Sunday, August 14, 2016

Maps for 5 great Douglas County day hikes

Anyone looking for a good hiking destination ought to try Wisconsin’s Douglas County. The county boasts a number of outdoor attractions perfect for day hikers.

Here are five top-notch day hiking destinations in Douglas County, as well as trails maps for each:

Amnicon Falls island trails
Hikers can view the results of an earthquake from 500 million years ago while walking the island trails at Amnicon Falls State Park. Known as the Douglas Fault, this split in the earth stretches from Ashland to near the Twin Cities. Much of the bedrock sits at 50-60 degree angles, offering sights reminiscent of those along California’s San Andreas Fault. All of these millennia later, the fault line still effects the course of rivers – which is to hikers’ visual advantage.

Big Manitou Falls overlook trails
Just a few miles south of Superior flows the highest waterfall in the Upper Midwest. Short overlook trails in Pattison State Park provide a variety of scenic views of Big Manitou Falls. Summer marks the most comfortable time to visit the falls, but each season delivers a unique experience. Winter offers mist rising off the falls, spring brings thundering water flows, and autumn unveils the fantastic ancient rocks forming the gorge below.

Brule Bog Boardwalk Trail
Visitors to the Solon Springs area can day hike what feels like the forest primeval on the Brule Bog Boardwalk Trail. Located in southern Douglas County’s Brule River State Forest, the 2.3-mile boardwalk cuts through a wooded bog. Part of the North Country National Scenic Trail, it is entirely handicapped accessible.

Buckley Creek Barrens Trail
Day hikers can truly get back to nature with a walk through a pine barrens near the northern reach of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Buckley Creek Barrens Trail is an undesignated out-and-back footpath that runs 1.2-miles round trip through the former Buckley Creek Barrens State Natural Area west of Gordon. Late summer and early autumn mark the best time to hike the trail, as spring through June will be wet and buggy.

Gordon Flowage Campground Trail
Day hikers can explore the northernmost reaches of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway on the Gordon Flowage Campground Trail. The roughly 2-mile round trip is a jeep trail running through the woods bordering the river. The trail actually is unnamed, but for convenience’s sake, we’ve christened it here after the campground where it begins in Gordon Dam County Park.

Read more about these and nearby trails in Day Hiking Trails of Douglas County.