As a distance runner, I prioritized one item on the baby registry for my first child as a “must-have”: a jogging stroller, and preferably one that could handle both paved roads and the rugged terrain found on several hiking trails throughout the county’s parks and natural areas.
The great thing about Door County’s outdoor amenities is that there truly is something for everyone. From hiking to cycling to running – and even jogging with a stroller – there’s a trail for that.
But even the toughest jogging stroller isn’t designed to take on every single trail on the peninsula (though we’ve been known to test the limits of our trusty BOB Revolution Flex 3.0). To ease your search and get you out on the trails sooner, here are five jogging-stroller-friendly options that offer a variety of surfaces, trail types and scenery.
Ellison Bluff Trail
To get there: Take Highway 42 north to Porcupine Bay Road, then head west on Porcupine Bay Road for 0.8 miles. Turn right on Ellison Bluff Road, and continue for almost a mile. (Turn left to stay on Ellison Bluff Road at 0.7 miles.)
Trail highlights: This easy, mostly shaded, 1.2-mile loop is great for a walk, easy jog or, for the more ambitious, mile repeats on a day when the trail isn’t being heavily used. (It’s off the beaten path, but it’s definitely no secret.) Thanks to the relatively recent handicapped-friendly trail updates, including the hard-pack stone trail surface, this option is easy on strollers, too. Various sections of the trail feature different tree species, providing teachable moments for impromptu nature lessons with the kids.
Hotz Trail, Newport State Park (Europe Bay)
To get there: Take Highway 42 north to Europe Bay Road, then head east on Europe Bay Road until it dead-ends at the parking area for Ferdinand Hotz Park/Liberty Grove Town Park.
Trail highlights: At right around three miles, the Hotz Trail offers a nice, medium-distance excursion with the best of both worlds: woods and water. Although the mostly easy, wide path meanders through the forest, you’ll encounter several shorter trails that lead you off the path to the water’s edge. It also has a few small hills compared to the other trails listed – making it a top pick if you want something that feels a bit closer to a traditional trail run – but it’s one that can still be done with a jogging stroller designed for more rugged ground.
Sunset Bike Path, Peninsula State Park
To get there: After entering Peninsula State Park at the main entrance (9462 Shore Road in Fish Creek), park in the Fish Creek parking lot to pick up the Sunset Bike Path at its southern terminus.
Trail highlights: At 9.6 miles, the Sunset Bike Path offers plenty of options, whether you’re looking for a long run or just a nice, hard-pack gravel surface for a few quick miles. Along the way, you can stop at historical sites and scenic overlooks and even take a detour along Hidden Bluff: a scenic, three-quarter-mile spur with access to the nature center. This is one of the more heavily traveled paths in the park – used by cyclists, runners and walkers alike – so be aware of your surroundings and other travelers.
Vita Course, Peninsula State Park
To get there: From within the state park, access the trail from the southwest corner of the amphitheater parking lot.
Trail highlights: At just one mile long, this easy, short-and-sweet trail is a fun option if you have children who are young enough to ride in the stroller, but old enough to want to get out to explore on their own. The trail’s 11 exercise stations are also ideal for adding some cross training to your workout and involving your little ones in some fitness fun.
Ahnapee State Trail (Northern Trailhead Sturgeon Bay)
To get there: Access the trailhead and parking from Highway 42. In Sturgeon Bay, turn south off Highway 42 onto South Neenah Avenue, and drive 1.2 miles. (Watch for a brown Ahnapee State Trail sign on the right.) Then turn left to reach the parking area, about 0.2 miles north of Wilson Road.
Trail highlights: Although you likely won’t be completing all 48 miles of this rail trail, the mostly flat, crushed-limestone surface does make an ideal course for creating out-and-back training sessions of varying distances, speed play training or longer recovery runs. Being a rail trail, it offers a wider path and fewer twists and turns than some of the traditional hiking trails in state parks and designated natural areas.