Home Hikes Lapham Peak: A Scenic Hike in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine

Lapham Peak: A Scenic Hike in Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine

by Ryan

Located in the Kettle Moraine State Forest in Southeastern Wisconsin, Lapham Peak offers a delightful retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. Known for its observation tower and scenic views, Lapham Peak is a destination that combines natural beauty with a touch of adventure. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a family looking for a day out in nature, this trail is sure to enchant you. Let me take you through a comprehensive guide to hiking Lapham Peak.

Trail Overview

  • Length: The Lapham Peak unit has over 25 miles of trails, with the most popular being the 1.8-mile Tower Trail leading to the observation tower.
  • Duration: The Tower Trail takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete, depending on your pace and stops for enjoying the views.
  • Elevation Gain: The trail includes a moderate climb, with the tower offering the highest point in Waukesha County at 1,233 feet above sea level.
  • Trail Type: Well-maintained and marked, suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

Directions to Lapham Peak

Lapham Peak is located just off of I-94, about half an hour west of Milwaukee. Take the Delafield exit (Exit 285) and head south on Highway C for about a mile. The entrance to the park is clearly marked on the left. Once inside the park, follow the signs to the trailhead or the observation tower parking lot.

Embarking on the Hike

The Tower Trail is a loop that winds through beautiful forests and prairies. As you hike, you’ll be greeted with diverse flora and fauna, making it a nature lover’s paradise. The trail is well-groomed and accessible, but it’s still wise to wear good hiking shoes as the path can be uneven in spots.

The highlight of the hike is the climb up the 45-foot observation tower. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding forest and, on clear days, a glimpse of Milwaukee’s skyline.

Tips and Advice for Hiking Lapham Peak

  1. Best Time to Visit: The park is open year-round. Spring and fall offer colorful foliage, while winter opens up opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
  2. Prepare for Weather: Wisconsin weather can be unpredictable. Check the forecast and dress in layers.
  3. Parking Fee: There’s a vehicle admission fee for entering the state park. Consider purchasing a Wisconsin State Parks annual pass for multiple visits.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Carry water, especially during the warmer months.
  5. Picnic Areas: Utilize the picnic areas for a snack or lunch break.
  6. Pet-Friendly: The park is pet-friendly, but keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them.
  7. Trail Etiquette: Stay on marked trails to protect the area’s natural habitats.
  8. Photography: Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning views and the natural beauty of the forest.


Lapham Peak isn’t just a hike; it’s an experience that captures the essence of Wisconsin’s natural beauty. Whether it’s the tranquility of the forest, the exhilaration of reaching the top of the tower, or simply a day spent away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, Lapham Peak offers a refreshing outdoor adventure. So, put on your hiking boots, pack your essentials, and set off on a journey to explore the beauty of Lapham Peak.

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