Where to Go For Outdoor Winter Activities in Our Area

Tired of the same old sledding hill? Here are some ideas for winter outings that lie o the beaten path.

* Equipment rentals are available.

1. Lapham Peak*

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

This spot boasts some 17 miles of looping trails, color-coded by level of difficulty and including a 2.5-mile lighted trail perfect for after-work visits. Relying on donations, the Friends of Lapham Peak group makes man-made snow for about 1.5 miles of the network, so you’re guaranteed to have something to stride on. Due to the pandemic, the annual Lapham Loppet race has been canceled for the year. 

ADDRESS: W329 N846 County Rd. C, Delafield

2. Kettle Moraine

SNOWSHOEING

Snowshoeing is a relatively inexpensive and accessible winter activity. And the shoes are much easier to store than long skis. After warming up at a local park, branch out to the Northern and Southern Kettle Moraine, where gnarly trails normally reserved for mountain biking transform into snowshoe treks during the winter months.

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3. The Rock SnowPark*

SNOW SPORTS

With COVID guidelines in place, this park is pumping out man-made snow and carrying on for another season with tubing, skiing and snowboarding, all served by a handy rope tow. Beginners (who may purchase lessons) have a special area, and so do intermediate and advanced skiers.

ADDRESS: 7011 S. Ball- park Dr., Franklin

4. Konkel Park*

ICE SKATING

As of press time, this new rink had plans to return for a second year. Last winter, it was a popular local destination for skating and concessions.

ADDRESS: 5151 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield

5. Humboldt Park

ICE SKATING

The reedy pond at the center of this park wears many hats: urban fishing spot, backdrop for Chill on the Hill, and ice skating rink. With help from the Humboldt Park Friends and other volunteers, the Humboldt ice is kept clear and smooth for skaters on winter weekday and weekend afternoons.

ADDRESS: 3000 S. Howell Ave.

6. Lowell Park* 

TOBOGGAN RUN

One of the area’s best-kept secrets, this toboggan run is, in keeping with the old tradition, a towering cross between a sledding hill and a snowy roller coaster. For a small fee, you can rent a toboggan if you don’t have one to bring, and a daily chute pass costs about $10. There’s also a warming shelter and a skating rink that’s open nearby when the weather permits.

ADDRESS: 2201 Michigan Ave., Waukesha

7. Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

NATURE HIKING

With its relatively compact, well-maintained, and diverse trails, the Schlitz Audubon is a popular adventure for families, but these days, you have to register ahead of time online. As a migratory bird refuge, the park is also popular with birdwatchers.

ADDRESS: 1111 E. Brown Deer Rd.

8. Ice Age Trail

NATURE HIKING

The Ice Age Trail, which traces its history to visionary Milwaukeean Ray Zillmer, winds through the state like a great snake and passes through Waukesha and Washington counties. Its path traces the landscape left behind by glaciers. 

9. Urban Ecology Center

BIRD-WATCHING

The Urban Ecology Center is hosting bird-watching out- ings in February at Washington Park (1859 N. 40th St.), Riverside Park (1500 E. Park Pl.), and in the Menomonee Valley (3700 W. Pierce St.). The events are free, but you must register in advance. 


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s February issue.

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Matt has written for Milwaukee Magazine since 2006, when he was a lowly intern. Since then, he’s held the posts of assistant news editor and, most recently, senior editor. He’s lived in South Carolina, Tennessee, Connecticut, Iowa, and Indiana but mostly in Wisconsin. He wants to do more fishing but has a hard time finding worms. For the magazine, Matt has written about city government, schools, religion, coffee roasters and Congress.