Hike This: Bay Shore Blufflands

Bay Shore Blufflands, a Door County Land Trust property just north of Sturgeon Bay, provides a varied landscape with enough miles of trail that you can spend a leisurely hour or so enjoying the great outdoors. 

The trail’s bluff section is steep, so be prepared to feel as though you’re on a stair-stepper for a while. Or, walk the lower and upper sections separately to avoid the steep terrain. Park at the lower entry, 5454 Bay Shore Dr.; or at the upper entry, 5519 Reynolds Road. To complete the full trail, you’ll clock about two and a half miles of walking through fields, bluffs, forests and grassy spaces. 

From the lower entry, nearest the western shoreline, you can peer up at the soaring, vast bluffside, and if you plan your timing correctly, it can look like a patchwork quilt of fall colors. Yellow, orange, green, brown and shades in between blend to provide a gorgeous autumn display. 

You’ll hike through a grassy meadow toward the bluff, strolling through a cluster of white poplar trees that turn a brilliant yellow in the fall. Soon you’ll arrive at a fork in the trail. To the left, the path leads to more meadows and views of Lake Michigan; to the right, the trail ascends into the woods and up the bluffside past rocky outcroppings. If you scale the bluff, you’ll continue on the trail, looping through tall forests and open meadows. 

Look for a variety of birds, butterflies and deer that meander through the 273 acres of quiet, natural area, and enjoy the Niagara Escarpment’s varied plant life. Hike with your sweetheart around sunset to watch the sky melt into a rainbow of pastel colors.

5454 Bay Shore Dr., about five minutes north of Sturgeon Bay
Difficulty: Easy in the lowlands, difficult for the bluff climb
Distance: Two and a half miles of hiking on 273 acres
Highlights: Beautiful colors in autumn, varied terrain and wildflowers, and beautiful, panoramic views of Green Bay