Peninsula Trails Promise Spring Adventures

It’s time to shake off the drowsy grey days of winter and venture into spring. There’s no better place than Peninsula State Park.

The park offers 40 miles of hiking and biking trails, including Door County’s most dramatic route, Eagle Trail. This two-mile, rugged walk circles the base of a bluff that reaches upwards of 150 feet. Eagle Bluff can be icy and slippery in spring, so a more sure-footed option would be Hidden Bluff Trail. Park at the Nature Center and link up to this graveled, level route. By summer, Hidden Bluff is busy with bikers but in spring it promises a quiet meander along low-lying outcroppings of the Niagara Escarpment.

The Wisconsin Legislature has proclaimed 2010 the Year of the Niagara Escarpment, and Peninsula State Park safeguards Wisconsin’s largest contiguous tract. The park’s Like to Hike program, in place since 2002, highlights the escarpment. Like to Hike promotes healthy outdoor recreation by challenging participants to hike, bike, ski or snowshoe five trails. Then, they may purchase a custom pin at cost ($3). This year’s pin design features the Niagara Escarpment with a bat in the foreground.

Peninsula’s new hiking shield, a collector item for hiking sticks, features a bird that has become common (if not abundant) in the park: the pileated woodpecker. Crow-sized with a blazing thatch of feathers atop its head, it is Wisconsin’s largest woodpecker. As the park’s 3,776 acres have become reforested over the past century, so has this species’ habitat improved.

If you’d like to try your luck at spotting a pileated woodpecker, or learn more about the Niagara Escarpment, come to a Peninsula nature program. Programs are free and open to the public, but a state park vehicle sticker is required. Also, consider joining the archives work group at one of its March meetings. This group is sorting and filing historic photos and documents.

For more information call Kathleen Harris at 920.868.3258 or email [email protected].