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The Outdoor Adventure Guide to Calumet County

Photo Credit: Travel Calumet

Ready for some outdoor adventures of a lifetime? Welcome to Calumet County, where there is fun for everyone from land, and water, to caves! Choose your path for your adventurous stay in the area and check out the many trail systems or line up your clubs or frisbees on their golf and disc golf courses designed to challenge the best of the best. Take a deep dive into the many water fun zones and areas scattered throughout the county, and be sure to explore the hidden hotspots of 4 different caves! Let’s check it all out!

Trails

Photo Credit: Travel Calumet

Calumet County offers miles and miles of fun on their trail systems! If you’re looking to adventure by foot, hike Brillion Nature Center Trails and explore 6.5 miles of picturesque views. These trails curve through forests, marshes, prairie fields, and alongside pristine ponds. Keep your eyes peeled to see the amazing wildlife in their natural habitats from land, water, and air!

Journey across Calumet County to Fox River State Trail and traverse through about 26 miles of trails! Located in the heart of the county, there are 5 miles of vast limestone that are awe-inspiring. You can travel these trails by foot, bike or horseback! And in the wintertime, you can even travel on your very own snowmobile.

For four miles of fun, be sure to visit Friendship State Trail! Like other trails in Calumet County, you can travel by many modes of transportation including hiking, biking, horseback, and snowmobiling in the winter months. They will guide you through the woodlands of the county, fantastic farmlands, and the dazzling city of Brillion. Make a loop and connect back to the Fox River State Trail.

Last but not least, scout 16 miles through the wonderful wilderness of High Cliff State Park Trails! These trails will take you on a tour directly along the Niagara Escarpment. Trails vary in intensity and length so there is a path for all adventurers. Each trail connects together so you can hit them all or just explore a segment of your choosing! Soak up the view from the cliffs or climb up high in the 40-foot observation tower where you can see Appleton, Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, and Kaukauna.

Golf & Disc Golf

Photo Credit: Hickory Hills Country Club

Grab your clubs and have some fun on the green in Calumet County! Check out the local Braun’s Deer Run Golf Course. This course offers 9 holes to suit players of all skill levels if you’re going for some fun or going to win.

Looking for other gorgeous golf courses? Hickory Hills Country Club is just the place for you with 18 fun-packed holes to play! Practice before you hit the links at their driving range. The location is especially ideal for those who enjoy the early tee times. Or, join the fun at the High Cliff Golf Course for a historic 18-hole course. High Cliff Golf Course was designed in 1868 by Homer Fieldhouse and runs along the gorgeous Niagara Escarpment. This truly is one of Wisconsin’s best-kept secrets and a course any golf fanatic will enjoy!

If you’re a fan of disc golf and playing the sport, Calumet County has some great courses that you must check out! Drop the clubs and grab your discs and go for 9 holes of disc golf at Freitag Memorial Park Disc Golf Course. In this course, you’re right in the heart of the wilderness with many obstacles from tall, teetering trees to brush and wild watery patches. Swing by on the fourth Sunday in August and join in on the annual recreational tournament, “Fling-In-The-Forest!”

Fling your way to Horn Park Disc Golf Course for 9 holes of frisbee fun! It is located in Horn Park, the city of Brillion’s biggest park of 19 acres. The course follows along the park’s woodsy edge and is the map to have some outdoor family fun.

Water Fun

Photo Credit: Travel Calumet

Ready to dive into some water fun of Calumet County to cool off this summer? Make your splash at New Holstein Aquatic Center, an incredible outdoor recreational hotspot! This facility has it all, from slides of all kinds and for all ages, fountains, play areas, a diving board for the brave souls, a whirl cove, two lanes to get your laps in, and a sandy beach area to make the sand castle of your dreams! They also offer swimming lessons for all ages so everyone can enjoy the water.

Jump into the next water-filled fun park near High Cliff State Park! Sherwood Splash Pad at Wanick Choute Park is a must-stop, especially in the warm summer months. People of all ages agree that this splash pad is top-notch! If you don’t feel like getting all wet, there is a playground just a hop, skip, and leap away from the water zone.

Don’t stop reading just yet! Calumet County has even more thrilling water activities for you to do! High Cliff Marina has over 100 slips available to rent right on Lake Winnebago! They also provide a launch so you can bring a boat of your own. There are nearby rentals on Lake Winnebago from boats to jet skis for all the water fun you can dream of! Or, tour around the marina, dive in, or walk to the nearby beach for a relaxing getaway.

Calumet County is also home to Stockbridge Harbor, a preserved area where there once was a Native American village and now is displayed to describe its legacy. It is filled with endless water fun opportunities! This harbor is also located on the beautiful Lake Winnebago and holds 15 acres of amusement. There are 6 launch and landing lanes to keep the boat traffic moving so you can get your rig in the water as soon as possible. If you want to stay ashore, there is something for you too! Stockbridge Harbor has excellent fishing from right offshore.

Caves

Photo Credit: Travel Calumet

Located at Ledge View Nature Center, there are 4 distinct caves only found in Calumet County. These caves were originally 4 small holes in limestone bedrock formed by groundwater and continued as meltwater from Wisconsin’s once-standing glaciers. The meltwater brought lots of sediment in, and some of it actually still remains in these very caves for you to see when you visit! 

The first cave to note is the Bat Cave Sink, a tame cave that is easily accessible for all! This cave started as a sinkhole and was packed with mud and debris as the glaciers began to melt. It is because of all the volunteers that excavated the loose material out of the cave that you are able to walk in and see this hidden wonder! Keep an eye out for breathtaking features like stalactites, cave drapery and so much more. Not to mention the wildlife hiding within the caves like bats, spiders, and crickets.

A fan favorite cave is Carolyn’s Caverns, which is actually known as a cave system. This cave is home to many other rooms and complexes including, “Dave’s Sink,” one of the largest rooms within the cave. It gets its name from Carolyn Schleis, a member of the Wisconsin Speleological Society, who broke through a different sinkhole to access this spectacular cave! Still today, volunteers dig and expand it even more from its dimensions. Currently, the cave is 35 feet deep and has an extended passageway of 300 feet! While you explore, look around and see if you can identify its unique features of cave coral, drip cups, and flowstone.

Dating back to the 1860s, the Montgomery Cave has been a popular attraction! There are a minimum of three rooms within this cave all showcasing beautiful characteristics such as circular chimneys, crystal formations, and small passageways for the avid adventurer! 

Now are you up for the most adventurous cave? That’s right! Mothers Cave has it all for you from vertical drops to “The Squeeze” passageway where you have to crawl on your belly to fit through! Watch your head when you get through, it’s only two and a half feet tall! Follow along the 20-foot passageway to the second and last room which is only 3 feet tall. It takes a brave explorer to see every inch of this cave-like Norb Kox, who discovered it in 1986 on Mother’s Day, given its fitting name! While you’re on your cave adventure, look for domepit and even fossils from long long ago!

Calumet County has it all when it comes to outdoor recreation! There is something to please everyone from their variety of activities. You can choose any trail you wish and see the beauty of nature in its purest form. If you’re looking for a challenge, there are plenty of golf and disc golf courses for you to test your skills! Make your splash at the aquatic centers, parks or marinas of Lake Winnebago. Last but not least, the caves here are a must-see and only in Calumet County!

Looking for more fun adventures in Calumet County? Check out this Discover Wisconsin original short 'Family Fun in Calumet County' below:

Hailey Rose: Writer for Discover Mediaworks. A born & bred Wisconsinite with a love for fishing, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors.

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