Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit
Glaciers sculpted this beautiful, wild forest that’s open for recreation just outside West Bend. The Kettle Moraine Northern Unit covers about 30,000 acres and stretches 30 miles across Sheboygan, Fond du Lac and Washington counties. The park has 132 miles of trails that vary in terrain and length, some with steep climbs and descents. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail travels for 31 miles through the entire length of the forest. Good places for hiking include the Greenbush Recreation Area (13.5 miles of trails), New Fane loop system trails (7.7 miles), the Zillmer loop area (11.4 miles), the Butler Lake loop (3 miles), the Parnell Tower loop (3.5 miles), the Tamarack loop (2 miles) and the Lake to Lake Bike Trail (6.5 miles). Leashed pets are allowed on designated trails. See trail maps here.
Mountain bikers will find 9 miles of single-track trails at the Greenbush Recreation Area and another 5.5 miles of trails at the New Fane Recreation Area. Trails are typically open April-November, depending on conditions. There’s also a 6.5-mile trail open for biking that connects Mauthe Lake and Long Lake.
The park includes 41 miles of equestrian trails, including a main linear trail that is over 33 miles long. The trails are open to horses from April-November and there are mileage markers to help riders measure their distance. There’s parking for trailers in a lot on County Highway H.
There’s a concession stand at the park’s Mauthe Lake picnic area. It has a fleet of canoes and rowboats available for rent. Lake Seven, Mauthe, Forest and Butler Lakes allow boating, but they prohibit the use of gas-powered motors. In all, the recreation area has more than a dozen lakes and ponds—most are kettles, features left by glaciers.
There are three swimming beaches in the park; two at Long Lake and one at Mauthe Lake. Beaches at both lakes have playground equipment.
The forest has many winter recreation options. There are about 60 miles of snowmobile trails in the park, the lakes are open for ice fishing and there are miles of trails for silent sports. The Greenbush Recreation Area in the forest has 13 miles of trails groomed for classic and skate-style cross-country skiing. There are more than 11 additional miles of groomed trails at the Zillmer Trail area and 7.7 miles of ungroomed cross-country ski trails at New Fane. Snowshoers can find miles of ungroomed trails to explore in the Greenbush and New Fane snowshoe trails, the Moraine Nature Trail, the Tamarack Nature Trail, the Parnell Trail, the Butler Lake Trail and the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Private vendors within the forest sell fishing supplies, including licenses and bait. Anglers in the park will find largemouth bass, bluegill, crappies and northern pike. Mauthe Lake and Long Lake recreation areas have accessible fishing piers.
Find more information about the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit here.