MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public to celebrate National Trails Day on June 4 by visiting state trails. Whether by foot, bike, horse, ATV or watercraft, Wisconsin has thousands of miles of trails to enjoy.
This year, National Trails Day falls on the DNR’s 10th annual Free Fun Weekend, June 4-5, when all admission and trail fees are waived at state parks, forests and trails. From linear trails to hilly terrain, you can discover all types of trails across Wisconsin. Visit the DNR’s Wisconsin State Parks webpage for trail maps, directions and park info.
“After a long winter, it’s a great time to dust off your hiking boots or running shoes, get the bikes out of the rafters and head outside for some fresh air,” said Missy VanLanduyt, DNR Recreation Partnerships Section Chief. “On National Trails Day, we encourage Wisconsinites to celebrate their hometown trails and show their support for our state’s trail networks.”
Wisconsin is home to 49 state parks, 15 state forests and 44 state biking trails, with trails for all abilities and activities. Several properties offer dedicated trails for mountain biking, ATVs or horseback riding, but with over 24,000 acres of state trails, there are plenty of ways and places to explore. Before you go, review the Wisconsin Trail Report from Travel Wisconsin to check out general trail conditions.
If you can’t make it to a state property, check out a local trail in your county or city or participate in a National Trails Day event, like Preserve Protect Explore – Sunrise to Starry Skies at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
The DNR offers many ways to get more involved with our trails, with volunteer opportunities at most state parks, forests and trails for trail maintenance and stewardship. See all of the current volunteer opportunities on the Wisconsin State Parks’ Volunteer Opportunities webpage.
Find even more volunteer opportunities by joining Friends Groups, nonprofit organizations whose members volunteer their time, services and support to enhance Wisconsin’s state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas.
Another way to get involved is to become a Trail Reporter for the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation. Trail Reporters update trail conditions throughout the summer season, and you can sign up to become one here.
Trail tips to remember on June 4:
- State park vehicle admission stickers and trail passes will not be required for residents and non-residents during Free Fun Weekend.
- All state parks will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- All linear/rail trails will be open to the public, including ATV and horseback riding trails.
- ATVs, UTVs and off-highway motorcycles are exempt from registration requirements. Resident and non-resident all-terrain vehicle operators do not need a trail pass to ride state ATV trails.
- Access Ability Wisconsin offers all-terrain outdoor wheelchairs for rent at several locations across Wisconsin, making trails more accessible to visitors of all abilities. Visit Access Ability’s website for more information and rental locations.
- Cyclists of any skill level can cover some miles with Wisconsin’s touring bicycle trails. Many are along former railroad corridors, like the recently re-opened Elroy-Sparta Trail.
- Local ATV clubs make Wisconsin a destination for riding. Ride Wisconsin ATV/UTV trails with scenic stop-offs.
- Horseback riders can enjoy more than 800 miles of trails in state parks, forests, recreation areas and unsurfaced trails. Highlights include Wildcat Mountain, Richard Bong State Recreation Area and Governor Dodge State Park.
- Some state trails follow local roads and county highways. Remember to share the road – shoes on the left, wheels on the right.
- Check out stewardship and recreational events on the American Hiking Society event calendar.
- Remember to leave no trace and take out any trash when you leave.
National Trails Day is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Let us know where you go by tagging your trail photos on social media with #OutWiGo.