Hike the Lion's Den Gorge Loop

Wisconsin Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve

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Stunning views of Lake Michigan. Five story bluffs. Beautiful nature scenes. Dozens of acres of trails and exploration. All just 30 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee, WI. If you're looking to capture some beautiful pictures of Wisconsin, or just want to hike along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lion's Den Gorge Nature Preserve is where you need to be.

Lion's Den Gorge is a gorgeous nature preserve featuring a variety of unique nature scenes. The park includes massive bluffs, sand dunes, forests, creeks and bridges, hiking trails and stunning vistas of the Lake Michigan shoreline. The preserve is 72 acres and is located in the town of Grafton, just north of Milwaukee. You won't need a vehicle pass or any paid admission to visit the preserve.

Pack List

  • Camera and tripod (if desired)
  • Water Bottle and backpack so that you can explore longer
  • Bug Spray (during summer months)
  • Athletic shoes work best as the the terrain can vary in certain areas
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses during the day
  • Binoculars if you wish to birdwatch or scout wildlife
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How to Get There

about 2 months ago

Great Place To Spend The Day!

My boyfriend and I frequent Lions Den. We love the variety of trails and the rocky beach area is beautiful! It is also just a short drive up the shore to Port Washington which is a great little town to have lunch (or a margarita) at Beanies Mexican Restaurant which have swings instead of bar stools!

about 2 months ago

11 months ago

Stay on the trail

The first time I went, I was a little bored. So I scaled down the embankment down to the lake. If only I had stayed on the the trail. . .I have been back multiple times and stayed on the trail because the staircase offers some great scenery and I still get to the same place. 5/5 because it is family friendly.

11 months ago

12 months ago

Open Year 'Round

This is a beautiful preserve on the lakefront, connected to a wetland complex owned by the USFWS. I live nearby and have been to this park in every season and wanted to note that it's open during the winter. The trails can get a little icy but it's just as lovely covered in snow. It can get pretty busy in the summer and on weekends so the colder months have become my favorite time to visit.

12 months ago

about 1 year ago

Perfect For All Ages

Lion's Den is gorgeous! I went for the second time this weekend after discovering that this place existed. Both times, the weather was very different and it made the place feel completely different. There are so many landscapes to see ranging from the beach to the bluffs and the wetland. It's basically flat the entire time except for the steps to the beach so it is great for anyone who wants to get outdoors

about 1 year ago

over 1 year ago

Very Enjoyable And Relaxing

I went to Lions Den just for a day, but it was quite enjoyable! It was not hard to find, nor was parking difficult. The hike itself was very pretty. Lots of great spots to throw down a blanket and have a picnic while admiring the stretch of Lake Michigan. There are a few boardwalks, and lots of thin trails that lead into the forest and marsh around it. If you walk a little less than a mile along the main path, you'll come across a flight of stairs. Those stairs will lead you straight down over a creek and to the waters edge. Here, you can walk along the coastline or skip rocks!

over 1 year ago

Added by Jon Mattrisch

Outdoor enthusiast and photographer from Milwaukee, WI. Camping, hiking, exploring, biking and more. I love it all and I try to capture as much of it as possible. Exploring my home state and exhausting all there is to see, which might take me my whole life. Worth it!


Chillin, Photography, Hiking

Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



1.8 Miles



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Picnic Area

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