“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” -John Muir
Hiking the Zillmer Trails
Winter is finally over, and spring has been periodically gracing us with its presence throughout the last few months. I have had the pleasure of going on two hikes during that time – The first hike was weeks ago on Wisconsin’s John Muir Trail, and the second was in the second week of May on the Zillmer Trail.
These trails are packed with beautiful scenery, dozens of species of birds, and plant life galore! I hiked the yellow segment for the third time last weekend. Each hike has been a little different, with varying levels of traffic on the trail, and an array of wildlife sightings.
There is one thing that stays the same on all of the Kettle Moraine State Park trails, and that is the fantastic trail maintenance. So here is a gigantic thank you to the volunteers and park workers who have dedicated their time to making our parks so beautiful and welcoming to visitors of all species!
The 5.4 mile (8.6 km) yellow loop is the longest hiking/cross country skiing loop in the Zillmer area, but not the most difficult. I would consider it a very low-exertion hike, with comfortably wide paths and gradual slopes.
My favorite part about this hiking area is that you can rely on mile markers to track your progress. This is not a feature I have been able to find on trails in the Southern Unit of Kettle Moraine State Park.
The Zillmer area is located in the Northern Unit of Kettle Moraine State Park. All state parks require a daily or annual admission sticker on each vehicle in the lot. You can find information about sticker prices on Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources website.
There are multiple ways to purchase your sticker, but I think it’s easiest to do it right at the park, at a park office. When the park office is closed, you can still purchase a sticker by filling out an order form and putting money into an envelope located on the premises. This type of payment is based on the honor system.
As I have said before, the conditions of the state parks are great, and the beauty you will find within them is immense. These aspects alone will hopefully be inspiration enough to support the parks by honoring the system.
Driving directions: I-45 to the Zillmer Hiking Trail Area
Here are the GPS coordinates for the entrance area to the Zillmer trails:
And these are Siri’s directions, with my little tidbits added in:
- Go North on I-45.
- Highway ends (near Sunburst Ski Hill) and turns into Fon Du Lac Ave.
- Continue North on Fon Du Lac Ave. until you enter Kewaskum village center.
- Turn right onto Main St. at a T intersection.
- Drive .4 miles and turn left on Hwy G (before Citgo gas station).
- Drive 7.0 miles and turn left on Hwy SS (by big black and white building).
- Drive .4 miles and turn right into Zillmer Trail Area.
Zillmer Entrance Area
Here you’ll find the hub of several trails leading away from a large parking lot surrounded by trees. Also in the entrance area are some well-kept bathrooms with vault toilets and hand sanitizer, and a large fire pit with benches around it. Finally, there is a big, log cabin-style building, available for groups to rent.
This is one of many amazing hiking areas in the state of Wisconsin. I know I have only dipped my feet into the large pool of hiking possibilities, but I plan to keep sharing them with you as I discover them!
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