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Hike This: Hemlock Trail in Potawatomi State Park

Tucked into the southwest edge of the City of Sturgeon Bay is Potawatomi State Park, a wilderness often overlooked by visitors flocking to Peninsula State Park to the north or the beaches of Whitefish Dunes and Cave Point to the east. This less-traveled park should not be underrated. 

Get a taste of it on the Hemlock Trail, which offers a moderate, 2.6-mile hike through the woods and along the shoreline, where the waters of Green Bay meet Sturgeon Bay. You’ll wind your way up climbs that will get your lungs pumping a bit, and you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city’s eastern shoreline, from the old stone quarry to the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding cranes at work. 

The shoreline stretch of the trail overlaps with the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a 1,000-mile National Scenic Trail that winds along the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. 

The Sturgeon Bay shipyards are visible in the distance. Photo by Myles Dannhausen Jr.

HEMLOCK TRAIL AT A GLANCE

Highlights: Panoramic views of Sturgeon Bay’s eastern shoreline, including the old stone quarry and the shipyards. The trail winds inland along rocky outcroppings and mixed hardwood forest. 

Difficulty: Moderate. There are some rocky climbs and descents. 

Distance: 2.6 miles. Allow 45-60 minutes to complete the hike. Or, take a quicker out-and-back hike along the shoreline portion of the trail.

The Hemlock Trail in Potawatomi State Park offers panoramic views of Sturgeon Bay’s eastern shore, from the old stone quarry to the shipyards. Photo by Myles Dannhausen Jr.

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