Best State Park Within the City Limits

William W. Powers State Recreation Area

Critics' Picks

Sure, it wins by default, since it's the only state park within the city limits. But Wolf Lake Recreation Area, as it's also known, is an alluring spot anyway. To get there you have to drive or bike south of the Skyway, past the site of the long-closed Wisconsin Steel mill, and almost to the humming Ford plant—but with a quick turn off a busy road you end up on 160 acres of trees and fields along the shores of Wolf Lake, where the loudest noise is the honking of geese. The setting is as strange as it is tranquil, especially since Interstate 90 cuts through the lake about a mile offshore, and power lines and smokestacks rise over the treeline in the distance. There isn't much in the way of amenities—a few picnic areas and a boat launch—but the park is popular with joggers, walkers, and especially fishermen, who say it's one of the best bass spots in the area. "I caught a couple over here last night," a retired building engineer named John told me as he cast his line one recent afternoon. "It's a real gem. They oughta fix it up a little."