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The best Wisconsin state parks to hike with your dog

From below of excited mongrel dog with open mouth with harness running on trail in countryside looking at camera
Alex Zotov
Stock Adobe
Hiking trails to bring your dog to.

The weather has been beautiful this summer and many of us have been enjoying the great outdoors. And what better way to enjoy nature than with your dog? But not every trail or park is right for your pup, as author Danielle St. Louis explains in her new book A Dog Lover’s Guide to Hiking Wisconsin’s State Parks.

Book cover of A Dog Lover’s Guide to Hiking Wisconsin’s State Parks.
Book cover of A Dog Lover’s Guide to Hiking Wisconsin’s State Parks.

St. Louis shares what makes a park good for your dog and some of the best locations in the state near the Milwaukee-area.

St. Louis notes that one of the things that makes a good hiking park for your dog is the width of the trail. "It's always a nice thing to have space when you're passing other hikers, especially other hikers who also have dogs. To have room on the trail to step aside and let those people pass by you with ample space," says St. Louis.

She adds that she also looks at the materials the trail contains. For example, some dogs may have issues walking on different types of earth, like sand, stone or dirt.

Here's a list of St. Louis' favorite state parks to bring your dog:

Top three trails in and near Milwaukee:

  1. Lakeshore State Park
    "Lake Shore State Park in Milwaukee is a nice option for just a quick day hike just to see the lake and the downtown skyline with your dog. It's also a park that doesn't require a park pass or permit so you can visit for free any day of the year," says St. Louis.
  2. Kohler Andrae State Park
    "Kohler Andrae has more restrictive dog areas so there's portions at the park where you're not allowed to take your dog," says St. Louis. "[But] it has got a nice area that's specifically meant for dogs and dog hiking, and it's through some really beautiful pine stands."
  3. Harrington Beach State Park
    "Harrington beach around the Quarry Lake is a beautiful little short mile hike," says St. Louis. "[The trail] takes you around the quarry that's filled in with water. It's a very crystal blue, kind of little lake and a nice experience for walking with your dog."

Popular trails throughout the state:

  1. Peninsula State Park
    "So, in the Door County area there are parks that are super popular," says St. Louis. "Peninsula State Park is a very popular park and it is beautiful."
  2. Potawatomi State Park
    "I like to visit parks that are a little less crowded and so my recommendation for the Door County area is Potawatomi State Park, which has a lot of the same features as Peninsula [state park.]"
  3. Devils Lake
    In the Madison area, a very popular park is Devil's Lake, which St. Louis says is beautiful, but a bit too crowded.
  4. Newport State Park
    St. Louis says another alternative to the popular parks is Newport State Park, which is also beautiful and it is along the the beach at Newport, Wisconsin.
  5. Mirror Lake State Park
    According to St. Louis, Mirror Lake is comparable to Devil's Lake, but is less crowded and a little further on the western side of the state.
  6. Interstate State Park
    St. Louis says this park is very beautiful in the northwestern side of the state.
  7. Willow River
    "Willow River, which is beautiful right outside of Hudson [has] some amazing waterfalls," says St. Louis.

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Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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