covering close to a quarter of the county’s land area is the Chequamegon National Forest. To the forest’s northeast is Copper Falls State Park, which offers a number of geologic wonders, including waterfalls. To the north are the Apostle Islands, which boasts beautiful Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island and a number of other trails in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Among some great trails to enjoy in the county are:
g Bay View Trail – Incredible views of Lake Superior await hikers traveling to Big Bay State Park. The park sits on Madeline Island, the largest of the famous 22 Apostle Islands. Taking the Bay View Trail along with a border a self-guided interpretive trail afford hikers a 5-mile round trip, though this can be cut in half if turning around at the boardwalk.
g Doughboys’ Nature Trail – Hikers can tour Wisconsin’s geological history in some of the most breathtaking scenery this side of the Mississippi on Doughboys’ Nature Trail at Copper Falls State Park. The 1.7-mile loop follows the Bad River and Tyler Forks past Copper and Brownstone waterfalls and a series of cascades.
g Michigan Island Trail – To reach Michigan Island, the easternmost of the Apostle Islands is Michigan Island, you’ll need to take a private boat. The dock for the island sits at the base of the bluff for the Michigan Island lighthouse on the island’s southeast corner. Ascend the 142 steps to the lighthouse, which dates to 1856, then set on the 1.6-mile (round trip) trail.
g Morgan Falls St. Peter’s Dome Trail – An 80-foot waterfall and impressive vista with views 20 miles around await hikers on this trail in the Chequamegon National Forest. The first 0.6 miles of the trail heads to Morgan Falls (for a 1.2 mile round trip), or you can continue another 1.2 miles to the top of St. Peter’s Dome (for a 3.6-miles round trip).
g Waterfront Trail – This 10-mile trail loops around Ashland, passing through several parks and a beach along the way. A scenic segment runs along the Lake Superior shoreline from Maslowski Beach to Howard Pearson Plaza for about two miles one way.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.