By Shannon Kirsch, Special to OnMilwaukee   Published Jun 26, 2016 at 7:36 PM

Explore the best Milwaukee has to offer with VISITMilwaukee and OnMilwaukee this summer by "Urban Exploring." We'll be sharing parks to hike, walls to climb, rivers to paddle, trails to bike and so much more. Be a tourist in your own town and experience it with us!

Escape the busy city for the lush forests and solace of Northern Wisconsin – but without the long drive – when you travel to the Kettle Moraine Forest. There’s a vast habitat to explore given that the southern unit of the forest spans 30 miles, from Dousman Village to Whitewater. The pine and hardwood forests are overflowing with hills formed by glaciers, kettles, lakes and prairie restoration sites.

The Kettle Moraine gets its name from the various kettles, or depressions in the Earth, caused by glaciers numerous years prior. These kettles range from petite ponds to large lakes.

There are more than 160 miles worth of numerous diverse trails to challenge everyone for the casual to experienced hiker. Many trails permit horses, bikes, snowshoeing, snowmobiles and cross country skiing.

One of these trails is Scuppernong, which is located about 45 minutes from Milwaukee in Dousman Count near the town of Eagle. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of the town since its population is just under 2,000 people.  

When you begin the trail, you’ll notice different colors marked on the trees. The different colors represent different trails throughout the park that vary in difficulty and distance. When starting, the trail you’re surrounded by bright green trees, bushes and shrubbery.

The trail is teeming with vegetation which almost seems to rival a rain forest in terms of the color and quantity of the plants. The walk is so incredibly peaceful that you can even hear the trees sway back and forth after a gust of wind blows past. This quiet and serene trail is perfect for when you just want to get away.

At the trailhead of Scuppernong, you can also access the Ice Age National Scenic Trail where you can travel to see some more of the natural beauty Wisconsin has to offer. There are sets of these scenic trails extending to over 25 counties with 600 miles worth of trails.

This is the only set of trails in all of Wisconsin that is explicitly labeled a "State Scenic Tour" and is one of only 11 in the nation. This trail follows the edge of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin. The tour is primarily a backpacking trail that has 600 miles of hiking trails, extending through 30 counties including wildlife and fishery areas.  

A little ways down the road is Ottawa Lake. Known for being incredibly clear, it’s a perfect spot for a refreshing swim after a long walk. If you don’t feel like getting wet, you can also fish for some panfish, largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye.

Don’t feel like driving back? Set up a tent in the campground. There’s firewood and ice available at the contact station.