Explore Kettle Moraine Forest While Staying in Port Washington

The Kettle Moraine Forest has plenty of excitement and natural beauty to offer visitors. BBOnline is glad to guide you on your explorations.

Way back in time, glaciers shaped the landscape of southeastern Wisconsin. The hilly ridges are known as moraines and the crater-like depressions are called kettles. In the Southern Unit of this massive forest, there are over 20,000 acres of kettles, glacial hills, lakes, hardwood and pinewood forests and prairies.

Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit
S91 W39091 Hwy 59 (Maple Street)
Eagle, WI 53119
(262) 594-6200
www.dnr.state.wi.us/org

The rolling hills and valleys of the Kettle Moraine Forest attract Nordic skiers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, hikers and lovers of scenic drives. Plus there are two beaches where you can swim and enjoy tours of historic sites and nature programs.

The Southern Unit of this forest stretches for 30 miles starting from the village of Dousman, Wisconsin, almost all the way to the city of Whitewater. It's the best outing you could have from your Port Washington Bed and Breakfast.  

Trails in the Kettle Moraine Forest

You can hike the Scuppernong, Emma Carlin, John Muir and Nordic trails, as well as the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. If you want to get away from the crowds, hit the longer trails - the John Muir blue loop and the connector trails which link the Muir and Carlin trail systems. The John Muir red loop is a great hike for beginners.

The well-marked Nordic trails take you through hardwood forests, pine plantations, meadows and prairies and there's something here for all skill levels. The scenic heavily wooded Scuppernong Trail System is suitable for both hiking and intermediate classic cross country skiing.

If you like hiking through a variety of landscapes, head to the Carlin trails with their overlooks, which make this hike particularly interesting. Remember to wear long socks, long pants and long sleeved shirts as there are deer and wood ticks in the grass.

In the summer months, it's a good idea to hike the mountain bike trails in the opposite (counterclockwise) direction so you won't have to worry about collisions with bikes. Plus you'll enjoy beautiful views of the Wisconsin prairies and could even see deer, turkey or pheasant.

The trails in the Kettle Moraine Forest probably offer the best mountain biking in Southern Wisconsin. For bikers the Carlin is pretty challenging but the most challenging is the John Muir 10-mile blue-loop trail, designed specifically for mountain biking. Either you should have a good suspension-equipped bike or be an advanced level rider to tackle this challenging trail. Watch out for patches of sand. Warm up first with the 1.5-mile red loop trail.   

Historic Sites

There are three restored log cabins in the park and the 'Old World Wisconsin' displays ethnic farmsteads that include crossroads villages and furnished houses.

Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive

This 115-mile drive winds through six Wisconsin counties. Near its northern end is Elkhart Lake in Sheboygan County and its southern end is at Whitewater Lake in Walworth County. En route you'll find many spots for picnics, hiking, biking, swimming and shopping. You can also visit historical sites en route. The experience will enhance the coziness and comfort of your Port Washington Inn.