What to do in Potawatomi State Park

Potawatomi State Park is comprised of 1,127-forested acres that jut out into the sparkling Sturgeon Bay. Sitting atop the Niagara Escarpment, a limestone ledge that forms the spine of Door County, the park is characterized by flat to gently rolling land imprinted with granite boulders and rugged cliffs. A 75-foot lookout tower offers views that on a clear day reach 16 miles across Green Bay to Menomonee, Michigan, and Chambers Island, 20 miles to the northeast. From its forested trails, hikers can enjoy expansive views of the bay and geological features. The land is densely forested in pine and hardwoods providing habitat for white-tailed deer, porcupine, foxes, raccoon, and 200 bird species of which 50 are nesting birds. This linear park is named for the peaceful Native American tribe, Potawatomi Indian.

Beautiful scenery and enjoyable recreation opportunities attract visitors to Potawatomi State Park. Two camping areas offer 125 sites of which 25 have electric hookup. Flush toilets, hot showers, picnic tables, fire rings, and several handicapped sites round out the offerings. Sites are located in both sun and shade. The park does have a handicapped accessible cabin, a 1995 contribution from Telephone Pioneers of America Chapter No. 4. Winter camping is available. Camping reservations are available online or by calling a toll-free reservation number. Contact information is listed below.

Day use opportunities at the park feature scenic picnicking, hiking, and boating. Picnic areas over look the Sturgeon Bay and offer access to the 2.5-mile Hemlock Trail, which incidentally skirts past campsite no. 14. Other trails at the park include the Tower Trail, a 3.5-mile hike popular for viewing sunsets. Another hike is the half-mile Ancient Shoreline Trail. It's a self-guided nature hike with 14 learning stations and an accompanying brochure. If you're interested in nature study, be sure to ask for a listing of programs offered by the park naturalist. A significant feature of Potawatomi State Park is that it is the terminus of the 1,000-mile Ice Age National Scenic Trail; portions of Hemlock and Tower trails from the observation tower to Duluth Avenue. Biking in the park consists of park roads, a 4.0-mile designated bike trail and a short segment of Hemlock Trail. In total, the park offers 28.7 miles of trails: 17.5 miles for hiking, 4.6 miles for mountain biking, 17.3 miles for cross-country skiing (groomed and tracked, some for skate skiing), and 8.7 miles for snowmobiling.

Potawatomi is a base for boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, scuba diving, and waterskiing on Green Bay, but the rocky shore doesn't have a beach. At the north end of the park, a two-lane boat launch provides access to Sawyer Harbor. Boats and canoes are available for rent from the concessionaire. The boat launch area offers shoreline fishing, cleaning station, and picnic tables. Anglers may snag yellow perch, walleye, pike, or bass. Best fishing opportunities exist off boat.

Winter sports enthusiasts find more than snowmobiling and cross-country skiing at Potawatomi State Park. A small sledding hill is available near the campground shelter and the nonprofit group, Potawatomi Ski Club, Inc. operates a downhill ski operation complete with three runs, a double chairlift, and a rope tow. A heated chalet with refreshment area overlooks the slopes that range from beginner to advanced. The facility does have snowmaking equipment.

Recreation happens all year at Potawatomi State Park. There are camping, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, boating, fishing, canoeing, waterskiing, snowmobiling, sledding, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing opportunities.

Potawatomi State Park is located in Northeast Wisconsin three miles south of Sturgeon Bay on W 42 and 57.

Northeast Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. Great Lakes Michigan and Superior tend to make summers cooler and winters milder close to shore. January's average temperature is in the teens F (-teens C). Average July temperature is 68-70 degrees F (20 degrees C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C) for a several day stretch. The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 30-32". Annual snowfalls in the Northeast Region have a wide range; the southern areas may receive 50" while the northern areas may receive in excess of 180". Nighttime summer temperatures can dip below freezing. Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.

3740 Park Drive
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Phone: 920-746-2890

Fax: 920-746-2896

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