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Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center News

Hiking, Biking, and Trails, OH MY!

Autumn is the best time of year for hiking, biking, and just plain walking in and around Sturgeon Bay, Door County. The bugs are (mostly!) gone. The sky is a brilliant blue, so rich and deep it takes your breath away. The sun feels warm, but the air is fresh and crisp, and smells gloriously like fall. So come outdoors and join the fun!

Whether you choose to hike along the eastern trail head of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Potawatomi State Park, wander through the meadow and wooded trails at Crossroads at Big Creek, or meander through downtown Sturgeon Bay along the historic walking tour, it’s time to plan your getaway to Sturgeon Bay, Door County. Then lace up your shoes and hit the trails! Here are some of our favorite spots…

Potawatomi State Park
Wisconsin is well known for their state park system, and rightfully so, with an average of 14 million visitors each year. Door County is home to five state parks, including Potawatomi. This beautiful park, located on the shore of Sturgeon Bay just northwest of the city of Sturgeon Bay, has 1,200 acres of gently rolling upland terrain bordered by steep slopes and rugged limestone cliffs. Potawatomi State Park is named for the Indian tribe that settled on the shores and islands around Green Bay during the same time period that the European settlers arrived. The park has four trails, ranging from .5 miles to 3.6 miles, off-road bike trails, and breath-taking cross-country skiing in the winter. You can also enjoy seasonal water sports, camping, hunting, trapping, and fishing. Experience the best that Mother Nature and autumn have to offer! Explore the park on foot or bike, then enjoy a picnic lunch in the woods amidst the towering hemlocks, sugar maples, aspen, and birch trees.

Ahnapee Trail
Need a longer excursion to whet your hiking appetite? Then head on over to the popular Ahnapee Trail. The 46-mile trail starts in downtown Sturgeon Bay, then winds south along the beautiful Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers down to Algoma (an Indian name that means “park of the flowers”), Casco, Luxemburg, and Kewaunee, passing by a mixture of evergreen glades, farmland, prairies, and wooded areas teeming with wildlife and native wildflowers. Near Sunset Road in Kewaunee County, the trail branches off in three directions; west to Luxemburg, northeast towards Algoma, and southeast towards the city of Kewaunee.

Once a railroad line, a “rails to trails” conversion has removed the tracks, and the Ahnapee trail now sports an 8-10’ wide crushed stone surface. During spring, summer, and fall you’ll see hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and even horse-drawn carts and wagons share the trail. In winter, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers whisk across its frosty surface.

Pick a section of the trail to explore, or plan to conquer the entire trail during your stay in Sturgeon Bay, Door County. Either way, it’s a great way to experience how long it took folks to get from here to there during the “good old days” when people had to rely on their feet, horses, or oxen to travel. (In other words, no fair calling someone on your cell phone for a ride if you get tired!)

Crossroads at Big Creek
If you enjoy combining your love for outdoors with education, you’ll have a blast at Crossroads at Big Creek, a beautiful 125-acre preserve nestled on the east side of Sturgeon Bay by the intersection of Michigan Street and Highway 42/57. In addition to the winding trails that crisscross the property through forests, meadows, and along Big Creek, you can explore indoor and outdoor laboratories, a greenhouse, and a specialized library with a focus on botany and the environmental sciences. The trails are open 24 hours a day all summer long. The Collins Learning Center Hours are 2:00 pm-4:30 pm daily, as well as during scheduled activities and by appointment. Be sure and save time to see the historical center while you’re there—maintained by the Door County Historical Society.

Sturgeon Bay Historic Walking Tour
I know, I know-you’ve been out on the trails, you hiked in the woods, and now you want to take it easy. No problem! Start out with a great breakfast at one of the many delicious restaurants in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, grab a copy of the Historic Walking Tour map from the Sturgeon Bay Visitor’s Center, and hit the not-so-dusty trail. Sturgeon Bay is home to some of the most beautiful neighborhoods and shops in Wisconsin. Savor the remarkable architecture, delight in the majestic old trees that line the streets, and stop, shop, and eat your way through this remarkable city.

Autumn is calling and she won’t wait long! Take time to explore our great outdoors—Sturgeon Bay-style. See you on the trail!