There’s plenty of wintertime fun to be had in southwestern Wisconsin—here are some unique activities to put on your calendar.

Explore the Ice Caves at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

This 8,600-acre parcel of public land features soaring sandstone bluffs, cliffs and overhangs. Every winter, thanks to an abundance of groundwater, ice caves and ice falls easily form throughout the reserve. Take a guided hike to view these sparkling formations, or grab a map from the visitor center and search for them on your own., 608-625-2960

Ski and Snowshoe at Wyalusing State Park

Wyalusing State Park is perched along the mighty Mississippi. Grab some cross-country skis and glide along Cathedral Tree Drive, which offers prime views of the river. Or snowshoe on any trails not groomed for skiing. Keep an eye out for frozen waterfalls; they often form at Pictured Rock, Big Sand and Little Sand Caves., 608-996-2261

Skijor at Justin Trails Resort

This pet-friendly resort is tucked into a private coulee featuring 200 acres of woodland and meadows, plus a trail system for hiking and snowshoeing. There are also two tubing hills, with one geared toward tots. Dog-owners should consider bringing along their pooch and skijoring, which involves cross-country skiing while attached to your dog with a special harness., 608-269-4522

Climb an Ice Wall at Governor Dodge State Park

Intrigued by ice-climbing? Then take a guided excursion at Governor Dodge State Park. Several tour operators help ice-climbing newbies clamber up the park’s 20-foot Stephens Falls, an ideal height for beginners. The park also offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing, tubing and more., 608-935-2315 

Watch Eagles Soar Over the Wisconsin River

Every winter, bald eagles gather along the Wisconsin River near Prairie du Sac and Sauk City, where there are areas of open water near a hydroelectric dam. Hang out at Prairie du Sac’s public overlook to watch these majestic birds. The overlook contains a spotting scope, and volunteers are on-site during weekend mornings in January and February.


Melanie Radzicki McManus is a freelance writer specializing in travel. She has received numerous awards for her travel writing, most notably Lowell Thomas gold and grand awards, considered the most prestigious in the field. Her book "Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail" was published in 2017 by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

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