Some of America's most stunning landscapes are the result of centuries of natural forces. There's no better example of this than Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. Thousands of years ago, glaciers sculpted hills, prairies, and lakes here, depositing rich soil for trees and grass to thrive in. The forests and rolling landscape that resulted make for some pretty special scenic cruises, and the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive makes the most of this glacial landscaping. It connects various individual units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest via backroads and routes, so as you drive along, stop at each park and admire the beauty!
Long Lake Recreation Area in Cascade, Wisconsin, is the premier place to satisfy your outdoor and camping needs. With over 200 camping sites to choose from, and access to virtually any outdoor activity under the sun, you'll have everything you need to keep you and your group happy. While there is plenty to do in the recreation area, the main attraction is the beautiful Long Lake, which is over two miles long. Go out for a quick kayak ride or gather a group for fishing; the lake will keep you satisfied for the day or an extended stay. The unbelievable views of the lake and the surrounding campgrounds make even a picnic memorable.
Note: When planning your trip, please be sure to abide by the park’s firewood rules as they are vitally important to the local community.
Widmer's Cheese Cellars
Wisconsin is famous for its wide variety of cheeses, and Widmer's Cheese Cellars has played a major role in developing a thriving cheese community. This cheesemaking operation was founded over 80 years ago, and continues to have an impact in the local community. It's a four-generation cheese business, so these guys know their stuff. The factory tour makes cheese even more fun than it already was, and you'll learn everything from the cheesemaking process to the rich history of Wisconsin cheese, as well as the history of Widmer's. You'll definitely want to give the mild brick cheese a taste during your visit. Even if you're not a big cheese fan, a tour here is a must for all ages.
Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Area
The Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Area is a forest mixed with landforms carved and formed by glaciers. Glacial Blue Hills offers views of the breathtaking forest and plenty of trails to hike, bike, and explore. If you enjoy running, you'll definitely find the park welcoming on all fronts. Known for its incredible biking trails, Glacial Blue Hills Recreation Area is both peaceful and secluded, and significantly less crowded than other popular Wisconsin destinations. While there are plenty of trails to choose from, most tend to be on the more difficult side, so be sure to take note when planning your adventure. The park also offers several orienteering trails for the more daring nature enthusiast.
Pike Lake State Park
Pike Lake State Park is home to the Kettle Moraine State Forest and is open year round from 6AM to 11PM. The Kettle Moraine State Forest is in the middle of the Kettle Moraine, a group of glacial landforms that extends all the way to Lake Winnebago. In the middle of the forest is a breathtaking view, resulting from the hills and formations sculpted by the ancient glaciers. Pike Lake State Park offers fantastic views, and the opportunity to camp, swim, hike and fish.
The 115-mile Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive gives you unparalleled access to the immense beauty that Wisconsin has to offer, and carries you through six distinct counties of Wisconsin. During the drive, you'll witness incredible forest views, as well as encounter the numerous geological effects from the Wisconsin Glaciation period. Much of what you'll see during the drive is a direct result of several massive glaciers (which were up to two miles wide) colliding to create the geological landmasses you see today. Many of the lakes, rivers, and wetlands are the direct result a series of events that occurred over a hundred thousand years ago. Along the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive there are multiple places to stop for photos, picnics, hikes, camping, and historical site touring.
Wisconsin Auto Museum
A definite "do not miss" for any automotive enthusiast, history buff, or pop culture fan, the Wisconsin Auto Museum provides hours of learning and fun. The museum offers an unrivaled collection of vintage cars, some dating back over a hundred years, as well as the fascinating history behind each one. In addition to the incredible car collection, the museum is home to historical memorabilia and artifacts such as vintage license plates and gas containers. While discovering the history of each car in the collection, you'll also learn about the incredible former owners of the automobiles, including Amelia Earhart, Mary Pickford, Fatty Arbuckle, and other cultural icons. Whether you consider yourself an automotive expert or not, you'll find yourself wanting "just 5 more minutes" many times over in this popular museum.
Lapham Peak offers a wide variety of landscapes to explore, from swamps to hills to forests, and you can explore them all along the park's high-quality hiking trails, which are suitable for all ages. Like the Kettle Moraine, Lapham Peak was formed by massive glaciers covering what is now Wisconsin. With multiple hiking trails to choose from and plenty to do and see along each, you'll want to allocate the right amount of time for your journey. The visitor center also offers some incredible insight on the history and impact of Lapham Peak, and is a must-stop. Also, be sure to check out the exceptional 45-foot observatory tower, if you want to make the most of fantastic views you won't find anywhere else.
Paradise Springs Nature Trail
At Paradise Springs Nature Trail you'll find the remnants of a pool house and horse track, built by an eccentric millionaire, but now abandoned. The hiking trail is very easy and a lovely walk through the forgotten history of the area.
The Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit covers a massive amount of ground, with more than 22,000 acres of glacial hills and lakes, and it comes with more hiking trails than you could ever imagine, in addition to some completely breathtaking scenery. Whether you want to hike, horseback ride, bike, or even cross country ski, the options are endless in the Kettle Moraine Southern Unit. Regardless of which trail you choose or how you wish to travel, you'll be exposed to lush marshes, rolling prairies, colorful foliage, and geographical anomalies that formed as the result of glacial activity. Of course, you also have the option to camp and picnic all through the Kettle Moraine State Forest, making it the perfect chance to get away from the stresses of our modern day. There's a little bit of something for everyone in this beautiful park.
Not often do you get to experience the incredible sights and scenes created by massive glacier activity that happened hundreds of thousands of years ago, but as you make your way through Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, you'll be doing exactly that. Whether you have an interest in nature, cars, geology, or you're just looking to explore your own backyard here in the United States, you'll find yourself wishing you could do the trip over and over again.
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