This weekly series aims to inspire you to go out there and experience amazing backpacking locations in person. Simply looking at them on your phone or monitor is not enough. Feel the wind, breathe the air and bask in the sun.
Our destination this week is perfect if you just want to take on a day hike, or if you’d like to spend a couple of days sleeping in the outdoors. It’s time to take on Newport State Park in the great State of Wisconsin.
Featured Photo: Newport State Park (photo by Amy Meredith)
Why this Hike?
Newport State Park is perfect for camping or hiking beginners because it is very flat with little elevation gain. Even with this relatively easy terrain, you will have the chance to experience rocky shorelines and deeply forested paths.
- 11 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan and 30 miles of foot trails
- A variety of trails could be done from 30 minutes to several hours
- Several activities are available at the park from hiking, kayaking, biking, and camping
- There are 14 campsites available if you have a couple of days to spare
- The park is open year round and can go from wooded trails in the summer to snow-covered paths in the winter
- You may have the chance to watch the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights from the park in the summer
Take note of these factors before starting your adventure:
- Since the park is open year-round, pack the gear and equipment suited for the season
- You may need to make reservations to use the campgrounds
How do I get there?
The Park can be accessed via Wisconsin State Highway 42, near the tip of the Door County Peninsula.
Here’s a map of our recommended route:
Day 1 - Newport Loop to Lynd Point (4.4 miles)
Day 2 - Lynd Point to Europe Lake (3 miles)
Day 3 - Europe Lake to Parking Lot 1 (3.5 miles)
Start off by heading to Parking Lot 1 and register at the Park Visitor Center. There you will get maps and information on the trails and facilities at the park. Then head East, following the Newport Lane until you reach Newport Bay. From there you will head South following the Newport Loop trail which will take you to the coastline at Varney Point. You will then head North-East on the Newport Loop trail towards Duck Bay.
From Duck Bay, you will be heading North; back to Newport Bay. You could take a break at this point and use the facilities available before continuing with the hike. If you only have a day to spend, you will head back to Parking lot 1. Otherwise, you could continue with the trail North-East to Lynd Point where you can choose from two campsites to spend the night.
From Lynd Point, Head back down the trail until you reach the intersection for the Europe Bay trail. Then you will head North, along Europe Bay. Once you reach Europe Lake; you have three campgrounds to choose from. Remember you have the option to call in advance and reserve a campsite.
On your third day, head on back down along Erpe Bay trail to Newport Bay. You could have lunch here before heading back to parking lot 1.
What will I need?
What you pack for the trip will depend on the season you decide to go. Light cool clothes would be great for summer with a good pair of hiking shoes. If you plan on kayaking, it would be best to either bring an extra change of clothes or wear something that is well-suited for water. A light tent is suited for this season. Bug spray and sunscreen is always advised. If you are looking forward to watching the Northern Lights, a good quality camera and tripod will come in handy to capture the moment. In the winter, the trails will be covered in snow, so a nice pair of waterproof snow boots will do along with warm winter layers.
Fire rings are available at the campsites but there is a strict policy of using only the firewood purchased locally. Food storage bins are available for use on at campgrounds so you can store your food safely away from raccoons, porcupines or skunks. As with all backcountry areas, it is important to abide by the Leave No Trace philosophy, so make sure to bring out any trash that you bring in.
For more gear recommendations on what to bring to a multi-day hike, refer to our Ultimate Backpacker's Packing List.
Do I need a permit?
You will need to register at the Visitor Center before entering the park. Day hikes are free but you will need to buy an admission sticker for your vehicle. As mentioned before, there are several campgrounds in the park, which you can reserve in advance.
Kayak rentals are also available at the park. Finally, if you're interested in hunting and fishing, licenses are required.
Have you explored the Newport State Park? Do you have other outstanding hikes that you'd like us to write about? Please share your feedback in the comments.