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Entry into state parks and forests is free this weekend, as part of Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also is waiving trail passes and fishing licenses.

Places to take kids fishing in Milwaukee County:

  • Brown Deer Park
  • Dineen Park
  • Greenfield Park
  • Estabrook Park
  • Franklin High School Pond
  • Holler Park
  • Humboldt Park
  • Jackson Park
  • Kosciuszko Park
  • Lakeshore Park
  • McCarty Park
  • McGovern Park
  • Miller Park
  • Mitchell Park Pond
  • Oak Creek Parkway Pond
  • Saveland Park Pond
  • Scout Lake Park Pond
  • Sheridan Park Pond
  • Shoetz Park Pond
  • Washington Park Pond
  • Wilson Park Pond

For a map of these locations as well as spots throughout Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov.

Saturday also is National Trails Day. The American Hiking Society created National Trails Day in 1993 as a way to highlight the importance of the National Trail System, get people to use trails more and encourage volunteering to build and maintain them.

Chelsey Lewis from Wisconsin Trails put together this great list of places to hike, paddle and bike. Plus, you can find some kid-friendly hiking locations at metroparentmagazine.com/hiking.

Hiking

At Lapham Peak in Delafield, meet at the Evergreen Shelter at 9 a.m. for a guided, 4.5-mile hike of the Ice Age Trail through the park. The easy to moderate trail passes through hardwoods and stretches of open oak savanna, and there will also be an easier 2-mile option for families.

Hike up to 20 miles of the Ice Age Trail through the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in Walworth and Jefferson counties. Meet at the Rice Lake Picnic Area off State Park Drive south of Whitewater at 7:45 a.m. Shuttles and water will be staged along the trail, which offers nice views of surrounding lakes and kettles.

Bring your binoculars to Pike Lake for a bird hike at 7:30 a.m., then stick around for geocaching, fishing, archery, an appearance by Smokey Bear and a moderate group hike of 2 to 6 miles beginning at 10 a.m. 

The Rock County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail will have shuttles set up for hikers to choose from a variety of distances and difficulty levels in the Lake Geneva area. Check in between 9 and 10 a.m. at the west end of Library/Elm Park, 900 block of W. Main St. 

Choose from two Ice Age Trail segments during the Dane County Hike-A-Thon: 6.4 miles from Prairie Moraine County Park in Verona to County Road PD in Madison or 21 miles from Brooklyn State Wildlife Area to County Road PD. The event aims to raise $5,000 for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, so participants are asked to donate or raise $30 or more. The 21-mile hike kicks off at 8 a.m. and the shorter hike at 12:30 p.m.; meet at County Road PD for a shuttle to the starting point. Leave Fido at home for these hikes.

The Lodi Valley Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance hosts a Mammoth Fun Run and Hike along the trail north of Madison. Distances include a 6K or 8K run or a 6K hike, which kick off from Doctor's Park, 218 S. Main St., Lodi, at 9 a.m. The run is free, but donations are appreciated; those who donate $25 or more receive an Ice Age Trail bandanna.

For a hike on the Ice Age Trail through Chippewa County, meet at the Obey Interpretive Center in the Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area east of New Auburn at 9 a.m. The recreation area, one of nine units of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, features kettle lakes and other glacial features.

Get in some trail time on the North Country National Scenic Trail in northwestern Wisconsin. Head to the St. Croix Lake trailhead north of Solon Springs at 9 a.m. for a hike of the Brule Bog Boardwalk between the headwaters of the Brule and St. Croix rivers. Following a potluck picnic at noon, there will be another hike at 1 p.m. of the historic Brule-St. Croix portage section of the trail. Each hike will be around 5 miles.

Join the Heritage Chapter of the North Country Trail at 11 a.m. for a 3.5-mile hike through Iron County to Wren Falls, a scenic 12-foot cascade in a dramatic gorge on the Tyler Forks. The hike will also pass an old gold mine, a scenic overlook and a beaver dam. Meet at Casey Sag Road, about 3 miles north of Highway 77 west of Upson.

For a family-friendly hike, head to Reedsburg for a 3-mile stroll on the 400 State Trail. The crushed limestone trail is mostly flat and straight as it travels though the rolling terrain and sandstone bluffs of the Driftless Region. Meet at the Reedsburg Chamber of Commerce/Depot building at 10 a.m. 

Lace up your running shoes for a 5K run/walk through High Cliff State Park at 4 p.m. The park features exposed segments of the Niagara Escarpment, which creates big, blocky cliffs that give the park its name. The Fun Run also has a 1-mile walk option on a paved and accessible path around the Butterfly Pond. Other activities at High Cliff include a fishing clinic, sailboat tours and tai chi at 5 p.m. 

Biking

Bike the Capital City State Trail through the Capital Springs State Recreation Area south of Madison between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The rec area's friends group will have a water station near the Lussier Family Heritage Center and will lead bird walks and a trip to a natural spring throughout the day. 

Fuel up with a pancake breakfast at the Amery airport from 7 to 11 a.m. before heading to the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail for a ride. Then head to the Amery Fire Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for more activities including a petting zoo, ice cream and a bike rodeo. 

Paddling

Take in the dramatic bluffs at Devil's Lake State Park from below on a guided kayak tour of the lake from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Kayak rentals are available ($25/single, $45/tandem), but space is limited on the tour so preregistration is recommended: (608) 356-8301, Ext. 140.

Join a park naturalist for a guided kayak tour of Ottawa Lake in the southern Kettle Moraine. Tours will be offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. The lake features a self-guided water trail with eight stops highlighting the lake's natural and human history.

More information

The ticks are out in full force this year, and the mosquitoes aren't far behind, so be sure you have bug spray before heading out on the trails. Pants, long sleeves and a hat aren't a bad idea, either.

For more on National Trails Day and events in Wisconsin, see nationaltrailsday.americanhiking.org.

For more on the Ice Age Trail and group hiking events, see iceagetrail.org.

For more events at state parks, forests and trails — including a handful of free fishing clinics — see dnr.wi.gov. Note that camping and other fees still apply during Free Fun Weekend (June 4-5).

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