Wisconsin Natural Wonders and more!

This summer many folks are opting for outdoor recreation due to the COVID-19 situation. Hiking, walking and bicycling have become preferred activities even for those who aren’t normally fond of the great outdoors?  Others are now dreaming of trading in work shoes for hiking boots, loading up the crew, and escaping for a day of fresh air and beautiful scenery. In either case keep reading – we have some ideas for summer experiences.

Wisconsin is home to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders along with many parks, lakes, and scenic areas. Mother Nature-made and ripe for exploring, these scenic spots are the backdrop to some of the best hiking, biking, and kayaking you’ll find around the state. Ready to see them for yourself?

High Cliff State Park and the Niagara Escarpment
Calm blue waters of Lake Winnebago and tree covered hillside of lush green in background; sea gulls dot the scenery
Photo Courtesy of Travel Wisconsin

The locals call it “The Ledge” – the limestone cliff that runs through High Cliff State Park. High Cliff State Park is located on the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest lake, just a short drive from the Franklin Street Inn Bed and Breakfast in Appleton.

And this is no ordinary limestone cliff, it’s the Niagara Escarpment. The 440-million year old cliff begins in Wisconsin and covers 1,000 miles to Niagara Falls. Without the Escarpment, Niagara Falls would not exist.

This major land feature in Wisconsin boasts caves and waterfalls, and is rich with fossils and rare plant species. Petroglyphs, pictographs and effigy mounds also are found in this rock corridor, evidence of the state’s Native American past.

As you drive into the lower part of High Cliff State Park, you’ll have a clear view of the entire cliff. There are nine miles of hiking trails in the upper park. There’s also more than a mile of shoreline along the lake with sandy beach, marina and a public boat launch.

Scale the Lookout Tower in the upper park and you can see 30 miles to the north, west and south. The view are an experience to make ones trip to the park a complete experience.

Horicon Marsh
Magenta sunset over small lake and wetland area; swath of cattails in foreground and waterfowl dot the water
Photo courtesy of Travel Wisconsin

Another great outdoor location in Wisconsin is the Horicon Marsh. This is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the nation. Horicon Marsh is located in southeast Wisconsin, just west of Hwy 41 and halfway between Appleton and Milwaukee. Best known as a migratory stop for vast flocks of geese Canada geese, it’s much more than this.  Over 300 species of birds have been spotted here, including the largest nesting population of redhead ducks east of the Mississippi. You will also find the largest nesting rookery for the great blue heron here as well.

Essential for your visit to Horicon Marsh is a pair of binoculars to bring the wildlife closer to you without disturbing them. Consider getting out on the marsh by boat, canoe or kayak to enhance your experience!

The Fox Cities area is home to several places to enjoy the outdoors.  The Heckrodt Wetland Reserve,  the Buttterfly Gardens of Wisconsin, and the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve are just a few located within minutes of downtown Appleton. The proximity of these attractions allow one to experience the great outdoors, enjoy one of many excellent restaurants, and relax at Appleton’s premier Bed and Breakfast – the Franklin Street Inn.

If Appleton and the Fox Cities are not in your range for an excursion, browse for more wonders in the Travel Wisconsin directory, or check out a few picnic-perfect Wisconsin waterfalls!