Wednesday, June 08, 2022


by Alana LaBeaf

In honor of our Summer Reading Program – Read Beyond the Beaten Path (have you signed up yet? If not, hop to it!), I am highlighting some trail guides of all types focused on the state of Wisconsin. So dust off your paddles or hiking poles, and start planning your next adventure!

 Isle Royale National Park: Foot Trails and Water Routes by Jim DuFresne

This is a slightly older edition, but the good thing about (largely) uninhabited islands is that the trails and inlets don’t change too frequently! Isle Royale is Wisconsin’s only National Park, and it sits within Lake Superior. Getting there takes a bit more planning than most outdoor escapes in the state, but the views, the animals, and the adventure will take your breath away!

 Ice Age Trail Atlas: 112 Detailed Color Hiking Maps to Help You Connect With The Ice Age National Scenic Trail and Ice Age Trail Guidebook 2020-2022 Edition: More than 100 Detailed Segment-by-Segment Descriptions and Maps to Help You Connect With The Ice Age National Scenic Trail, both by the Ice Age Trail Alliance

If you can get a hold of the latest Ice Age Trail atlas and guidebook, you will learn everything you need to get started on the trail that tells the tale of how Wisconsin was formed by glaciers 12,000 years ago. Complete the 1,000 mile trail in segments, or, if you’re a very skilled backpacker with some time in your pocket, as a through hike.

 Rail Trails, Michigan & Wisconsin: The Definitive Guide to The Region’s Top Multiuse Trails by the Rails-to Trails Conservancy

As with the Ice Age Trail, rail trails – which go along railroad tracks – are a great way to mix up your hike (or your bike!), as they go through both urban and lush wilderness environments. The guide includes the Elroy-Sparta State Trail in Wisconsin – considered to be the oldest rail-trail in the country – along with 62 other trails across the two states.

 A Dog Lover’s Guide to Hiking Wisconsin State Parks by Danielle St. Louis

I'm personally not a dog person, but I know they’re out there, and that outings with a dog can take a little extra pre-planning and research. Danielle St. Louis has done that research for you, laying out the best ways to enjoy dog-friendly State Parks in Wisconsin. Now, if only I could find a way to wrangle my cats for a hike!

 Paddling Northern Wisconsin: 85 Great Trips by Canoe and Kayak and Paddling Southern Wisconsin: 85 Great Trips by Canoe and Kayak, by Mike Svob

A couple more oldies but goodies, these are some essential guides if you are trying to plan the perfect kayaking or canoeing trip!

Best Lake Hikes Wisconsin: Guide to the State’s Greatest Lake and River Hikes by Steve Johnson

If you’d prefer to observe the water from the sidelines rather than paddling through it, then this guide is for you. From the popular to the secluded, this guide includes GPS coordinates and many other details to get you safely from point A to point B.

 Road Biking Wisconsin: A Guide to Wisconsin’s Greatest Bicycle Rides by Russ Lowthian

If biking is your jam, then this is the outdoor trail guide for you! Including mileage, terrain, notable landmarks, and more for 41 trails, this guide serves both the novice and the experienced.

 Gentle Hikes: Northern Wisconsin’s Most Scenic Lake Superior Hikes Under 3 Miles by Ladona Tornabene

If you’re not yet a full blown outdoorsperson, or if you enjoy nature but don’t want to work too hard to get there, then Gentle Hikes is for you. This book covers all the details you might want if getting outdoors presents a challenge to you, such as restroom accessibility, trail grades, and tips for seniors and those with physical challenges.

Alana LaBeaf is the Information and Outreach Services Coordinator for the Fond du Lac Public Library.