The Lion's Den - it's been on my "Wisconsin" list for awhile, and the new girl at work mentioned it last week. When Wayne said "Let's go camping" this past weekend I booked us a site at Waubedonia Park not far from Port Washington on Lake Michigan's shoreline.
The park is small and only has about 10 sites and no dump station, but it does have electric and water at each site for only $22 night and as far as I know is the only non-Wisconsin State Park campground within driving distance to Port Washington. The state parks book out far in advance on the weekends so unless you can get to one on a Thursday early evening you're out of luck in the area.
After setting up in the dark on Friday evening and pretty much heading straight to bed we got up on Saturday and drove to Lion's Den Gorge which is in Grafton, just south of Port Washington.
The land was private property until 2002, so it is a new addition for public hiking and is very popular. We saw quite a few families with young children and folks with leashed dogs on this mostly flat, wide trail system that parallels Lake Michigan.
Besides sweeping views of Lake Michigan along the bluffline we also saw tons of asters in bloom, in a variety of colors and sizes.
If you want to head down to the beach the trail narrows a bit as it approaches the gorge, and there are 94 stairs involved in getting down there.
Once down on the "beach" there wasn't much to see. Online reviews had stated you could see the Port Washington pier light from there, but all we saw was the power plant and a little boy clearing the way for the water to flow to Lake Michigan unimpeded.
So back up we went, and followed the loop back out to the parking lot. We figured it was about 3 miles round trip, mostly in the sun so luckily it was only in the 70's.
Near the parking lot there is a trail that leads to a wetland area.
There were no birds in sight, but Wayne did spot a frog trying to hide from us in the duckweed.
From there we explored Port Washington a bit. We haven't been there in at least 15 years and things weren't quite as I remembered!