The Locale: Three Bridges Park is an adorable little gem nestled in the Menomonee River Valley between Miller Park and the Domes. The park is 24 acres with 2 miles of trails, between 27th and 37th streets.
Reasons To Love: This is a dreamy little place for all city dwellers who both long for a green escape but also just really love being an urbanite. It’s a perfect mix of wildflowers, murals, water, city views, and culture. I love that it takes an underutilized, neglected space and turns it into a multi-use recreational area. I have a soft spot in my heart for city greenspaces that are just done so well! You can hike, bike, kayak, fish and even rent a community garden plot in this park, which is amazing!
- Fees: There are no fees for the trails or for entry to the Milwaukee Winter Farmer’s Market, but there are small fees to visit the Domes.
- Mileage: 2 miles of trails
- Accessibility: Nearly all of the trails are paved and fully accessible, unless you choose to climb the hills
- Terrain: the trail has a slight hill on the Domes side but is otherwise mostly flat with the exception of the optional single dirt track options that go up and over the side hills
- Pet Friendly: Dogs allowed on leash
- Bathrooms: there are public bathrooms available at the Urban Ecology Center during business hours
Maps and Parking: I personally recommend parking in the lot behind the Domes. It is the largest off-street parking available in the area. The only time to avoid it is if it is a Farmer’s Market or event day at the Domes (and maybe not, it you want to hit up the event!)
Hiking Routes: There are several different ways to hike this park. If you want a super easy hike, stick to the paved path that runs through the center of the park. If you want a bit more adventure you can hit up the dirt paths that go up and over the hills of the park for some great city views and a couple jolts to your heart rate! No matter what, for the most part you can make it a loop trail.
My preference is to start at the Domes parking lot. I head up the paved trail all the way to the murals behind the Urban Ecology Center (trust me, they’ll be obvious!). Often, I’ll leave the paved trail for a moment to walk through the community gardens (you can see on the map that it is called Killdeer hill, one of the dotted maps to the left) I then cross the bridge over the river and walk along the river to the next bridge at 33rd Ct. When I cross the river again, I always take the hills back for views of downtown!
That hike is about 1.2 miles. You can make the trail a bit longer by hiking up the little trails on Canal Street, but that will only add about .3 more miles. Or, when you get to the Urban Ecology Murals you can continue straight instead of crossing the river. You can walk for quite a ways on the Hank Aaron Trail which turns into the Glacial Drumlin Trail and goes all the way out to Brookfield! When you’ve had enough, you just turn around and finish Three Bridges!
Trail Condition Alerts: Check out the Menomonee Valley Partners’ Facebook Page for potential trail updates, closures, and events before hitting this trail!
Other Recreation Opportunities: There are multiple ways to enjoy this part in addition to hiking! The park boasts two canoe/kayak boat landings and 42 rent-able community garden plots. At the Menomonee Valley Branch of the Urban Ecology Center at one end, with a yearly membership fee you can rent equipment such as boats, bikes, and fishing poles to use in the park. The main trail at Three Bridges also happens to be the 14 mile Hank Aaron State Trail, which also connects to the Oak Leaf Trail to hike, bike, and roller skate to your heart’s content! Be sure to visit during the Candlelight Hike or the Hank Aaron 5k!
Make A Day of It: There are so many things you can add on here. You can head up to the Urban Ecology Center and check out a bike and go exploring. You’ll need a membership, which I cannot recommend enough. It is very cheap and gives you year-round access to all sorts of gear such as bikes, kayaks, snowshoes, tents, skis etc! Or, hit up the Domes! You can go through the beautiful gardens all year round. During the winter, it is really fun to go to the Milwaukee County Winter Farmer’s Market first and grab some groceries and coffee. Drop your stuff off at your car in the lot behind the Domes and go for a quick trip through Three Bridges with your coffee and a friend. Lovely. There’s also a great little restaurant called Vientiane Noodle Shop a short drive away if you need a full meal and like to try different cuisines. This one is Thai/Laotian.