Here’s Your Guide to Milwaukee Hikes, Runs and Walks

This spring, there’s no shortage of reasons to get outside and explore the urban wilderness. Lace up your boots and running shoes and hit the pavement.

5 Milwaukee Hikes to Add to Your List

A walk in nature isn’t good only for your heart, in the cardiovascular sense; it’s also good for your soul. Barbara Ali, local author and vice president of Friends of Milwaukee County Parks, has been to just about every park in the area. Here are her favorite walks:

➸ We’ll start off with a given: Downtown’s 3.1-Mile Riverwalk is the perfect stroll “for any season,” Ali says. It combines skyscraper views with pockets of art and a view of the kayakers (or ice, depending on the lateness of our spring).

Grant Park’s Seven Bridges Trail is another all-season all-star that has been earning its reputation for over 100 years. You’ll take in 10 bridges (despite the name) if you follow the nearly three miles of paths.

➸ At 3610 N. Lake Drive, the easy-to-miss Shorewood Nature Preserve features a steep path that leads you down to the lake. Along the way, you might just see yellow warblers and gobs of wildflowers, which will likely be coming into bloom this month. And the hike back up is the perfect opportunity for a little posterior toning.

➸ Travel north along the Milwaukee River on a 1.5-mile trail through Estabrook Park and you’ll eventually land in Lincoln Park. The river provides the eye candy, and then once you’ve made your way back to Estabrook, the beer garden there provides the post-walk refreshments. 

Bonus Hike! Head to Lynden Sculpture Garden on April 15 and you can bring Fido, too, as part of their monthly Dog Days, where pups are allowed to be walking companions as you take in the art.

 Star Trek: Insomniacs rejoice! Moonlight hikes are an actual thing.

Brew City Safari hikers traverse Juneau Park in the wee hours of the morning. Photo by Matthew Balz

The only people out past bar time are third shifters, hungry imbibers and now… hikers? Brew City Safari, an organization run by Christian Matson-Alvirez, offers night hikes in various parts of the city starting at 3:30 a.m. These expeditions are from five to 10 miles long and are often timed so that they end at the lake for an aquatic view of sunrise. Brew City Safari also offers day hikes, but the night hikes are extremely popular, so register online early to get a spot. Don’t be worried about going alone – you’ll bond in the darkness with 20-plus fellow night owls. And don’t worry about getting lost either, as Matson-Alvirez’s 6-foot-10- inch frame is hard to miss. This month’s trek (April 23) explores the Menomonee Valley, beginning at the intersection of Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue and ending at Calvary Cemetery at daybreak.

3 Fun Runs to Try this Month

Grant Park’s Seven Bridges Trail. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee County Parks
2017 Run 4 Water MKE Run/Walk

Galavant around the Lakefront for a day that benefits water-related projects undertaken by MSOE’s Engineers Without Borders.  April 30, Veterans Park, 1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.

Run the Trailbreaker 2017

The 25th annual run features Lapham Peak’s gorgeous scenery.  April 1, Schuetze Recreation Center, 1120 Baxter St., Waukesha.

Third Space Brewing’s Beer Run

An urban, open-trail run with liquid motivation. 5k, April 22, Third Space Brewing.

‘Run for Fun,’ ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Plan Your Path’ appear in the April 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning April 3, or buy a copy at

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