Milwaukee County Parks
 

Nature Trails

Trails-header

Nature Trails

Discover Milwaukee's wild side on our network of soft trails. Nature trails are perfect for birding, wildlife watching, getting fresh air on your morning walk or simply finding some quiet space. Explore woodlands, prairie, beaches, and grassland areas throughout the county. 

Reminders for Exploring Sensitive Natural Areas

  • STAY ON DESIGNATED TRAILS! This protects the plants and wildlife in natural areas and helps you avoid poison ivy and ticks!

  • Protect the nature trails – NO bike riding! For biking, use the Oak Leaf Trail and the formally designated mountain-bike trails.

  • Leave no trace: “Pack it in. Pack it out.” 

  • “Take nothing but photographs.” Collecting is strictly prohibited!

  • Note that only leashed dogs are allowed (unless noted), they must stay on the trails, and you must pick up their waste. NO DOGS are allowed in natural areas.
    For the only off-leash opportunities in the Milwaukee County Parks, visit the Dog Parks.

  • Forked Aster Trails
  • Wehr Nature Center Trail
  • Birding Trail
  • Milwaukee River Greenway

Forked Aster Hiking Trails

Explore woodlands, prairie, beaches and grassland areas throughout the county by following trails marked with 'Forked Aster' signage. These trails are ideal for short, scenic hikes or on-leash dog walks. Trail segments in 30 parks range from 0.2 miles to 8 miles and are generally dirt, occasionally woodchipped or gravel. On dirt segments after a rain, expect to encounter some mud.

Bender Park

Wide-open vistas perched on top of steep bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. Hiking trails wind through prairie grasslands, old orchards, and lush Beech woodlands. Great place to watch a sunrise or have a picnic.

Cambridge Woods

This unique riverfront woodland park offers excellent displays of spring ephemeral wildflowers. The trail is rugged. The best access point is signed from the Oak Leaf Trail. While this segment is short, the trail is part of a continuous 8-mile trail loop, the Milwaukee River Greenway.

Copernicus Park

This small neighborhood park has both paved and unpaved trails that go through high quality woodlands (122 plant species) along one of the headwater streams of the Oak Creek watershed. This site provides a great opportunity to see migratory birds in spring and fall, and has some paved trails that meander through the woods.

View Trail Map

 

Cudahy Park

The trail is short and flat as it winds through a small diverse woodland with many spring ephemeral wildflowers. This site provides a great opportunity to see migratory birds in spring and fall.

View Trail Map

Cudahy Nature Preserve

NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THIS SENSITIVE AREA

state natural areaThe trails provide a glimpse of what Milwaukee County would have looked like 200 years ago, with a diverse, mature woodland. A small stream separates the lowland hardwood forest from an old-growth beech forest. Dogs are not allowed.

View Trail Map

Doctors Park

The steep trails go from the top of the bluff down to the shoreline of Lake Michigan. High lake water levels have greatly shrunken the beach and make completing the circle path difficult. Trails through deep ravines with a beech and maple overstory lead to a small beach.

View Trail Map

 

Falk Park

This long and flat trail system highlights a beautiful and diverse forest with a great spring wildflower bloom. With ephmeral wetlands and meandering streams, the trail may be wet or even flooded at times.

View Trail Map

Grant Park - Seven Bridges

Totaling just two miles, Seven Bridges trail  treats hikers to a unique ecological area with ravines lined with Lannon stone paths, azure views of Lake Michigan, abundant wildflowers, and shady woodlands. The trail features 10 bridges and many stairways, constructed by the WPA almost 100 years ago, leading to a secluded beach area. Closed in winter due to icy conditions and numerous unshoveled staircases.

Directions View Trail Map

Greene Park

Nestled at the western edge of the park is a small trail loop in a good quality woodland. Large maples, oaks, and basswoods tower above. Visit in mid-spring to see the blooming flowers and migrating warblers.

View The Map

 

Greenfield Park

Hiking trails navigate the large woodland, and paved trails circle the lagoon, providing excellent birding opportunities and nature access for all abilities.

View Trail Map

Grobschmidt Park

NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THIS SENSITIVE AREA

Comprised of a shallow lake, shrubland, upland and lowland forest, a marsh, and sedge meadow, this diverse habitat allows many uncommon wildlife species to thrive. A gravel trail encircles Mud Lake, and a soft trail lets visitors explore the western end of the park.

View Trail Map

Jackson Park

In the center of this regional park is a  woodland with easy but earthern hiking trails. Visitors of all abilities can also enjoy a stroll on the paved trail around the lagoon to fish or to view waterfowl and large wading birds.

View Trail Map

 

Jacobus Park

Although short, the trails are steep and rugged as they climb through wooded ravines. Breathtaking displays of wildflowers erupt in the Spring.

View Trail Map

Kinnickinnic River Parkway

You can find surprising beauty along the most urban river in the area with a trail that meanders along the north and south sides of the Kinnickinnic River between 43rd and 60th streets. A pedestrian bridge at 51st provides access to both sides of the river.

View Trail Map

Kletzsch Park

Located on the western banks of the Milwaukee River, these gentle hiking trails wind through grasslands, upland woodlands, and a floodplain forest. The trails provide excellent views of diverse plant communities.

View Trail Map

 

Kohl Park

Once part of a historic farmstead (look for the silo), the trail travels through a mature evergreen plantation and provides a great running or hiking loop. With a cluster of nature preserves in the area, the trail is great for birding.

View Trail Map

Lake Park

Choose from multiple ravine trails or try to hike them all – and don't miss the waterfall and lighthouse! The trails are short but challenging in terms of footing and grade. Most have stairs, but the lakefront is your reward. Great for hot days, since the woods provide shade, and the lake is at the foot of the trails.

View Trail Map

Little Menomonee River Parkway

Hike through a prairie with surprisingly diverse migratory wildlife species and enjoy open vistas of the Little Menomonee River Parkway.

View Trail Map

 

McGovern Park

A remnant woodland along the southern edge of the park provides a break from the City and a great spring flower bloom.

View Trail Map

Noyes Park

At the heart of this small woodland is a beech forest intermingled with white and red oak, sugar maple, and basswood. Hiking trails wind through the forest and around the small pond nestled within.

View Trail Map

Rawson Park

One of the best remaining examples of Beech-Maple Forest in the Park System. Due to its close proximity to Lake Michigan and the Oak Creek Parkway, this unique park acts as an important stopover for spring and fall migratory birds.

View Trail Map

 

Riverside Park

Once a degraded woodland along the Milwaukee River, this park has been restored to a natural state by the Urban Ecology Center and has highly accessible trails that connect to the Rotary Arboretum and larger Milwaukee River Greenway.

Root River Parkway - Mangan Woods

Mature northern red oaks and sugar maples provide a dense canopy over a number of rare plant species.

View Trail Map

Scout Lake Park

Upland woodlands overlook one of the park system's deepest lakes.  A paved trail and a quiet stream traverse the site. The park provides numerous opportunities to see songbirds during the spring and fall migration.

 

Whitnall Park - Wehr Nature Center

NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THIS SENSITIVE AREA

Explore five miles of trails around Wehr Nature Center. The trails feature accessible boardwalks, bird blind and pier for viewing Mallard Lake. No running, cycling, fishing, or dog walking is permitted on these sensitive nature trails. There is a small fee to park in the parking lot.

Warnimont Park - Warnimont Fens

NO DOGS ALLOWED IN THIS SENSITIVE AREA

The combination of southern mesic woodlands, shrublands, grasslands, fens, and deep ravines along with steep calcareous bluffs support a unique assemblage of plant species and provides wildlife habitat.

 

Wehr Nature Center Trail

The Nature Center trails are open from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week. Please help us maintain your nature preserve by following these rules:

  • Please stay on designated trails
  • Pets are prohibited
  • Do not collect plants or animals
  • Fishing is not allowed
  • Bicycles and jogging are prohibited on trails
  • There is no alcohol permitted on the Nature Center grounds

Thank you for your respect.

The hiking trail loops are organized by the type of natural community they pass through and are marked with color coded wooden posts. Unmarked connector trails help to link these loops to each other and to other parts of Whitnall Park.

Birding Trails

Milwaukee County is home to over 100 bird species, from the common House Sparrow to the Peregrine Falcon; however, more than 150 other bird species pass through the county during their spring and autumn migrations. That means you might see over 250 species of birds without ever leaving Milwaukee County.

If you've participated in backyard birdwatching, you may have seen only 10–20 bird species at your feeder. To help you discover the other 200-plus bird species, we've developed the Oak Leaf Birding Trail, a guide to prime birding locations in the Milwaukee County Parks. 

The birding trail is not a continuous hiking trail winding through the woods but a road map that you can follow from one park or parkway to another. Park your vehicle along a drive, get out, and hike through the park with a checklist in hand, an eagle eye, and an ear tuned to the songs in nature. 

View the Birding Trail Map

 

 

Milwaukee River Greenway

The Milwaukee River Greenway is 878 acres of trails and greenspace along the Milwaukee River within the City of Milwaukee and nearby suburbs. The Greenway is the result of a community driven effort to protect and responsibly manage the river.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY PARKS

9480 W. Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
(414) 257-PARK (7275)


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