* Equipment rentals are available.
1. Lapham Peak*
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
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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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*
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
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*
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
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.
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.
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.