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Trailblazing Beauty: 7 of the Best Hiking Trails in Door County

door county hiking & cliff jumping

Allegiances have shifted in the world of recreational activities and Door County Tours. Thanks largely to increasing health awareness, an average American is more into outdoor fun. People are getting interested in hiking, trekking, boating, birding, etc… Thrill seekers find gratification in adventure sport such as rock climbing, snorkeling, horsing, around and more. Geocaching is becoming popular, courtesy of easily accessible technology. Inarguably, the Door County parks are a perfect destination for all such forms of recreational activities.

Furthermore, it houses some of the amazing parks, which has excellent hiking trails. The viewpoints on offer are something to treasure. It doesn’t get any better than watching Lake Michigan from a bluff. The local residents are regular park visitors and they are super friendly with tourists. In this post, we will be focusing exclusively on hiking in Door County. We will talk about the parks, hiking trails, and bluffs, which are characteristic of this region. Here we present the top 9 hiking trails in Door County.

All trails at Peninsula State Park (Hemlock, Lone Pipe tail, Minnehaha & the Vita Course) When you are in Door Country, it would be criminal to miss this one. The park offers a range of recreational activities for the families. When it comes to hiking, you got a rocky trail ahead. It often intersects with the banks of Lake Michigan. Not just the flora, the fauna offers to treat you grand. Birders will love the trails especially when they have a liking for woodpeckers. The woods are striking with tall trees. There are some relaxing hikes so close to the lake. The sound of water hitting the shore is music to the ears.

Not just the hiking, there’s history too. There is an early 1800s lighthouse at the park.  Additionally, it has an amazing golf course build in 1921. It is, in fact, the only golf course in Wisconsin state park system. It doesn’t just end there. There’s Eagle panorama which offers an entire view of the Green Bay. The Nicole beach is a beautiful place for people to visit. Its Hemlock trail, Lone Pipe tail, Minnehaha trail, and Vita Course trail forms an all-around circuit.

Eagle Trail, Peninsula State Park

There’s no way you can afford to miss the Eagle Trail. It is located in Peninsula State Park too. Eagle Bluff and Eagle Bluff Lighthouse are its main attractions. Since the trail travels along the coastline, you can enjoy a spectacular beach view. You are in for a challenging hike nonetheless.
It’s a 2-mile loop with remarkable 150-foot cliffs. There are several steep rocky sections which any rock climber would love to visit. The strenuous uneven surface is woven with loose rock and tree roots. It’s heavily traveled and feels congested for trail running in peak seasons.

Hotz Loop, Newport State Park

Newport State Park has miles and miles of hiking opportunity. In its headquarters, you can get the brochure explaining the history of the park. The Hotz loop is the most popular hiking trail in it. Running 7 miles, it is indeed the longest too. Deciduous and coniferous trees make up for the ambient setting. The tree canopy forms tunnels of pure vegetation. It goes all the way till Rolling Hills which separate Europe Lake and Lake Michigan. The trail to the boathouse on Europe Lake is built with rocks in step stone type fashion.  Thordarson Trail, Rock Island State Park  Being one of the most remote spots in the county, Rock Island State Park offers amazing hiking and backpacking opportunity. It takes a ferry to get to the Rock Island. Mostly everybody is on foot, considering the park authorities don’t welcome bikes or cars. The grand boathouse will get your attention immediately. Thordarson trail runs the entire circumference of the island (5.2 miles). It is named after Chester Thordarson who owned the island till 1964. You will come across some of the popular attractions in this trail including Pottawatomie Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse of the state.

Tower Trail, Potawatomi State Park

It is located at the southern end of Door County. The locals consider it the gateway of Door County. Established in 1928, it houses 123 campsites. Some of them have electrical hookups and even a shower building. Tower trail is the most preferred hike to take. It leads to the observation tower located at the highest bluff in Potawatomi State Park. Parking and restrooms are available at the old tower site. The trail loops through the park before going through the
campground. It’s a great spot for picnic or group camping too. There are multiple group camping sites in the park.

Ice Age Trail, Potawatomi State Park

The eastern trailhead of the 1000 mile Ice Age Trail is located in Potawatomi State Park. It goes through 2.8 miles of shoreline at the park. It’s close to the observation tower. The trail exits the park through Shoreline Road to Sturgeon Bay. You can feast on the view of Green Bay. You can come across multiple picnic areas. It is a perfectly functional hiking trail with adequate parking, vault toilet, and water facilities.

Whitefish Bay Dunes State Park Trails (Black trail & Red trail)

Whitefish Bay Dunes State Park is one of the five Door County state parks. There are over a mile and half of beatific Michigan Lake sand beach. Its Nature Center documents the formation of dunes and Native American history spanning 12,000 years. Its adjacent observation point offers a spectacular view of the beach. The combined 8-mile double loop of the Black trail and Red trail goes through the woods. To our surprise, the trails are open all year round and it always gives an easy, scenic hike. You will love its rocky exposure. The park is popular for its winter trails too. Moreover, it houses the tallest sand dune of Wisconsin.

Black Trail, Cave Point County Park

Cave Point County Park is not a national or state park. Nevertheless, it offers nothing short of an amazing hike.  County officials maintain this park in top class conditions. The admission is free to spectacular views of the beach, picnic areas and importantly, hiking trails. The Black trail connects Cave Point County Park and Whitefish Dunes State Park. The hike explores the quieter sections across the coastline. The sights at Cave Point shoreline are eye-pleasing. Wild shrubs and flowers make up the forest floor. You might come across bucks, porcupines and other wildlife.  It makes for a fun spot to jump in the water when it is calm too.  If you like to hike here, you will love to take a Cave Point County Park Kayaking Tour or a Door County boat tour.

Ellison Bluff County Park

This county park is located in the northern part of Door Peninsula. It was established in 1951 when the county bought 88 acres in this region, to preserve and protect. A bunch of people came together to buy and add another 86 more acres to create this 174-acre park. That sums up the park’s history. It houses a moderately trafficked 1.5-mile trail – Ellison Bluff Loop. With its striking forest settings, it’s great for all skill levels. It’s best used during May to October. The green floor of interior forest bursts with white and pink trillium and other wildflowers.

About Door County, Wisconsin

Door County is a 150-year-old county in the state of Wisconsin. It houses more than 30,000 residents. Tourists who love recreational activities, involving nature’s splendid landscapes visit this place. Residents of Wisconsin and Illinois hugely constitute up the tourist fraternity. The county gets its name from Death’s door, the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. It has a centuries-old history involving French settlements and Native Americans.

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