Runcation: Door County, WI’s Top Running Routes

Today is the official one-month countdown until the end of the semester, which means two things: One, it’s time for the mad scramble to complete semester-long projects, and second–and much less stressful–I’ve began to plan a short summer vacation to Door County, WI.

The last 4+ years of my life were spent crisscrossing the country for work and play, and although Rhode Island, Alaska and North Dakota remain the only states I’ve missed spending some time in, Door County, WI still remains one of my favorite places on earth.  It’s scenic, cultural, the people are friendly, and it offers the perfect geography to mix intense activity and leisure.

If you find yourself there this summer; kick start your morning with a run or bike in any of the locations below:

  • Peninsula State Park: As far as I’m concerned, this is really the crown jewel of the Wisconsin State Park system.  Whether you just want to chill at the beach, go for an easy ride along the lake, or hit some amazing running and mountain bike trails, this park has you covered.  I typically will cover 10+ miles of trails without seeing the same stretch twice.  The Hemlock Trail, Sentinel Trail and gnarly mountain bike stretches are my personal favorites.
  • Newport State Park: Towards the Northern Door is beautiful Newport, featuring nearly 40 miles of hiking trails, 17 miles of mountain biking track, and 26 miles of cross-country skiing.  If you’re into camping, they have rustic walk/bike-in spots that may have you overlooking the water at night.
  • Rock Island State Park: 10 miles of trails await you if you hop the ferry to Rock Island.  Just don’t bring your car, or even your bike–they’re not allowed.  There are also 40 walk-in campsites in this amazing park.
  • Crossroads at Big Creek: This 115-acre preserve, located off Hwy 42 just outside of Sturgeon Bay, features miles of trails, and a 5k/10k trail run in June.  I haven’t run it yet, but I intend to this summer.
  • Door County Backroads: Even in the heart of tourist season, traffic is never that bad in Door County, which makes for perfect county road running.  I spend most of my time in Fish Creek, so my personal favorites include Wandering Road, Gibralter Bluff Road, and Cottage Row.  But get out and explore, you’ll be glad you did.
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