Holy Hill. Scale the 178 steps of the steeple for an excellent view.

Holy Hill. Scale the 178 steps of the steeple for an excellent view.

Fall in Wisconsin is an excellent season for hikes. Summers are beautiful but, close to the lake as we are, they can also be unbearably muggy. Winters are, well, frigid and seemingly eternal. In the autumn though, the humidity is history and the temperature, ideal. For those of us who don’t have the time for an hours-long excursion to the rugged northern or western regions of the state, JS Online’s Wisconsin Trails features a helpful list of 6 hiking trails close to Milwaukee. Not too surprisingly, Holy Hill made the list. I just visited the shrine a month ago and, for the first time in years, made it to the top of the steeple. The 178 stairs will give you a good workout and the view from the top is stunning.

From the article:

Ice Age Trail — Holy Hill Segment

Highway 167 to Donegal Road, Hubertus

Holy Hill has long drawn pilgrims of both the faithful and fall-foliage variety, thanks to the beautiful basilica perched on the top of a 1,350-foot kame in Washington County.

The church’s scenic tower is certainly worth a visit, with its spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Just be aware you may have to wait to climb the 178 narrow stairs on a fall weekend. On a clear day, look for the tall buildings of downtown Milwaukee more than 30 miles to the southeast.

But don’t stop your visit there.

The Ice Age Trail circles the church to the east for about 2 miles, passing through a beautiful stretch of hardwoods that blanket the trail in reds, oranges and yellows. Combine a hike on the trail with a walk along the church’s paved Stations of the Cross path, a peaceful spot for respite and reflection.

Seven Bridges Trail, located at Grant Park, is also featured, and I can attest to its quality. Take a detour from the trial itself by walking down the bluff and you’ll find yourself alone on a tranquil, pebble-lined beach ideal for a relaxing walk. It’s a hidden oasis not far from downtown Milwaukee.

Let us know about other hiking/walking trails near the city!