This natural surface trail feels isolated in spite of its location in bustling northern Milwaukee northeast of Brown Deer. The trail winds through a 270-acre stretch of meadows and forest between residential subdivisions and agricultural land, including a silo and an old Christmas tree farm. Most of the trail stays in the dense woods.
Trailheads are available on Fairy Chasm Road and W County Line Road, but parking is limited and the markers are easy to miss. Kohl Park is focused on preserving a sense of wilderness within the suburban sprawl, so the park is largely undeveloped. The trails were carved out by volunteers, high school leadership organizations, and area scout troops starting in 2006.
The trail forms a rough loop with spur trails leading to a subdivision lake and nearby wetlands, so you'll need to wind around to experience the full two miles of trail. As you sniff out the scenery, you and your fur family will cross streams on rustic stone bridges, bark at rabbits and squirrels, and listen to songbird serenades.
City ordinances require that pups stay on-leash in public, but some dog owners take their chances and let pups explore off-leash in this lightly-used and unmonitored park. Unless you like muddy dogs, though, we recommend playing by the rules: if your pups are like ours, they'd head right for the wetlands.
No restrooms or water fountains are available at Kohl Park, so make sure your needs are met before starting the hike. You'll also need waste bags to clean up any surprises your pups leave for the next hikers. The park is maintained by people from the community (and the trailside benches were even built by an Eagle Scout volunteer), so it's important to treat their work with respect.
A nature trail connects the Kohl Park Trail to the Mequon Nature Preserve just across W County Line Road, adding another 438 acres of scenic terrain for your pups to explore from this launching point. Plans are in the works to expand that connection and to link Kohl Park to nearby neighborhoods.