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Hiking in Door County

Hit the Roads, Trails, Woods, or Hills

Whether you’re looking for an intense, all-day bike ride or a leisurely trek with the family, Door County boasts some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin. The region offers scenic winding roads, peaceful trails, five state parks, 19 county parks, and dozens of nature preserves to explore.

A woman with a backpack hiking a leaf-covered trail through the woods.

6 Great Trails in Door County

The region is packed with roads and trails for visitors of all experience levels, from seasoned hikers and running enthusiasts to casual joggers who love to get outdoors.

  • Sunset Bike Path, Peninsula State Park: With a hard-pack gravel path and no shortage of scenic overlooks, this trail is great for hikers or bikers of any experience level.

  • Horseshoe Island: This rustic hiking trail encircles the entire island, which is found two miles from the mainland. To reach it, hikers kayak or boat from Nicolet Bay Beach.

  • Yellow Trail, Whitefish Dunes State Park: This expansive hiking trail that takes hikers through woods and across sand dunes. Lake Michigan is never far from view.

  • Eagle Trail, Peninsula State Park: This is short but rewarding trail offers lake views, towering bluffs, and rocky, uneven terrain. In spring, mini waterfalls trickle down the bluffs.

  • Hotz Trail, Newport State Park: Bike or hike this 3-mile looped trail that goes through forest and woods, alongside a sandy beach, and across hills and rocky terrain.

  • Ahnapee State Trail: This 48-mile trail is a mostly level, hard-pack gravel path suitable for biking, hiking, and horseback riding and coincides with the Ice Age Trail.
People running past a lookout

Top 4 Scenic Runs in Door County

Check out these 5-mile runs if you have a few hours kill and are looking to get up that heart rate.

1. Gills Rock to Northport: This route takes you along the northernmost portion of Highway 42, which is the well-known “curvy road” that snakes back and forth through the trees. Park in Gills Rock and follow the road to the ferry landing at Northport, then double back for the full route.

2. Waters End Road: This trans-peninsular road and its steep but brief hill is a local favorite. To get the full 4-mile experience, start at the bay side of Water’s End Road in Sister Bay and have someone pick you up across on the shore of Lake Michigan.

4. Ridges Road: Begin near the marina and run north to Ridges Road. Turn right onto Ridges and jog through the Ridges County Park for about three miles. Take the road all the way to the end of the little peninsula and double back for a 6-mile route.

5. Horseshoe Bay Road: Begin in Frank Murphy Park and run north on Bay Shore Drive and then Horseshoe Bay Road to Bluff Pass, then double back for a 5-mile route.

A couple walking in the snow along the Ice Age Trail

Tips for Hiking in Door County

Door County is a fantastic place to get out and explore, but it helps to be prepared. Research on terrain and trail conditions before you arrive so your hiking is the best that it can be.

  • Know your outdoor etiquette. Review the Door County Leave No Trace 7 Principles and practice them when in outdoor spaces. Caring for the trails and ecosystems we love begins with these rules of thumb.

  • Proper footwear is a must! Flip flops might work in downtown Fish Creek but they will not serve you well at rugged, rocky, muddy, or wet trails.

  • You don’t have to do it alone. Take a hike with a guide or nature specialist and learn about the area's plants, animals, and history. Find guided hikes at The Ridges Sanctuary, Door County Land Trust, or state parks.

  • Watch the ledges. The west side of the peninsula has some of the best views in the Midwest—but view carefully. Many trails travel along steep cliffs with no guardrails. Use caution, take your time, and be sure of your footing.

  • Go to the quiet side. The Lake Michigan shore is sometimes neglected. Take advantage of locations like Cave Point County Park and Newport State Park to escape the crowds.

Get Outdoors in Door County

Hiking, running, birding, foraging, geocaching, or biking—whatever you love to do outdoors, you can do it in Door County/

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