Ten Best Places to Hike in Manitowoc County
Manitowoc County is home to over 100 miles of hiking trails. Here are 10 of those trails for you to enjoy.
1. Henry Schuette Park
3800 Broadway St Manitowoc, WI 54220
Henry Schuette Park is comprised of 65.17 acres and is located by the scenic Manitowoc River, with its rolling terrain, wildlife, aquatic type plants, bushes, and forest area. This community park provides off-street parking, a community built playground, open air shelters, grills, a kayak launch, exercise equipment, fishing areas, and over six miles of nature and fitness trails in a beautiful scenic vista along the Manitowoc River. Cross country skiing is allowed on the trails in winter; however, the trails are not groomed.
2. Point Creek Conservation Area
County Highway LS, Centerville, WI
This park consists of 39 acres of woodlands, meadows, estuary, wetlands and coastal bluffs with approximately 2,800 feet of high bluff bank and associated Lake Michigan shore. Point Creek defines the southern boundary of the property, which includes over 1,000 feet of riparian corridor. Little known place is a secret of locals. Outstanding birding area.
3. Little Manitowoc River Walkway
900 Maritime Dr Manitowoc, WI 54220
A relatively obscure little park off of Maritime Drive. This is a 5.24 acre wildlife area along the Little Manitowoc River. A well maintained trail takes you along the Little Manitowoc estuary. You can see herons, geese, ducks, gulls and terns, not to mention various songbirds. There is a really slick exercise area with weather proof weight machines under an outside shelter building. There are benches to sit and relax. The trail takes you from Maritime Drive to Waldo Boulevard. This trail links up with the Maritime Trail that can take you to Two Rivers.
4. Lower Cato Falls County Park
Beagle Ln, Reedsville, WI 54230
The total area of this scenic park is 84 acres. The park itself is divided into two distinct landscape areas: an upland area on which most of the development has occurred and a lower area along the river, which will generally remain in its natural state.
The park is very scenic with its wooded hills, rock outcroppings and a wide variety of trees and vegetative cover. The Manitowoc River, which forms the northern boundary of the park, flows through a narrow gorge that has unique rock formations and a waterfall area. Park visitors have an impressive panoramic view of the river from various scenic overlooks.
Picnicking, hiking and nature trail walks are among the most popular activities here at Lower Cato Falls. The park also offers a Disc Golf Course. Four wooden staircases leading from the top of the bluff to the river were constructed to provide greater ease in negotiating the steep slopes of the river bank. The recent removal of the dam at Manitowoc Rapids has allowed the Manitowoc River to be managed as a rainbow trout fishery. This park offers approximately 2,040 feet of river frontage.
5. Cherney Maribel Caves
County Highway R, Maribel, WI
Cherney Maribel Caves County Park occupies 75 acres on the West Twin River north of the Village of Maribel in the Town of Cooperstown. A rugged cliff line, generally paralleling the river, separates the gently rolling, partially wooded upland area from the wooded lowland adjacent to the river. The foot of the cliff line contains small caves and openings in the rock layers.
The upland wooded area and its fringes have been developed with facilities for picnicking and hiking. Additional trails are located in the area of the park above the cliff line. Portions of the open land have been planted in seedlings in a reforestation project. A staircase and trail system has been constructed for greater accessibility to the scenic lowland area.
The Cherney Maribel Caves County Park is an especially significant geological area that was formed primarily by glacial activity. Through millions of years of deposition and change, glaciers wore down the land surface exposing an underlying solid mass of rock called Niagara Dolomite. Thus was formed the naked crags and irregular cliff line of the area. These formations are in contrast to other parts of Wisconsin where rich layers of boulder till were deposited by the glaciers.
Over the years, the rock has decomposed. Springs, the changing seasons, ice and temperature variations broke down the rock. Small caves and openings created by these forces appear in the rock layers of the cliff line. Springs which seep from the limestone rock flow over moss covered rocks and trickle to the river. Rare ferns, varieties of creeping plants and wild flowers are found among the rocks and within the wooded growth. This natural beauty of the park made it a popular picnic and recreational area long before it was acquired by the County in 1963.
6. Ice Age Trail
Multiple Starting points check website for more info
More than 12,000 years ago, glaciers sculpted a unique landscape across Wisconsin. Discover this glaciation on the 1000-mile Ice Age Trail from the Aurora Medical Center Healing Garden through Woodland Dunes Nature Center, along the upper East Twin River and into Point Beach State Forest. Enjoy cross country skiing or snowshoeing on 6 different area trails.
7. Point Beach State Park Trails
9400 County Highway O, Two Rivers, WI
Point Beach State Forest features 3,000 acres of land and 6 miles of sandy beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. A popular feature within the property is the Rawley Point Lighthouse, which has been operated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1853. There are 17 miles of hiking trails in the forest ranging from a half mile, to more than 7 miles long.
The Ridges Trail, which starts at the Lodge parking lot, has three connecting loops so you can hike or ski varying distances: Red Loop (3 miles), Red and Blue loops (5.5 miles) or Red, Blue and Yellow loops (7.25 miles).
The Red Pine Trail begins at the parking lot west of County Highway O across from the forest entrance road. The trail is 3.1 miles long. This trail is open to mountain bikes and hikers in the summer and skiers in the winter. Dogs are prohibited during ski season but permitted at other times of the year.
Swales Nature Trail self-guided nature trail is 0.5 miles long. It’s a great place to look for wildflowers, birds and animals as well as to learn how this interesting terrain was formed via self-guided signs. Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
8. Woodland Dunes Trails
Woodland Dunes offers several hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the 1,500-acre preserve that includes beautiful habitats such as woodlands, meadows and marshes. All trails are relatively flat and easily hiked, ranging from ¼ – 2 ½ miles long. In winter, trails are open for cross- country skiing, although not groomed. Trails are open from sunrise to sunset.
Harold Alyea Tower: Get a bird’s eye view of the wetlands from this 30-foot tower located next to the Nature Center. This two-story tower overlooks the West Twin River and has a viewing scope on the second story. Check out the Osprey nest across the yard!
Willow Trail (0.9 mile): This trail passes through diverse habitats, starting with shady shrub carr. After emerging from the cool shrub carr, the trail enters an open meadow, which is a restored prairie. It is particularly breathtaking from mid-summer to late fall. The Goldenrod Loop takes you around Todd’s Pond, where you can pause to enjoy the peace and serenity of this wetland, often full of dragonfly activity. Continue along Willow Trail through meadows and shrubland, then take the Horsetail Loop to visit the largest tree in Manitowoc County. The final part of the trail, about a quarter of a mile, takes you to the bank of the West Twin River, and an observation deck with an informative sign.
Cattail Trail (0.3 mile): The whole family will enjoy this boardwalk that meanders through a shrub swamp, a sedge meadow and a cattail marsh where birds and wetland animals live or visit. Signs along this trail introduce you to the plants and animals found there.
Trails near the Nature Center:
Conifer Trail (0.5 mile): Conifer Trail starts about two blocks from the Nature Center, on Columbus Street. Signs on the west side of the road identify the trailhead. This unique trail follows two ancient beach ridges, crossing a swale in between. You will walk through a mixed hardwood forest.
Trails beginning on Goodwin Road:
Yellow Birch Trail (0.3 mile): This boardwalk takes visitors through woods and wetland where many rarer birds, amphibians and plants can be seen.
Black Cherry Trail (0.8 mile), Trillium Trail (1.5 miles): These two trails meander through the swales and ridges of an ancient beach. You’ll pass through upland mixed hardwoods and a wooded swamp, and may see amphibians, birds and Canadian Carpet plants in summer. Several small bridges cross seasonally wet swales. Open for skiing in winter. The Ice Age Trail follows through a portion of the Trillium Trail.
Coneflower Trail (.74 mile): Circle through Woodland Dunes’ prairie plants, listen to grassland bird songs, observe pollinators foraging, and enjoy the changes from one season to the next.
9. Van der Brohe Arboretum
3800 Lincoln Ave, Two Rivers, WI 54241
Phone: (920) 726-4850
The Van der Brohe Arboretum (VDBA) is engaged in the conversion of a former 65-acre golf course into an ecological center focused on providing an environment for the cultivation and display of the variety of tree types and species which will be suitable for the location in Two Rivers, WI. The trees will be displayed in meadows, and in migratory bird food plots, providing a rich diversity of value to the avian communities. The grounds will ultimately provide an expository narrative of the value of trees to the earth, the climate, the biota of the region, and of course, to human interests.
The trail system comprises three categories of pathways, and outlines the major planting areas and typologies.
- The Primary Trail is eight feet wide, and will initially be paved with crushed limestone. It describes a loop around the site over one mile in length.
- The Secondary Trail is five feet wide, and similarly paved.
- Mowed meadow walkways with a width of four feet will comprise a third level of pathways.
- A ten-foot wide bike trail connection (gray) borders the north end of the grounds.
- There will be no vehicular traffic or bicycles allowed on the Arboretum site, except for service vehicles.
- Cross-country skiing will be allowed, but trails are not currently groomed.