Milwaukee County Parks
 

Nature Trails

Trails-header

Nature Trails

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

Reminders for Exploring Sensitive Natural Areas

  • To protect the nature trails, NO bike riding! Use the Oak Leaf Trail and the formally designated mountain-bike trails

  • Stay on designated trails

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

  • Collecting is strictly prohibited

  • Only leashed dogs are allowed. NO dogs in designated Natural Areas

  • 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 lush beech woodlands, prairie grasslands and old orchards.

Cambridge Woods

Located on the eastern banks of the Milwaukee River, just north of Riverside Park, this unique upland dry-mesic woodland offers excellent displays of spring ephemeral wildflowers and contains several populations of forked aster found on Wisconsin's Threatened Species List. 

Copernicus Park

This is a small neighborhood park containing high quality woodlands (122 plant species) and one of the headwater streams of the Oak Creek watershed. This site provides a great opportunity to see migratory birds in spring and fall.

View Trail Map

 

Cudahy Park

This is a small neighborhood park containing diverse woodlands 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

state natural areaThis diverse woodland includes a small stream that separates the lowland hardwood forest from an old-growth beech forest. Trails traverse the site providing hikers with a glimpse of what Milwaukee County would have looked like 200 years ago. 

View Trail Map

Doctors Park

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan directly south of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, this park features deep ravines with a beech and maple overstory. The overstory shades a seasonal stream that flows out onto a sandy beach. 

View Trail Map

 

Falk Park

This park is an ecologically diverse southern mesic forest containing numerous ephemeral wetlands and two small meandering streams.

View Trail Map

Grant Park - Seven Bridges

Totaling just two miles, Grant Park’s Seven Bridges trail in South Milwaukee treats hikers to a variety of flora and fauna, ravines lined with lannon stone paths, azure views of Lake Michigan, verdant clearings and shady tree covers.

Along the ravine, hikers will observe American beech, maple, white ash, and yellow birch trees, and plants such as trout lilies, may apples and trilliums.

The trail features 10 bridges in total and takes hikers through to a secluded beach area.

Directions View Trail Map

Greene Park

Nestled in the western end of the park is a good quality woodland containing an overstory of large maples, oaks and basswoods. This site is definitely worth a visit in mid-spring to see the blooming flowers and migrating warblers. 

View The Map

 

Franklin Park

Franklin Savanna is an outstanding example of the oak savanna community that once covered most of southern Wisconsin, including portions of western Milwaukee County, previous to European settlement in the 1800s. 

Greenfield Park

Hiking trails navigate the large woodland, and paved trails circle the lagoon, providing excellent birding opportunities.

View Trail Map

Grobschmidt Park

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 large woodland with a majority of the park's hiking trails. Visitors also enjoy a stroll on the paved trail around the lagoon to view waterfowl and large wading birds. 

View Trail Map

Jacobus Park

This remnant of the original southern dry-mesic forest is perched overlooking the Menomonee River. A small stream flows through the park as it makes its way to the river. This park has breathtaking displays of spring ephemeral wildflowers.

View Trail Map

Kinnickinnic River Parkway

This rehabilitated historic trail meanders along the north and south sides of the Kinnickinnic River between 43rd and 60th streets. 

View Trail Map

 

Kletzsch Park

Located on the western banks of the Milwaukee River, 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, the Kohl trail travels through a mature evergreen plantation. This unique habitat makes the trail a great place for birding year round.

View Trail Map

Lake Park

Mesic forest remnants persist along the ravines carved into a former bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Trails are located within most of the ravines winding throughout the park. Intermittent streams flow through the Locust Street and Waterfall ravines. 

View Trail Map

 

Little Menomonee River Parkway

This parkway hosts a surprisingly diverse assemblage of breeding and migratory wildlife species. Prairie grass and wildflowers with open vistas of the Little Menomonee River Parkway. 

View Trail Map

McGovern Park

A remnant woodland along the southern edge of the park contains this fine display. Large ponds adjacent to the woodlands provide many seasonal birding opportunities.

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. 

Root River Parkway - Mangan Woods

Mature northern red oaks and sugar maples provide a dense canopy over prevalent ground flora that includes a number of rare plant species. 

View Trail Map

 

Scout Lake Park

Upland woodlands overlook one of the park system's deepest lakes. Numerous trails 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

This is a small neighborhood park containing high quality woodlands (122 plant species) and one of the headwater streams of the Oak Creek watershed. 

Warnimont Park - Warnimont Fens

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 provide 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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