A watchful bird sitting on its nest

March at the Marsh

In like a lion, out like a lamb? We’ll find out this weekend, as March comes to a close. One of the best places to get outside and investigate lies about three hours north in southeastern Wisconsin: the 32,000-acre Horicon Marsh. Horicon, the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the country, spans Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties, and offers a wealth of scenic spots for hiking, biking, bird watching, and photography. Pick up maps of the marsh’s myriad trails and waterways at the education center. Here, three ideas for wetland activities the just might put a spring in your step:

  1. Hike
    On state highway 49 just west of County Road Z, the wild life viewing area has a spotting scope and a short hiking trail. The Horicon TernPike hiking trails—also on 49, just east of the city of Waupun—has three walking paths, a floating boardwalk, and biking and hiking access to the Wild Goose state trail. The Bud Cook hiking area on Point Road, just southwest of Highway 49 and County Road Z, hosts additional hiking trails and a viewing platform with spotting scope).
  2. Bike
    Main Dike Road, a two-level gravel road near County Road TW, is good for cycling, in part because access to the road is limited—visitors should park by the fishing platform at the eastern end, then pedal in. Stop at the viewing platform at Rockvale Road for a spectacular view of the marsh.
  3. Fish
    Peachy Road, Ledge Road, and Main Dike Road offer designated spots for fishing. Perch, pike, and bullhead are among the species you can hook from the banks.

GO Horicon Marsh; start at the education center, N7725 Highway 28 (between the cities of Horicon and Mayville); 920-387-7860, horiconmarsh.org.

Where to sleep: The 16-room, 115-year-old Audubon Inn (45 N. Main St., Mayville; 920-387-5858, auduboninn.jamhospitality.com) offers comfort within a structure that’s on the National Registry of Historic Places; rates start at $89. The Honeybee Inn Bed and Breakfast (611 E. Walnut St., Horicon; 920-485-4855, honeybeeinn.com) offers a “bath sommelier” ($85) in two of its four rooms; rates range from $129 to $199 a night.

Where to eat: The Beaumont Restaurant and Bar inside the Audubon Inn (see above) serves dinner in its formal dining room Tuesday through Saturday. The family-owned Marsibilio’s Trattoria (114 Bridge St., Mayville; 920-387-0387, marsibilios.net) offers traditional Italian fare.