Parnell Tower Trail

MODERATE 10 reviews

Parnell Tower Trail is a 3.4 mile loop trail located near Plymouth, Wisconsin that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from March until September.

3.4 miles 377 feet Loop




Directions from Plymouth, WI: Take Hwy. 67 west to Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive. Head south and proceed to County U. Turn right (west) to reach trailhead parking.

1 month ago

Hike this one often. There are a few steep inclines/descents (not long) depending which way you go. All ages hike this trail and you just go your own pace. The tower is VERY busy during peak fall colors and parking is not allowed on the road.
This trail is not open to cross country skiiing as one person commented below. There are groomed cross country skiing trails at Greenbush Camp a few miles south or Parnell.
The Ice Age Trail connects for a short distance on the west side of the trail. I've seen some people get confused at these two junctions. If you are going clockwise, keep going to the right. If you are going counter clockwise, stay to the left. Or read the signs, they point you in the right direction.

2 months ago

4 months ago

Medium difficulty, great variety, few people. Enjoyed very much!

6 months ago

Such a great trail. Not your standard crushed stone path. The changes in terrain make it a bit more challenging. Roots, rocks, hills and stairs, so many things to step on and around. The woods are beautiful and it isn't too busy, though you will almost definitely see a handful of other people.

8 months ago

I don't know why this is marked as hard. It was a easy trail. I did it twice - clockwise and counter clockwise. It is VERY pretty!

1 year ago

Hiked this last Saturday. The fall foliage was gorgeous! The *only* drawback was the sound of gunfire (frequent!) nearby....hunting season :( This trail is easy for hiking. The worst part is the stairway at the beginning of the trail. After passing the tower, the slopes are mild and a good pair of hiking shoes will help if the trail is wet. I can imagine that this would be a challenging route for snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing because of the lack of trail markers, but for hiking it was a pleasant stroll on a well developed trail.

2 years ago

Hiked this trail this morning. It was a good workout for someone who is used to flat terrain. A few mosquitos but I was prepared for that. Great time.

3 years ago

A great trail for any experience level hiker. Right off the bat you get a slew of steps that take you to the foot of the observation tower. Amazing views all around up there! The trail slopes up and down to keep you on your toes the whole 3.5 miles. I personally had perfect Fall weather which kept the bugs out of sight, but I'd be sure to lather on the bug spray if it was early summer. This trail is a must stop especially since it has Parnell Tower. My only minor complaint is that some parts of the trail are not well marked and need to be distinguished from employee only areas.

3 years ago

This trail is a 3.5 mile loop. It isn't hard; we actually chose to jog about half the time. I went with my friend who is a personal trainer and she claimed it was a great cardio workout when all was said and done. If you take it at your own pace, I think anyone can do this trail. Good for any skill level, even beginners!

Meanwhile, the entire trail is absolutely lovely. It is mostly shady and wooded with pretty sunlight filtering through here and there. Butterflies and moths flit away when they hear you coming which is positively charming. I saw all kinds of white and blue wild berries and mossy rock patches.

The climb to the top of the watch tower is optional, but do it if you want to soak up an AMAZING view. There is wild and rural Wisconsin beauty to be awed at from up there.

If you're going to do this hike in the summer months, slather on the deep woods bug repellent. I am now one itchy girl!

Also, the drive out there is breathtaking. It is right off a designated scenic drive.

If you don't have a park sticker, bring cash. Card won't work.

4 years ago

Moderately difficult, yes, but incredibly scenic! And you really get a workout for the short distance you're hiking. Plus, check out Parnell Tower; you can see to Holy Hill on a bright, clear day!