We Tried It: Walking the Trail at Lakeshore State Park During Social Distancing

Looking for a cure for cabin fever? This short hike might be exactly what you need.

Like most everyone in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and across the country, I have been practicing social distancing for what already feels like forever – even if it’s only really been a week. I’ve been working from home, eating at home, reading at home, going for walks near my home and doing darn-near everything from the safety and comfort of my home. And as much as I love my home, I can already feel myself getting a little stir crazy. 

Like most people I know, early on in this isolation I’ve been depending pretty heavily on streaming services and TV to wile away the hours. But as time ticked on, I started to gravitate toward shows that made me feel like I was in the great outdoors, because seriously, how unfair is it that it’s finally kind of nice outside and we’re stuck inside our houses?! But a handful of National Geographic documentaries and multiple seasons of Survivor (yes, it’s even better than you remember, and it’s on Hulu) weren’t enough to make me feel like I had truly escaped the confines of my house  – though they did help me pass some of my suddenly bottomless hours of free time. 


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But for my first weekend of full-blown social distancing, I decided to try something other than going for a walk around the block and flicking on the next season of Wild Yellowstone on Disney +. I wanted to go for a hike. A little research shows, that hikes are not only an acceptable activity during social distancing, but an encouraged hobby for people like me who tend to feel cooped up after hours and hours at home. 

So I set out for for the Hank Aaron State Trail at Lakeshore State Park. The path stretches for 12 miles from Discovery World, past Miller Park and all the way to the Milwaukee County Zoo where it connects with other trails. Not feeling too ambitious, I decided to limit my trek to the area near the water and in the Third Ward – about two miles there and back. 

Pulling in, I got a little worried, because the park looked busier than I expected. It wasn’t crowded, per se, but I certainly didn’t have the path to myself. But once I got on the trail, all of my fears of contact with people subsided. People were spread out and everyone kept their distance from each other. It felt like we were all on the same page: Give a big Midwestern smile from afar and keep walking. No one ever came within 10 feet of me. 

The path itself is beautiful. You get views of the lake, Summerfest grounds and Milwaukee’s picturesque skyline. Breathing in the fresh air, soaking in the sun and taking in the scenery felt like an all-natural cure for cabin fever. When I made it back to the car, I realized that this short walk was exactly what I needed. That little bit of sunshine lifted my spirits and helped me feel ready for another week at home. 

So if you are looking for a short, easy and not-at-all muddy path to get you outside, we highly recommend this one. Remember to respect your fellow hikers and keep your distance. We’re all in this together



Alli Watters is the digital and culture editor at Milwaukee Magazine. That means that in addition to running this website, she covers art, entertainment, style, home and more for the magazine. It also means she doesn't sleep much.