TOP 3 OUTDOOR ADVENTURE DESTINATIONS IN CENTRAL WISCONSIN
With the hustle of every day, I am finding it more and more important to stop, take a breath and look around. Central Wisconsin truly amazes me around every corner. I admit, I have the advantage of living on the private
property of Mystic Ponds Estate with pond views and walking trails through the woods. But – there is so much to do and so much more to see. Nature to me is more than just beauty, it is my calm. It quiets my thoughts; it slows my pace and changes my mood in minutes. What is more calming than the sound of a breeze moving through trees, birds chirping and squirrels scurrying? Nothing in my book. My favorite local places are by no means a hidden secret. Read on and see if we share some of the same places or if you now have a new place to check out. BTW – I am always up for a good adventure! Faith
GREEN CIRCLE TRAIL – STEVENS POINT
The Green Circle hiking and biking trail is 27 miles of connecting segments throughout Stevens Point’s various parks, meadows, woods and along the river. I am navigationally challenged and having reference maps, visible signs and painted arrows on the roadways is an immense help to stay the course. The Schmeeckle Reserve located off of North Point Drive is the headquarters with free parking, maps and a restroom. The map is super easy to understand and above all will keep you from getting lost. An interactive version and free download is available at https://greencircletrail.org/explore-the-trail-index/maps/. It is common to see deer traveling through and birds enjoying the shorelines.
My favorite part – The Stevens Point Sculpture Park https://stevenspointsculpturepark.org/ a little detour off of the Brickyard trail or park at 900 North Second Street. The environmental art of local and national artists is scattered creatively amongst the 20 acres is available for viewing year-round thanks to an all-volunteer committee.
RIB MOUNTAIN STATE PARK – WAUSAU
The mountain (or hill as some would debate) has breathtaking views of Wausau for miles and miles. If that isn’t enough elevation for you there is also a 60 foot observation tower however it is not for the faint of heart! Rib Mountain State Park has something for everyone. During spring, summer and fall you can use the campground, picnic shelters and 13 miles of hiking trails through gigantic rock formations. The trail elevation and rough terrain can sneak up on you so be prepared to take your time. If time is a concern, the nice and smooth asphalt trail is the way to go.
The park is off of Hwy 51 south of Wausau with the entrance on State Park Road. It does require a Wisconsin state park admission sticker which can be purchased online at https://yourpassnow.com/ParkPass/wi . In the winter the trail just south of the entrance station is groomed for snowshoeing. And the northside of the mountain has the Granite Peak Ski and Snowboard area with 55 trails and 7 lifts. I personally have never made it past the “beginner friendly” hill but is always a day full of laughs for the family.
WILDWOOD PARK & ZOO – MARSHFIELD
The Wildwood Zoo in Marshfield off of 17th Street is perfect for all ages and abilities to leisurely enjoy and learn about wildlife. And most importantly free! Yes, that is correct – free! The Zoo has been sensory certified which means they provide at no cost noise cancelling headphones, lap pads and fidget tools. It takes me hours to go through and see all of the North American species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Although that time may be padded by getting some candy at the gift shop. Get to know the animals at https://www.ci.marshfield.wi.us/visitors/wildwood_park_and_zoo/meet_our_zoo_animals/index.php. Don’t forget in Wisconsin there are four seasons. The Zoo is open and has a different ambiance during every one of the seasons. In the summer there are more birds chirping and animals napping in the sun.
December winter brings transformation in the zoo for the Rotary Winter Wonderland featuring over the top amounts of holiday cheer décor, lights, horse drawn wagon rides and local musicians throughout. The schedule of events is at https://rotarywinterwonderland.org/events/. Looking a wolf in the eyes while sipping hot chocolate is unforgettable!