Whitewater Off the Beaten Path

June 21, 2023

Want inspiring summer adventures in places a little less traveled? These 8 destinations off the beaten path will check off that box. Make Whitewater your home away from home and venture out to experience the uniqueness of this area.


Natureland Park: Whitewater, WI

This beloved local park tucked into the forest just outside Whitewater offers a beautiful view of Whitewater Lake and 4 trails that meander through different ecosystems. This is a primo spot for easy to moderate hikes and a picnic! Eat under the pavilion or throw a blanket down anywhere in the grass or prairie areas. Prefer a nap instead? Natureland’s a hammock heaven.

For more picnic area inspo, click here.
For more hammock spots, click here.


Kayak in Clover Valley Fen: Whitewater, WI

Looking to kayak a more wild and less populated waterway? Drop into Bluff Creek at the State Natural Area off of Willard Rd. and make your way through the Clover Valley Wildlife area of Whitewater. A lush pause in a busy life.

More kayak drop spots here.


Effigy Mounds Preserve: Whitewater, WI


The path through Effigy Mounds Preserve takes you past 13 Native ceremonial mounds through an Oak Savanna, a stand of Silver Maples and Bur Oaks, and a meadow wetland. Built between 500 BC and 500 AD, these mounds take on animal shapes. Enjoy a quiet stroll through one of Whitewater’s precious landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more landmarks, click here.


Backpack from Oleson Cabin to Shelter #3: Whitewater, WI

Start your hike at Oleson Pioneer Cabin on Duffin Rd. Fun fact: the cabin was built by Norwegian immigrant, Ole Oleson, who had nine kids, a wife, and a mother-in-law all living in the same cabin! Not only is Duffin Rd. a beautiful drive, but the hike from Oleson Cabin to Backpack Shelter #3 on the Blackhawk Segment of the Ice Age Trail takes you past prairie vistas and through hardwood forests. Be aware, it’s a steep climb to get to the shelter, but it’s worth it. Enjoy your night under the stars in the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Reserve the shelter ahead of time! 

For more backpacking tips and tricks, click here.


Adam Birding Conservancy: Cold Spring, WI

📸: Adam Birding Conservancy

This private 331 acre property offers prairie, ponds, the Bark River, and wetlands to enjoy hiking and bird watching. You’ll see anything from eagles, hawks, egrets, and blue herons, to a plethora of songbirds, ducks, and bluebirds. Make sure to sign the waiver.

Want more bird watching spots, click here.


Dispersed Camping off the Ice Age Trail – Clover Valley Segment: Whitewater, WI

Tucked into a beautiful patch of oaks and hickories in the Clover Valley State Wildlife Area off the iconic Ice Age Trail, this camping spot is for the adventurous who love to rough it. Pack a backpack with essentials, meander the (easy) trail following Whitewater Creek, take in countryside and prairie views, and then spend your weekend away with the wildlife. Dispersed camping is free and on a first come, first serve basis. There is no toilet or firepit. Remember to leave no trace.

Need more camping ideas, click here.


Paradise Springs: Eagle, WI

📸: Jennifer Rondinelli Reilly

According to Wisconsin Explorer, “Paradise Springs is a brief loop walk and interpretative trail to a spring fed pond among the ruins of a resort which operated between 1937 and 1948.” This beloved spot’s eerily stunning beauty attracts many, yet you’ll often find yourself there alone. Paradise Springs is a short drive from Whitewater, making it a worthwhile day trip.

For more day trips, click here.


Little Miss Sweet Pea’s Farm Market: Elkhorn, WI

📸: Little Miss Sweet Peas

This precious farmers market co-op in the countryside outside Whitewater offers produce supplied by local farmers, jars of delicious jams and salsas, fresh guacamole made on site, and even lemonade made by an elementary school kiddo! Pick up all your favorite things to nibble on and head to Whitewater Lake Public Beach for swimming and a picnic.

For more agri-tourism adventures, click here.


Now, go get lost!


Be in the Know!

Sign up to be a Discover Whitewater insider and receive our exclusive seasonal info.

By clicking “Sign Up” I agree to the Terms of Service.