About Girls Who Hike Wisconsin
I am always looking for new people to hike with, so I was excited to learn about a Wisconsin-based group for female hikers and attend one of their events! Girls Who Hike is an international organization with chapters across the nation, including one right here in Wisconsin. Girls Who Hike WI hosts group hiking events for Wisconsin women across the state and I was able to attend their winter hike at the Emma Carlin Trails in the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
About the Emma Carlin Trails
With one of my good friends in the passenger seat, I headed out to the trails on a snowy Saturday morning with my hardiest hiking boots and the newest addition to my collection of outdoor gear: a pair of heater pants (insulated leggings) from SECO Sportswear. Our group consisted of about 15 women, one of whom I’d actually hiked with before at a different event! If I haven’t mentioned it previously, making connections with people through online communities is my favorite thing about social media.
While the temperature offered much-needed relief from the polar vortex of the previous week, the snow on the trails still presented a serious obstacle. Given the conditions, we opted to take the Brown Loop, which was approximately 2.7 miles. For those new to hiking, beware that even if you can handle 2.7 miles walking, hiking, or even running without a problem, snow this deep is still going to slow you down. While I was more refreshed than fatigued at the end of our hike, the loop felt surprisingly long given its length.
Fees & Parking
There is an admission cost of $8 per car per day. This can be paid in cash at the fee station after entering the forest. You will receive a parking pass to place inside the front window of your vehicle that is good for the entirety of the day. Annual state parks passes cost $28 per year with Wisconsin license plates and can be purchased online.
When to Visit
While we enjoyed our winter hike, I would recommend coming during the warmer months, as the trails are not maintained when it snows. If you would like to visit during winter, I recommend bringing a pair of snow shoes for your hike.
I had an awesome time on my first group hike of the year and highly recommend joining the Girls Who Hike WI group on Facebook if you are interested in learning more about their upcoming hiking events! I also participated in a winter group hike at Richard Bong State Recreation Area in Kenosha County.