Run This: A Hilly 7.5 Miles: High Roads to North Maple

This route outside Baileys Harbor won’t let you down

by Jake Danen

If you’re looking for a challenging road run with some soaring views of Door County’s beautiful landscape and geography, the following route outside of Baileys Harbor won’t let you down. This route covers about 7.5 miles, with some gentle elevation to get you warmed up and some serious, long elevation to challenge you as well. Don’t be daunted, though: What goes up must come down, and these downhills make you feel fast and spry.

Jake Danen’s running route outside Baileys Harbor. Submitted.

There’s a small “parking area” at the southern end of Red Cherry Road where it meets County E. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s part of The Nature Conservancy and is rarely used. From there, face due north up the gentle hill of Red Cherry Road and begin your journey. When you reach the stop sign at 1.5 miles, now about 100 feet higher, take a left onto County EE. 

Travel west along farm fields frequented (seasonally) by sandhill cranes, Canada geese and whitetail deer until the first intersection, High Ridge Road, where you’ll once again head north up a moderate grade. The next stop sign brings Highland Road. Turn west (left), and charge up a challenging, but thankfully short climb that gives glimpses through the cedars of a lovely pasture to your right and then a fast decline through hardwood forest straight ahead.

Take a left onto High Plateau Road and enjoy the flat, calm space of our pastoral landscape. Farm fields lead to swamp as you descend toward County EE, take a right to cross Peil Creek and look ahead to the first left of North Maple Road. 

After completing the turn, you’ll be facing due south and gazing at an intimidating, but rewarding 175-foot climb over just two-thirds of a mile. The hill is harsh. It gives the slightest reprieve, just to send you back up a steeper grade, but the close canopy of the deciduous trees offers comfort, like a hug after a triumph well earned.

Top of first challenging climb, on Highland Road. Photo by Jake Danen.

From atop the hill on North Maple Road, it’s an easy coast downhill to veer left onto County E and another left toward Kangaroo Lake. Glimpses north and south offer beautiful views of the peaceful lake and its outdoor enthusiasts. Before you know it, 7.5 miles have ticked by and you’re standing back at your car, ready for water and a nice, dynamic warm-down.

Always be mindful of traffic when road running, particularly on county highways, where vehicular speeds can be high.

This article has been corrected from its original print run for clarity.