Family Fun

The Green Circle Trail is an amazing place to explore with children of all ages. Check out our recommendations below for some must-see spots along the trail! Also, visit the Kid’s Guide to the Green Circle Trail created by the Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

What to do if you have one hour:

For the younger crowd:

Pedestrian bridge over the Plover River on the Paper Mill Trail

Start on the first segment of the Green Circle Trail, that started it all, with the Riverfront Trail segment. Park downtown, and stroll along the Wisconsin River between Pfiffner Pioneer Park and Bukolt Park. The paved trail makes it easy for everyone to enjoy, and perfect for strollers and wagons for the younger family members. The total trail distance is 1.2 miles, making it a 2.4 mile trip, but can be easily shortened by turning around when necessary. (Tip: Looking for more fun? Don’t miss the playgrounds in the nearby Pfiffner Park and across the bridge at Mead Park, featuring the region’s largest playground – K.A.S.H. Playground, or swing downtown to enjoy a scoop of ice cream.)

  • TRAIL DETAILS: Riverfront Trail
  • SURFACE: Asphalt paved trail
  • MILEAGE: 1.2 (2.4 from Pfiffner Pioneer Park to Bukolt Park and back)

For the older crowd (10+):

Head to a more challenging section to explore along the trail, like the Paper Mill Trail segment. Known as one of the hilliest segments of the trail, it is tucked along the southern portion of the circle. Start your journey by parking along Cedar Street or in Whiting Park. The trail crosses a pedestrian bridge over the Plover River flowage, and then tucks into the woods for some picturesque views (and challenging inclines) perfecting to hike or bike. (Tip: For more room to explore, don’t miss the Whiting Park trails.)

  • TRAIL DETAILS: Paper Mill Trail
  • SURFACE: crushed granite and sidewalks (Whiting Park trails are woodchips or natural pathways)
  • MILEAGE: 1.7 (3.4 from Cedar Street to Sherman Avenue and back)

What to do if you have three hours:

For the younger crowd:

“A Sand County Bench” at the Stevens Point Sculpture Park

Explore a blend of the Green Circle Trail’s Brickyard Trail segment and the Stevens Point Sculpture Park. The trails combine to make a perfect loop – no road crossing necessary. Plan to explore the sculptures and art along the trail, both along the pathways, and tucked into the woods. Don’t be afraid to touch and interact with the pieces, spin DeeDee Morrison’s ‘Landscape with Perspective’ and crawl under and gaze up in Mike Godell’s ‘Pulsating Vessels’. Learn more about the Brickyard Trail’s history at the trail kiosk, where the Zenoff Park parking lot and the trail meet. Parking is available along Second Street North or in the Zenoff Park parking lot. (Tip: In the winter, this is a perfect route for snowshoeing. In the summer, don’t forget bug spray!)

  • TRAIL DETAILS: Brickyard Trail
  • SURFACE: crushed granite (if you continue on the full trail, beyond the suggest loop, there are some sidewalks)
  • MILEAGE: 1.0 (for the loop including the Sculpture Park main trail and Brickyard Trail. Additional sculptures are viewable along North Second Street)

For the older crowd (10+):

Head out for a scenic route along the Plover River Trail segment of the Green Circle Trail. This is one of the longest segments of the trail and doesn’t require any road crossings along the route. In the winter (and when conditions exist) the trail is groomed for both diagonal and skate cross country skiing. In the spring, winter and fall, the route is perfect for exploring the outdoors as it meanders along the peaceful Plover River. (The river is a popular kayaking and canoeing route, with most people heading out of Jordan Park and continuing to Iverson Park). Watch for animal tracks and birds along the route, throughout the year. Parking is available on the northern end off of Hwy 66 (just north of the Stevens Point Municipal airport) and on the southern end at the end of Hofmeister Drive. (Tip: Geocache for a fun scavenger hunt! Many are hidden along the route.)

  • TRAIL DETAILS: Plover River Trail
  • SURFACE: crushed granite and sidewalks (Whiting Park trails are woodchips or natural pathways)
  • MILEAGE: 3.6 (7.2 for the entire trail, out and back from Hwy 66 to Hofmeister Drive)

What to do if you have all day:

Option 1: Northeast Route

Boardwalk over Moses Creek wetland on University Trail

Begin at the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center. Before hitting the trail, take some time to check out the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame, the Conservation History museum, and live animal exhibits. Then, head east on the Green Circle Trail. On the University Trail segment, watch for wildlife in the Zimmerman Prairie, the Berard Oaks oak savanna and the Moses Creek wetland. Then travel on the trail’s longest boardwalk through the Moses Creek Trail segment and stop for a game of disc golf at Yulga Park. The Plover River Trail segment follows the winding Plover River on the trail’s longest segment without roads. The 8.8 mile route ends at Iverson Park – a perfect spot for a playground break, picnic lunch or a snack depending on your pace. There are a few restaurants just off of the trail (near Iverson Park), if you’d prefer to not carry anything with you. Iverson also has a safe swimming beach with shallow water and is home to beautiful historic stone buildings.

Option 2: Northwest Route

Begin at the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center. Head east on the Green Circle Trail. Along the Brickyard Trail segment, be sure to visit the Stevens Point Sculpture Park. The Stagecoach Trail segment follows the old route of a stagecoach line that went to Wausau and offers beautiful views of the Wisconsin River. At just over 5 miles, this route continues along the Riverfront Trail segment through Bukolt and Pfiffner Pioneer Parks in the heart of Downtown Stevens Point. Continue on the Westside Loop and River Pines section before heading back to downtown (bringing the total mileage to 9.9 miles). As you enter downtown again, it’s the perfect chance to stop for lunch. There are plenty of options for a bite. In the summer, you’ll find the farmers market most days in the public square at the end of Main Street. If you are looking for a place to cool off or relax before heading back, don’t miss the swimming areas at Mead Park (on the west side of the Wisconsin River) or the beach at Bukolt Park. As you wind back to Schmeeckle Reserve, take a detour off the Brickyard Trail through the Stevens Point Sculpture Park to see the amazing hands-on artwork.

  • TRAIL DETAILS: University, Brickyard, Stagecoach, Riverfront, Westside & River Pines trail segments
  • SURFACE: crushed granite, boardwalks, sidewalks, paved roads, asphalt trail
  • MILEAGE: 15

Option 3: Bike the entire trail!

Biking through a cattail marsh on the University Trail

If you’re feeling adventurous, plan to go the entire route. You can start at numerous locations, but the Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center on the University Trail is a good option with free parking, information desk, souvenirs, and exhibits. Heading east takes you to the Moses Creek section with the longest boardwalk on the trail, along the Plover River, and to Iverson Park. Heading west takes you to the Brickyard section, the Stevens Point Sculpture Park, and to parks along the Wisconsin River. The entire circle is about 25 miles long. Bike rentals are available for those looking to hit the trail on two wheels. Numerous parks along the way are perfect places to stop for breaks – fill up your water, use the restroom, have a picnic, and play on a playground.

  • SURFACE: crushed granite, boardwalks, sidewalks, paved roads, asphalt trail
  • MILEAGE: 25 (without the Westside Loop)