Hike for the Health of It

Have you ever wanted to explore the Door County Land Trust properties but didn’t know where to start? Join a volunteer leader and other community members in the Hike for Health program through United Way’s Healthy Door County initiative.

This is the first exercise-related program that Healthy Door County has launched, said Shauna Blackledge, the community-impact coordinator for Healthy Door County, who suggested that the initiative expand beyond solely nutritional work.

“One of our United Way board members suggested a walking program and put me in touch with their contact at Door County Land Trust,” she said. “The Land Trust hadn’t been offering its guided hikes due to COVID-19 and leadership changes, so they suggested that we offer a program utilizing the 14 Land Trust trails.”

Throughout the summer, volunteer leaders – not guides, she emphasized – and community members are hiking those trails, though they’ll explore only 12 of them before the program wraps up this summer. Joe Kopec, a volunteer for both United Way and Door County Land Trust, was one of the first leaders to sign up. 

The hikes have drawn crowds of two dozen before, Kopec said, but this Saturday, it was just the two of us. The hikes vary in length week to week, but they’re slated to last about an hour. Our 1.5-mile loop at the Lautenbach Woods Nature Preserve took us about 45 minutes to complete. 

The hikes aren’t as intense as some at the state parks, but they aren’t completely even or easy either. If you want a preview of what’s in store before heading out, you can check for information about the trails involved in the scheduled hikes.

The pathways also provide a look at the natural features of Door County. The Lautenbach Woods is about four acres – not nearly the largest Land Trust property – but it still provided plenty of opportunities to see some nature and get in some physical movement.

“You don’t need to be experienced,” Kopec said. “This is just about getting people to get out and be active.”

Blackledge said Healthy Door County plans to continue offering exercise-related programs and that Door County Land Trust is planning to reinstate its guided hikes – and hopefully, she said, they’ll continue to work together.

“We chose the Land Trust trails because they all provide free access and highlight our beautiful county,” she said. “We want hiking to be a fun and approachable activity because there are so many options to enjoy hiking in Door County.”

The hikes take place every Saturday, 10 am, with three remaining this summer: on Aug. 13 at Legacy Nature Preserve at Clay Banks, 1188 S. Lake Michigan Dr.; on Aug. 20 at Heins Creek Nature Preserve, 7112 Hwy 57; and on Aug. 27 at Oak Road Nature Preserve, 6391 Oak Road. 

Learn more about the hikes and trails on Healthy Door County’s Facebook page and at Door County Land Trust’s website,


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