Fortunately, the bitter cold has subsided for the time being, allowing us adventurers to enjoy the northern Wisconsin wilderness once again. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself and ‘adventurer’, getting out of your dorm room a some fresh air can do wonders. Here are a few ideas for outdoor winter adventures near Menomonie!
1.) The Devil’s Punchbowl
Don’t wait for the summer to see this Menomonite favorite. The Punchbowl is located just outside of town on 410th street. Take Hudson Rd. west, and turn left onto Country road P just after you pass Riverside Park. Take another left onto 410th street and head down until you see a small parking lot on your left side. There are stairs leading down into the main attraction (a waterfall and HUGE icicles), but pay attention to the tracks in the snow. Footprints of locals will reveal trails leading up above the punchbowl so you can see it from different vantage points.
2.) Trip Falls
This stop is actually on the way to the Devil’s Punchbowl. Trip falls in an unmarked trail located off of 410th street. When driving towards the Punchbowl, keep your eyes open for a bridge just before a large hill. There should be car tracks in the snow where others have parked. Sometimes, there will be cars already parked there. Hiking down below the bridge, you can walk up a small stream until you find yourself in a large natural amphitheater. You can continue to walk up the stream by climbing up a water fall located in the amphitheater (BE CAREFUL OF THE ICE!). Once again, pay attention to the tracks in the snow, and stick to the trail other hikers have already followed!
3.) Upper Stokke Trail
So, this one is a bit harder to describe how to get to, but it is VERY close to campus. Across the road from Riverside Park, there is a parking lot for the lower Stokke Trail. You can start here. Walk north (starting from the parking lot), and keep your eyes on the left side of the trail. There will be a small footpath that you can take. This leads up above the lower Stokke Trail, and is used for mountain biking in the summer. You can get a great view of UW Stout’s North campus, and if you’re really lucky it will smell like hot chocolate (because of the Swiss Miss factory right across the river!). Its really pretty early morning because you can see the sunrise!
4.) Menomin Park
This park (also called the 3M park) is a great spot for winter hiking and exploring. You can look up how to get here by using google maps. Trails in this park run back towards I94, and you can also walk along the lake shore on the ice. Its a great spot to view the sunset! If you hike back towards the highway, you can hike underneath it and see old train tracks on the other side.