Winter Guide to Jefferson County

February 15, 2023

Winters in Whitewater and the surrounding areas can leave you guessing what kind of weather you're dealing with. But with this guide, you can get ideas for snowy days, frozen lake days, and plain old cold/rainy days. Try them all for a full winter experience in southern Wisconsin.


In the Snow

📷: Whitewater Parks & Rec


Tackle the thrilling Killer Hill at Trippe Lake Park in Whitewater (complete with Sled Shed! Grab a sled if you’ve forgotten yours!) or fly down the hill at Carlin Weld Park between Palmyra & Eagle.


"The trail network is extensive and the riding can be prime." Check out these Jefferson County Trails. Also be sure to read these safety tips to ensure a safe and joyful ride! *Please note that snowmobiles cannot come directly into Whitewater. Ride in as far as 841 Brewhouse and enjoy some lunch or dinner.

📷: BicycleWise


You will LOVE hiking or snowshoeing any area trails. From the Ice Age Trail in the Kettle Moraine State Forest to groomed trails in the many parks of Jefferson County, you can't go wrong. Don't own snowshoes? Rent from BicycleWise. Never hiked/snowshoed in the winter? Check out these tips and tricks from the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

Cross-Country Skiing

The Nordic Trails just outside Whitewater offer a prime trail system for skiers. Trails range from easy to difficult, thus suitable for all skill levels! Be sure to check out these other Jefferson County trails.


On the Ice

Ice Fishing

Looking to do some cold weather fishing? Head out on Whitewater or Rice lakes in Whitewater, Lake Koshkonong in Fort Atkinson or Rock Lake in Jefferson. New to ice fishing? Check out these tips and tricks from the WI DNR.

Play Hockey/Ice Skate On a Pond

Big Brick Park in Whitewater & Haumerson’s Pond in Fort Atkinson offer perfect little ponds to enjoy winter sports. Rent skates at 2 Rivers Bicycle & Outdoor in Fort if you don’t have your own skates! Be sure to check out the hiking trails before or after your time on the ice.


To Escape the Cold/Rain

📷: Brickhaus Cafe

Eat Soup/Chili

What's better than hot hot soup to warm the body and soul on yucky days? In Whitewater, check out the soup-of-the-day at classic small town diner, Jessica’s Family Restaurant or cafe/bakery The Sweet Spot, or indulge in hearty soups & stews at 841 Brewhouse, Second Salem Brewing Co, or SteveO’s. In Fort Atkinson try some Bean and Ham Soup or Paddy’s Irish Stew at Paddy Coughlin’s Irish Pub. And in Jefferson delight in Brickhaus Cafe's fresh, homemade soups!


It's oh so lovely to cozy up with a good book when it's cold or dreary outside. Peruse the stacks at The Book Teller in Whitewater, purchase a gently used copy of the most intriguing book you find, and then plop into an oversized, plush chair for the day. Prefer to have a glass of wine with your read? Visit Stable Rock Winery in Jefferson!

📷: Geneva Lakes Vacations

Book a Winter Cabin Getaway

Who doesn't love a little escape from real life? Treat yourself to this Peaceful 4 Bedroom Cottage or this Lakeshore Lodge near/on Whitewater Lake, this stunning retreat cabin in the Kettle Moraine State Forest near the Ice Age Trail, or a cabin in the Kettle Moraine State Forest pines with access to the Whitewater Lake Beach for a day on the ice!

Drink Tasty Drinks

We all know cold/rainy days love a good, stiff drink. Check out these area establishments for libations. Not into alcohol? These coffee & tea shops are where it's at.

Watch a Movie

Classic cold/rainy day must-do. And you want to experience Whitewater Cinemas, Whitewater's hometown theater with the best popcorn around. Promise. Feelin' a trip to UW-Whitewater's campus? Check out University Center's UC Live.

📷: Rock River Lanes


Warm up the body with a good bowling sweat! Try out Warhawk Alley in Whitewater, Rock River Lanes in Fort Atkinson, Rock and Bowl in Jefferson, or Palmyra Bowl in Palmyra. 

Eat Cheese Curds

The best kind of food to warm the insides. Indulge in these tasty little buggers at The Food Truck, Brain Freeze, or Rosa’s in Whitewater. Or check out Mr. Brew’s Taphouse in Fort Atkinson.

📷: Piper Mae

Buy Warm Things

Are you a shopper on those crummy days? Dale’s Bootery offers the best boots and socks in the area. Or you can grab some loungewear or hat at Piper Mae in Fort Atkinson. For an even more adventurous cold day activity, book a hat party!

Get Creative

Cold weather days need color! Create something glass at The Vinery in Whitewater or take a tour of Salty Earth Pictures film studio in Fort Atkinson and learn how to use a camera or add sound effects to films.

Have fun wintering and stay warm!


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.