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OutWiGo Events

Experience unique events at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas! Events at state park properties are ongoing throughout the year. Here are a few recurring annual events and programs we're excited to offer.

Two happy bikers travel on a gravel road along fields and trees.
Photo credit: Wisconsin Bike Federation

Ride Across Wisconsin - Aug. 17-18, 2024

This summer, Aug. 17-18, 2024, the Wisconsin Bicycle Fed is once again hosting the Ride Across Wisconsin on several iconic state trails in its route across the state from La Crosse to Milwaukee.

The annual Ride Across Wisconsin was created to promote great riding opportunities across the state while raising funds for the Wisconsin Bicycle Fed. Both mixed-surface and all-paved route options will be offered. The mixed-surface route will include sections of the Elroy-Sparta, 400, Glacial Drumlin and Hank Aaron state trails. The approximate date and times riders will be on the trails are:

For more information or to sign up for this event, visit the Ride Across Wisconsin website [exit DNR].

Volunteers are also needed to assist riders at rest stops along the route, load bikes for transportation, check in riders and more. To see all the volunteer opportunities, visit the Ride Across Wisconsin volunteer registration webpage [exit DNR].

Shakespeare In The State Parks

Experience drama in state parks! The Summit Players are a traveling Shakespeare troupe offering a workshop and play across Wisconsin state parks, forests and recreation areas each summer. A different play is selected each year. A 45-minute educational workshop precedes the 75-minute show for kids and adults. Both the performance and workshop are FREE! Vehicle admission into the state park property is required.

Universe In The Park

Universe in the Park is a popular outreach program of the University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Astronomy. A typical Universe in the Park session begins just after sunset with a 30-40-minute talk and slide show about astronomy. The talks are presented to audiences of all ages. After the discussion, weather permitting, Universe in the Park sets up a moderate aperture (8-10 inches) telescope and provides park visitors the opportunity to view available astronomical objects.

Candlelight Events

Enjoy your favorite state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas by candlelight! Each winter, visit your nearest state park property for a spectacular evening event exploring trails by candle or torchlight. Activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hiking and more. Events often include hot beverages and a fire for participants to enjoy. These are our most popular events of the year! Don't miss out.

First Day Hikes

Wisconsinites looking for a healthy, refreshing kick-off to the new year can make their plans for joining a First Day Hike at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas each Jan.1.

Run For The Trees: Happy Little 5K

The annual Run for the Trees event is inspired by Bob Ross, the American painter, art instructor and television host of the PBS show "The Joy of Painting" and his love of the outdoors.

Runners, walkers, hikers and rollers can complete their 5K anywhere outdoors anytime between Earth Day (April 22, 2024) and Arbor Day (April 26, 2024). Wisconsin state parks and forests are a great place to finish your 5K! Registration is available now at Run For The Trees: Happy Little 5K (

Happy LIttle 5k swag pictured: keepsake Happy Little T-shirt, commemorative bib number and finisher's medal.

This event is an excellent opportunity to get some exercise and protect our natural resources at the same time. Race proceeds support tree planting and forest protection efforts in state parks, such as invasive plant and forest pest management and early detection surveys.

The registration fee includes a keepsake Happy Little T-shirt, commemorative bib number and finisher's medal.

Suggested Happy Little 5K Routes And Map For Wisconsin State Parks [PDF].

Work Play Earth Day

Wisconsinites have several opportunities to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) through acts of service and outdoor recreation at state parks. Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Wisconsin native Gov. Gaylord Nelson to raise awareness about air and water pollution. Today, Earth Day is observed around the globe and is commemorated as a whole month of recognition, stewardship and celebration of the natural environment. The public can participate in family-friendly activities that help enhance public lands. These events lead to lasting enhancements, increased awareness and continued support for Wisconsin State Parks. Watch for Work Play Earth Day events held across the state during April and May. 

Free Fun Weekend - June 1-2, 2024

Wisconsin is home to 50 state parks, 15 state forests, 44 state trails, 84,000 miles of rivers and streams, roughly 15,000 lakes and so much more. For the first weekend every June, you can explore it all with state park admission fees, fishing licenses and trail passes waived. Watch for free admission events held during this period on the DNR events calendar.