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Hiking in the Hills: Visitors Center Staff Favorites

To wrap up our Hiking in the Hills blog series, it’s time to get the inside scoop on where we like to walk! We get asked all the time in the Visitors Center for recommendations on hiking trails and usually we try to give a pretty unbiased answer. Not today…we’re totally playing favorites! Read below to discover Visitors Center staff members’ top Brown County treks and why we love them so much!

Kelsey’s Favorite – Trail 8 in the Brown County State Park

“Brown County State Park’s Trail 8 is my favorite day hike because it’s a great four-mile loop with lots of different features to pass along the way. The trail begins and ends at the West Lookout Tower (a neat spot for a photo op in itself) and takes you through the woods, crossing multiple flights of stairs down into wooded valley, past shelter houses, over some small bridges, and even a quick stop by Hesitation Point, a well-known vista view in the park. With all these great places to take a picture, it’s best to bring your camera…especially if the leaves are in color in October!”

Beth’s Favorite – Trails at T.C. Steele State Historic Site

“The 211-acre preserve at T.C. Steele State Historic Site, including the two-mile loop trails (Woodpecker, Whippoorwill, and Wildflower) top my list because of their beauty and pioneer ruins. In the springtime, the wildflowers are lush in the ravines; and in the fall, bright and bizarre fungi cover the forest floor. There’s also the bonus of the gardens, cabin, cemetery, paint wagon, and views! There’s so much to see. IF a longer hike is desired, there is a spur to the Tecumseh Trail too. My boots are calling me to the wilds!”

Two of our Staffer’s Favorite – Trail 6 in the Brown County State Park

“Trail 6 around Strahl Lake is by far my favorite! It’s short and sweet (about a mile) with a beautiful view throughout the whole hike. I love the stairs at the beginning of the hike and the waterfall never disappoints. It is beautiful and a great spot for some good pictures! This trail also is one of my favorites because it’s family-friendly, and kids can do it easily as well.”

-Whitney

“I love Trail 6 in the park around Strahl Lake! I like to start from the Nature Center and wander down the wooden steps to the lake, which adds some extra mileage to the trip. I think it’s one of the prettiest trails in the park because of the lake and the reflection of the trees off the lake. The stairs back up to the Nature Center at the end are a nice challenge and makes for a rewarding hike!”

-Brooke

Jane’s Favorite – Tecumseh Trail

“The 42-mile Tecumseh Trail is my favorite! It was my first backpacking adventure, planned around a full moon in April. The timing of the three-night, four-day trip was perfect. When we started the trail, there were no leaves on the trees. At trails end, we crossed a valley of trees and wildflowers in full bloom. It was magical to see them open right before my eyes. The solitude of the forest was awe-inspiring. I looked forward to the clear, cool waters of the creeks, another advantage of a spring hike. They made for the perfect stop to re-energize and treat the feet with some much-needed love. And, while I did not see any rattlesnakes, I definitely heard one while sharing one of those creeks. The Tecumseh takes you through the hills and valleys and wanders through creek beds and along ponds. If you want to emerge yourself in nature, test your endurance, and experience trail bliss, this hike is for you! It pushed my limits and drew me closer to these hills that I so dearly love.”

Aubrey’s Favorite – Trail 4, 5, & 7 Loop in the Brown County State Park

“I’ve always loved Trail 7 in the State Park around Ogle Lake, but I discovered a way to tack on some extra mileage and make a big giant loop by connecting some other trails to it! This loops starts at the campground parking lot, where you will go down Trail 5, then hop on Trail 4 for a little bit before reaching Ogle Lake (Trail 7). You’ll do the full loop around Ogle Lake, then head back up Trail 4 to the campground parking lot. Altogether it’s probably about a 3.5-mile hike. It;’s a personal favorite because you get to experience the quiet, secluded forest on Trails 4 and 5, but also the beautiful, open lake on Trail 7. With lots of benches, tables, and decks along Trail 7, you can stop for a break to take in the scenic view, local wildlife, and snap some pictures. Just be sure you go down Trail 5 first and up Trail 4 instead of the other way round…it’s so much easier. Trust me, I learned the hard way!”

There you have it, a local perspective on some awesome Brown County hikes! Time to get out there and tackle the trails! Feel free to share your favorite hiking pics with us by hash tagging #ilovebrowncounty on social media, or comment them below!

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