People looking for a hiking trail closer to Whitewater than Door County can look no further than Lapham Peak. The trail offers visitors fantastic views and peaceful trips for casual hikers to hardcore adventurers all year long.
Lapham Peak, part of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, is located south of Delafield on
County Highway C.
I myself live in Watertown, so a drive to the forest takes less than an hour. It quickly became a favorite place that I visited many times last summer.
Like many larger parks, Lapham Peak offers visitors a campground, multiple hiking trails of varying difficulty, as well as trails for horseback riding and bicycling. During the winter months, trails for skiing. Pets are allowed on the trails as well.
One of my favorite trails within the park is the Ice Age Trail.
According to the Ice Age Trail’s page on the DNR’s website, “The Ice Age Trail is a National Scenic Trail located entirely within Wisconsin…From Interstate State Park on the Minnesota border to Potawatomi State Park on Lake Michigan, the Ice Age Trail winds for more than 1,000 miles, following the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin.”
The trail enters Lapham Peak from the northwest and exits at the south end of the park. The trail cuts through the park for 5.6 miles, according to the DNR’s website, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/lapham/.
The trail is considered intermediate difficulty, meaning it is not going to be a smooth, easy walk, but the trail will not have large hills to climb like other trails do. One suggestion for visitors is to start by hiking along the Kame Terrace Trail, which is considered an easy trail, but connects with the Ice Age Trail. The Kame Terrace Trail is a smooth walk through the grass with forests to either side.
Along the Kame Terrace Trail hikers will find the Butterfly Garden. The garden contains hundreds of flowers to attract numerous species of butterflies. The garden is fenced in, but only to protect the plants from wildlife. Visitors can enter and leave via a single gate.
The Kame Terrace Trail continues on and connects with the Ice Age Trail toward the south end of the park. From here, hikers can continue along the Ice Age Trail either south, or northwest.
Hikers taking the trail northwest will come along the park’s observation tower. Standing over 40 feet tall, hikers can see Delefield, the rest of the park, even Holy Hill from the top.
An outdoor stage provides visitors a venue including local bands, comedians, dances and more. It also is available for visitors to rent for special occasions. The Summer Stage is open, as the name suggests, from June to August.
The Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is located just a mile south of I-94 on County Highway C. From spring to fall, the park is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. During the winter months, it is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.