The Locale: Scuppernong is located on the northern end of the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest Unit.
Reasons to Love: Who doesn’t love a good loop trail through some towering pines? Scuppernong has some easy, short loops as well as some longer options featuring roller-coaster hills. There’s a little something for everyone here, with easy access and nearby amenities.
- Fees: WI State Park admission fees apply. For WI plates it is $8/daily or $28/yearly. https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/admission.html
- Mileage: Loops available are 2.3, 4.1, and 4.9. The Ice Age Trail segment is 5.6 miles total but it would be an out-and-back.
- Accessibility: The Ice Age trail is a single-track dirt path with roots and rocks that make it not necessarily accessible. The 3 loops are technically accessible, but not paved, so it is rough. I’ve seen a few strollers on the orange loop, but that’s it.
- Terrain: Scuppernong is generally hilly. The Ice Age Trail and Green Loop have the most hills, so if you want something with slightly less of a grade go for the red or orange loops.
- Pet Friendly: dogs allowed on leash
- Bathrooms: seasonal pit toilet at the Scuppernong trail head parking lot
Maps & Parking: Parking is at the south side of the trails off County Highway ZZ. This is a State Forest lot, so it has fees (see quick facts). There’s a smaller lot directly across the street as well. If you want to do the Ice Age Trail, there are several other parking areas for this segment with the end points being the roadside parking on CTH-C to the north and the lot on south on STH-67.
Hiking Routes: I have two main hike recommendations for first-timers completing these trails. For a shorter hike, the red loop provides some great scenery for the time-crunched or those building up to longer hikes. Scuppernong trails are a bit hilly and gravelly, so take that into account. I also recommend hiking it counter-clockwise, as you’ll be headed down the major hills versus climbing them. If you are looking for a longer hike, the orange and green loops give you another 2 miles to tack on.
The second option, and the one I prefer, is to start off on the Ice Age Trail and then connect up to the Green Loop. At the trail head in the parking lot, I simply head off to the right on the yellow trail, the Ice Age, and follow it until it intersects with the loop trails. This is about a 1.3 miles of additional hiking and it has a couple of switch backs which add to the challenge. I like the longer hike, but my main reason for taking it is that I love the pine plantation it takes you through. The trees are close together and its like walking through a tunnel. The far side of the green loop that doesn’t intersect any of the other trails also has a great pine plantation. This one is more wide open and majestic.
Trail Condition Alerts: For trail updates in the Kettle Moraine State Forest head over to the DNR website.
Other Recreation Opportunities: Pinewoods Campground is a great camping opportunity with direct access to the Scuppernong Hiking Trails. It has all the basic amenities for a DNR campground including showers, a playground, drinking water, and flush toilets. I like that Loop 1 in the campground is a 24/hour quiet zone….there’s very little I hate more when camping than someone blasting their poor taste in music till 10pm when I want to get up for an early hike or dogs barking at 2am! There are also 6 walk-in campsites which give you more solitude that the drive-up ones that are typically stacked next to each other.
Note that bikes are not allowed on the Scuppernong trail system! These are also not groomed for skiing but they are a great option for snowshoeing! Being in the middle of the southern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, there are many other nearby recreational opportunities. There are tons of other trails to hike, places to fish and hunt, horse trails, boat launches, and swimming areas. The full map is available here.
Make a Day of It: Old World Wisconsin, and open air museum, is about 10 minutes south from the trail head. Here you can take a self-guided walking or tram tour of the 600 acre property with 60 buildings that tell the story of the immigrant and migrant farm stories. There are tons of events, guided historical tours, shopping, gardens, and workshops as well. I always make a stop at the creamery when I go!
I also love the Fork in the Road Restaurant in Mukwonago. It’s a little further, about 20 minutes, and out of the way depending on where you are headed back to. It works well for me, as I live south of Milwaukee. Great cheese curds, giant hanging pretzel appetizers, and fancy desserts. Love it!