Hiking & Running
in Door County

Hit the Roads, Trails, or Hills

Whether you’re looking for an intense, all-day bike ride or a leisurely trek with the family, Door County boasts some of the best hiking trails in Wisconsin. The region offers scenic winding roads, peaceful trails, five state parks, 19 county parks, and dozens of nature preserves to explore.

Visit the Spring Guide for Trip Ideas & Inspiration.

Hiking in Wisconsin: 6 Great Trails in Door County

The region is packed with roads and trails for visitors of all experience levels, from seasoned hikers to running enthusiasts to casual joggers who love to get outdoors.

  • Sunset Bike Path, Peninsula State Park. With a hard-pack gravel path, loads of historic sites, and no shortage of scenic overlooks, this stretch of PSP is great for hikers (or bikers) of any experience level.

  • Horseshoe Island. This rustic hiking trail encircles the entire island, which is found two miles off Peninsula State Park. To reach it, ambitious hikers typically kayak or boat from Nicolet Bay Beach.

  • Yellow Trail, Whitefish Dunes State Park. This is an expansive hiking trail that takes hikers through woods and across sand dunes. Check out the Whitefish Creek spur at the end of the trail—it leads to a beautiful spot with an incredible view.

  • Eagle Trail, Peninsula State Park. A challenging 2-mile trail for mid-level to experienced hikers, Eagle Trail features uneven terrain, rocky patches, steep cliffs, and stunning views.  In winter, the snow-topped village of Ephraim is visible across the frozen bay. In spring, mini waterfalls trickle down the sides of the bluffs.

  • Hotz Trail, Newport State Park. Hotz Trail is Wisconsin’s only designated wilderness state park. Bike or hike this 3-mile looped trail that goes through forest and woods, alongside a sandy beach, and across hills and rocky terrain.

  • Ahnapee State Trail. A local favorite built atop a now-defunct railway, the Ahnapee Trail is a mostly level, hard-pack gravel trail suitable for biking, hiking, walking, and other trail activities. The 48-mile trail runs from Sturgeon Bay to Luxemburg and coincides with the Ice Age Trail in several spots.

Tips for Hiking in Door County

Door County is a fantastic place to get out and explore, but it helps to be prepared. Know what to expect when you get to the trail so you are not surprised by rugged trails, wet conditions, or other unexpected things that can ruin an otherwise great hiking opportunity.

  • Know your outdoor etiquette. Review the Door County Leave No Trace 7 Principles and practice them when in outdoor spaces. Caring for the trails and ecosystems we love begins with these rules of thumb.

  • Proper footwear is a must! Flip flops might work in downtown Fish Creek but they will not serve you well at a place like Door Bluff Headlands County Park. On the other hand, they might work just fine for a hike down to the beach in Newport State Park. Do some research before you go.

  • You don’t have to do it alone. Take a hike with a guide or nature specialist. For those interested in learning a little more about the area and its plants, animals, and history, watch for naturalist guided hikes at places like The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor, through Door County Land Trust, or one of the many state parks on the peninsula.

  • Watch the ledges. The Green Bay side of the peninsula has some of the greatest views in the Midwest—but view them carefully. Many trails travel along steep limestone cliffs with no guardrails. Use caution while hiking these areas, take your time, and be sure of your footing.

  • Go to the quiet side. The Lake Michigan shore is sometimes neglected. Take advantage of locations like Cave Point County Park and Newport State Park to escape the crowds and see a new side of the region.

Top 5 Scenic Runs in Door County

Check out these 5-mile runs if you have a few hours kill and are looking to get up that heart rate.

1. Gills Rock to Northport: This route takes you along the northernmost portion of Highway 42, which is the well-known “curvy road” that snakes back and forth through the trees. Park in Gills Rock and follow the road to the ferry landing at Northport, then double back for the full route.

2. Waters End Road: This trans-peninsular road and its steep but brief hill is a local favorite. To get the full 4-mile trans-peninsula experience, start at the bay side of Water’s End Road in Sister Bay and have someone pick you up across on the shore of Lake Michigan.

3. Ephraim: Begin your run on Anderson Dock in the Village of Ephraim. Turn right on Highway 42 and run south through town. Run along the bay until you reach Brookside Lane, and turn left. Brookside will bear right and become Hidden Spring Road. Follow Hidden Spring to a fork and turn right on German Road, then take Norway Street left about 0.5 miles to Moravia Street. Turn left on Moravia and follow it to Highway 42. Turn left on 42 and return to Anderson Dock.

4. Ridges Road: This route takes you through beautiful Baileys Harbor. Begin near the marina and run north to Ridges Road. Turn right onto Ridges and jog through the Ridges County Park for about three miles. Take the road all the way to the end of the little peninsula and double back for a 6-mile route.

5. Horseshoe Bay Road: Begin in Frank Murphy Park and run north on Bay Shore Drive and then Horseshoe Bay Road to Bluff Pass, then double back for a 5-mile route.

Watch: Get Outdoors

Whether you are a runner, speed walker, or avid hiker, there's a trail for you in Door County. Come visit to experience the joy of outdoor adventure on foot or two wheels.