“A hidden gem that's off the beaten path and great for those looking for a secluded run in the woods.”
— Brooke Weichselfelder
Birding · Fall Colors · Wildflowers
Need to Know
There's a small parking lot at the trailhead—look for the sign.
A hidden gem, the Hitz-Rhodehamel Nature Preserve is off the beaten path and great for those looking for a nice run in the woods. Avoid the crowds and enjoy Brown County’s beauty on this nearly three-mile trek. This trail loops around the 484-acre, secluded nature preserve and is perfect for taking in the sights and sounds of the woodlands.
Start at the Freeman Ridge Road Parking Area. Shortly after starting the trail, you'll come to a split. Take either direction to complete the loop. We continued straight/veered to the right. Not long after, you'll cross the gravel road before picking the dirt trail back up on the other side. The trail is pretty well marked, but can be grown up at times, so be sure to keep on the lookout for trees marked with a white diamond. There also are several informative signs along the way about the forest and its inhabitants.
After crossing the road, the trail is pretty level for a while before making its descent into the valley below. Upon reaching the valley, the trail will flatten out as you wind through the brush and cross a creek bed a few times over. Around 1.3 miles in, you’ll begin your ascent out of the valley. Get ready to climb for the next half-mile or so. Once you reach the top, you’ll cross the gravel road again. On the other side, you’ll descend another 200-foot hill before climbing back out. You’ll eventually meet up with the initial split to finish the trail.
Even though it’s just shy of three miles, this trail can be challenging due to the steep terrain and two half-mile ascents. However, it’s perfect for those looking for a quiet, secluded run in the middle of the forest!
Flora & Fauna
Fungus, deer, frogs and toads can be found here, not to mention wildflowers in the spring and awesome fall colors in the autumn.