Wisconsin may not be the place that comes to mind when you think of towering bluffs above tropical looking blue waters, but that is exactly what you will find at Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve.
Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve is located about a half hour drive north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the town of Grafton. Located along the largest of the great lakes, Lake Michigan it features 100 foot tall bluffs along one mile of the lake’s shoreline. I could not get over how beautiful the water of the lake looked from the bluffs. I definitely did not feel like I was in the northern part of the United States, it looked much too tropical for that area! This 73 acre park overs many different hiking trails and scenic views for the entire family.
Hiking: There are a few trails located in the Nature Preserve. The best part about the trails are that they are fairly easy with not too much elevation and some portions of the trail are on boardwalk which makes them accessible to all. The main trail is the Lion’s Den Trail which is just under 2 miles long. The trail will take you thru the woods, along boardwalks and regular trails.
The biggest highlight of the trail is that it goes along the bluff with multiple stopping points to take in the beautiful views of Lake Michigan. It’s amazing how blue the water is, at points I almost felt like I was looking out into water in the caribbean!
At the end of the trail, you will reach a set of stairs that will take you down to the beach below. Great spot for a relaxing stroll along the beach or if it’s a warm day, take a swim in the lake.
Other things to do at the Preserve:
- Have a Picnic – There are picnic tables set up in the park or you could even bring a large blanket and have a picnic on the beach while relaxing on the shores of Lake Michigan.
- Fishing – While down on the beach, don’t forget your fishing pole, Lake Michigan is a great place to fish specifically for trout.
- Bird viewing – The high bluff makes for a great spot for bird viewing. In the area you can view birds such as loons and heron and in the spring and fall you may catch the raptor migration.
- Flowers – I visited in September and there were so many beautiful flowers throughout the preserve, I can only imagine how many more there are in the prime flower season of spring.
If you are visiting the Milwaukee area, I highly recommend a half day trip to Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful parks I’ve visited. It’s hard to believe that prior to Ozaukee county purchasing the 73 acres in 2002, this land was privately owned. If I owned this land, I’m not sure I would want to share views like this:
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