There is no better way to destress from school than to get out in nature. Lucky for us, there are plenty of places to go that are in Stout’s backyard.
A fan favorite amongst Stout students, the Punchbowl is a must-see before graduation. The rock formation is something out of a movie and completely transforms itself during the winter time. The icy formations make an incredible backdrop for a photoshoot and it’s a good place to start for the beginner outdoorsman.
Probably the best place to catch the sunrise in Dunn County, the Hoffman Hills Recreation Area offers a bird’s eye view of Dunn County. With several trail options, this park is an adventure waiting to happen. You can choose to travel the trails on cross country skis or go on foot, though you should always make your way to the watch tower to check out the scenery. The best time of year to go is during the fall as the leaves begin to change colors.
Red Cedar Trail
Most people have taken a walk or two along the Red Cedar Trail. But, the trail is also great for biking as well. Make a weekend out of it by biking the trail from Menomonie to Eau Claire and spend the night at a B&B. It’s about a three-and-a-half-hour bike ride, but it’s a great excuse to explore a neighboring city without wasting money on gas.
Bull Frog Fish Farm
If you’ve ever wanted to go fishing and never had the chance, the place to go is Bullfrog Fish Farm. This local farm opens their pond to the public on weekends and rents out gear if you don’t have any of your own. You get to keep what you catch and they will even clean the fish for you, so you can leave the dirty stuff to the professionals. The plus side is that you don’t need any type of fishing license because they are privately owned.
Not necessarily a location, but Stout Adventures has a variety of trips and clinics they offer to students. Some of their upcoming trips include backpacking through the Ozarks and canoeing down the St. Croix. If you want to create your own adventure, you can rent camping supplies, kayaks, and even Go Pros.
Though these destinations aren’t located in Menomonie, they are perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway and deserve an honorable mention. Recruit your friends, pack your car, and head out on a road trip!
Chippewa Moraine Ice Age State Recreation Area
About an hour north of Menomonie is a checkpoint for the Ice Age Trail that stretches across the entire state of Wisconsin. Whether you want to hike roundabout trails or go for the long haul, you are in for a beautiful journey. With marshes and streams along the way, don’t be surprised to see some of the state’s beloved flora and fauna.
Sparta Elroy Bike Trail
This is one of the most amazing destination for bike lovers. Formally the path for a railroad, it has since been converted into a bike trail. What makes this such a unique experience is the old train tunnels that strecth across parts of the way. So, bring your head lamp and put the peddle to the meddle.
(Olivia circa 2004- This was one of my first sumer’s biking the trail!)
If you want to have your jaw drop to the ground, this is the place to go. As somebody that canoed this river every summer, it is still one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been too. With its moss-covered rock formations and calm waters, it’s hard not to feel as if you’re in another world. If you happen to go to Sparta to enjoy the bike trail, I recomend renting some kayaks as well. There are many rental places in the area that will give you a ride back to base from one of their checkpoints.