Get Outside This Spring!

Close-up photo of purple and green skunk cabbage in the ground.

After a long Wisconsin winter, it feels great to see the first signs of life as the world thaws out. Birds are returning. Bug are crawling. Green sprouts and tree buds are popping up and out. And the snow is melting from the trails. It’s a great time to get outdoors and observe the change of season.

One of the best ways to explore this rebirth is a spring hike. Below, we share a few tips for getting outside this spring!

To hike or not to hike: 
In spring, we say goodbye to snow and hello to mud! As the snow melts away, trails can be a bit squishy. Keep in mind that when you can see your footprints on the grass or in the mud, sensitive habitats are at risk of being damaged. Please respect any “trail closed” signs you see in natural areas. If you encounter a muddy stretch of trail, turn back—don’t go around. You can return in a few weeks to check out what you missed.

What to wear:
Spring is notorious for shifting weather conditions. When preparing for your spring hike, dress in layers. Wear or bring waterproof gear like a jacket and boots, and slather a little sunscreen on your face or any areas of skin that will be exposed to sun for more than a few minutes.

What to look for:
One of the most fulfilling parts of spring hiking is seeing the first signs of life and new growth. Listen to the birds singing and bring your binoculars to catch a glimpse of migrating species that are passing through or returning home. Look down and around to see some of Wisconsin’s first spring bloomers emerging from the soil – skunk cabbage, pasqueflower, bluebells, and hepatica.

Not sure what to look for? Request a free, weatherproof Wisconsin Nature Guide. 

Mark your calendars: 
Wisconsin’s land trusts and other conservation organizations are hosting spring events. These offer a great excuse to get outside and explore, so set yourself a reminder for these dates, or make plans now!

Great Wisconsin Birdathon:  If you love birds, then you’ll love the Birdathon. This event is hosted by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and is all about sighting and logging as many bird species as possible, while also raising money for conservation. Birdathon teams can participate from April 15th to June 15th.

Earth Day: On April 22nd, we celebrate Earth Day. Land trusts are holding volunteer and educational events in honor of this day of support for environmental protection. Visit our Events page to find out when and how you can join.

Celebrate Trails Day: On April 23rd, get outside on Celebrate Trails Day, a national spring celebration of America’s trails.

City Nature Challenge: The Nature Conservancy is bringing the City Nature Challenge to Wisconsin for the first time in 2022. This nationwide bioblitz event happens annually. This year, the Madison and Milwaukee metro areas are participating for the first time ever from April 29th to May 2nd.