Trekking the trails by candlelight

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Staff | January 8, 2016

See another side of wintry trails at night during the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' candlelight ski/snowshoe/hikes at parks and natural spaces around the state in January and February.

Torches or luminaries light the way along trails. Many spots have bonfires, snacks and refreshments—from chili to hot cocoa—available. Additional activities at select spots include crafts, a film, programs on mammals and the night sky, telescopes for star gazing, marshmallow roasts, prize drawings, even live music.

Some programs are dependent on the weather, and some have restrictions on pets.

Check ahead by calling the individual park site or visit the DNR's website:

The events include a candlelight ski event on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak Unit in Delafield.

Participants can ski by candlelight on a one-mile trail. Afterwards, they can enjoy a camp fire. A large grill will be available for use, or enjoy hot cider, hot cocoa and treats in Trecker Lodge for the cost of a donation.

Other events:

6th Annual Horicon Marsh Candlelight Hike/Snowshoe, Jan. 16, 5 p.m .to 9 p.m., Horicon Marsh Education Center

The Education Center will be open for people to warm up, view the 20 minute "Horicon Marsh Story", visit the gift shop or have the kids do a fun craft to bring home. There are also snacks available for purchase and the Flyway Gift Shop is open for shopping. The Horicon Marsh Explorium will also be open for people to learn about Horicon Marsh through these new interactive displays, but a fee is required.

The Northern Cross Science Foundation astronomers will be on site to help participants view the night sky through telescopes or to talk about the stars if it is cloudy. Members of the Horicon Marsh Bird Club will be on the trail conducting short owl talks and calling for owls. Learn about Wisconsin's mammals on the short "Family Loop" trail. Warm beverages and light snacks will be available inside the center as well as a bake sale. Bring marshmallows to roast or grab a hot chocolate outside in the new picnic shelter.
Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center will line the trails with candle-powered luminaries. There are two trails available. One trail is 1.5-miles and another "Family Loop" is only .36-miles.

Hiking and snowshoeing are free to the public. Snowshoes will be available to the public on a first-come first-serve basis at no charge. Snowshoers may have to wait until a pair is turned in. There must be at least six to eight inches of snow on the ground to loan out snowshoes. Leashed pets are allowed on the trails but not in the building.

Admission to the event is free; however, please consider bringing a non-perishable food item or hats/gloves/mittens for our food drive and mitten campaign to be donated to local schools and local food pantries. For more information, call 920-387-7893. The center is located at N7725 Hwy 28, Horicon, WI between Horicon and Mayville.

Annual Candlelight Ski and Hike Event, Jan. 29, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Red Cedar State Trail, Menomonie

Trail fee is waived for Friday Night Ski, warming fire, prize drawing and hot chocolate available. Activities start at Depot Visitor Center area, off highway 29, west side of Menomonie. Please call 715-232-1242 with questions.

Candlelight ski, hike and snowshoe, Jan. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Hartman Creek State Park, Waupaca

Come out and ski, hike or snowshoe by candlelight around Hartman Creek State Park. Start at the shelter by Hartman Lake, where fires and snacks will be waiting, and go around the lake and woods. Free event sponsored by the Friends of Hartman Creek State Park.

Winter Candlelight Event, Jan. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Whitefish Dunes State Park, Sturgeon Bay

A mile and a half path will be lit with luminaries for the ski trail portion, and run along a segment of the red trail. The hiking/snowshoe portion will take place on a mile and a half section of the black trail. Pets and sleds are not allowed on the ski trail portion of this event. Refreshments will be available at the shelter building, as well as Friends merchandise at the nature center. A park sticker is required and can be purchased upon arrival. Call the Whitefish Dunes office with further questions, 920-823-2400.

Candlelight Hike and Ski, Jan. 30, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Point Beach State Forest, Two Rivers

Enjoy candlelit trails for cross-country skiing or hiking. Come in the lodge and enjoy the warmth of the fireplace and entertainment. Food and beverages will also be available. Any proceeds from this event will go toward projects, events and the forest. This program will be determined by the weather—amount of snow and temperature. Please call ahead to see if it is still going on as planned. For more information, call 920-794-7480.

Candlelight Ski and Hike, Feb. 6, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Peninsula State Park, Fish Creek

1-mile loop with hundreds of lit candles lining the trail. Following the ski or hike participants can enjoy a bonfire and cookies and cider in the warming shelter. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Peninsula State Park.

Candlelight Ski/Hike, Feb. 6, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit, Campbellsport

Cross-country ski or hike in the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit by candlelight. At the bonfire join fellow hikers and skiers for hot drinks and snacks provided by the Friends of the Kettle Moraine. The trail is perfect for novice skiers with no steep hills or sharp turns. The Zillmer shelter building will be open, lit and heated. Meet at the Zillmer trail area, located off County Highway SS between County Highway G and Wisconsin Highway 67 near New Prospect.

Candlelight Ski, Hike and Snowshoe Event, Feb. 6, 6 p.m to 8 p.m., Mirror Lake State Park, Baraboo

Meet at the Winter Recreation Area (a.k.a. Beach/picnic area) at Mirror Lake State Park. Join us for a fun- filled winter evening on the trails. We will have trails lit by torch light for skiers and hikers and snowshoers. The Friends of Mirror Lake will have the bonfires roaring and hot cocoa to keep you warm.

Candlelight Ski, Hike and Snowshoe, Feb. 13, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Newport State Park, Ellison Bay

Experience winter beauty at Newport State Park. Ski, hike or snowshoe this easy 1.2-mile candlelit trail. Bonfire and refreshments will greet participants at the end of the trail. Starts at Parking Lot 3.

Candlelight Ski Hike, Feb. 13, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Kettle Moraine State Forest, Pike Lake Unit, Hartford

Meet at the Beach Area's North Shelter. Experience over 300 luminaries that cover two .75 mile loops. Skiers, Snowshoers and Hikers will share the trails. Bonfire will be burning.  Refreshments available inside the shelter. The Northern Cross Science Foundation will be there with their telescopes for night viewing. If there is inclement weather expected, we will cancel at least 48 hours ahead of time and plan for the re-scheduled date for February 20.

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