24 Must-Do Adventures In The Midwest

Sometimes it feels like the West gets all the attention. And, of course, it's worthy of attention. Places like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon are certainly bucket-list worthy. But the Midwest is studded with outdoor adventure gems, too. Whether you live in the Midwest and are planning your next long weekend or you're simply looking for something off the beaten path, we've hand picked two awesome ideas from each of the Midwestern states.



Rent kayaks and paddle through downtown Chicago on the Chicago River.

Climb at Jackson Falls, the largest concentration of climbing routes in Illinois.



Mountain bike Brown County State Park, where there's plenty of flow to go around.

Camp at Indiana Dunes and enjoy the beaches of Lake Michigan.



Paddle or fish the Charles City Whitewater Park on the Cedar River.

Mountain bike Decorah's trails, singletrack, features and all.


Ride—or even bikepack—the Flint HIlls Trail, with its perfect gravel on a railroad grade.

Paddle The Kansas River, a.k.a. The Kaw, a National Water Trail that's perfect for multi-day trips.



Mountain bike Copper Harbor's world-class singletrack.

Ski Mount Bohemia, which gets nearly 300 inches of snow yearly, all of which is ungroomed.



Ski Buck Hill, where you can practice freestyle jumps into an airbag.

Thru hike Lake Superior’s North Shore—or snowshoe it in winter.


Canoe the Current River for blue-green water and caves.

Go bouldering at Elephant Rocks, for high-friction granite.


Paddle the Niobrara River for a high plains wildlife experience.

Bikepack the Cowboy Trail nearly 200 miles from Valentine to Norfolk.


North Dakota

Bikepack across the badlands on the Maah Daah Hey Trail.

Hike through an ancient petrified forest in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.



Hike or run the Donut Trail, because DONUTS.

Bikepack the Buckeye Trail from Cincinnati To Cleveland through historic locations on both paved and dirt roads.


South Dakota

Climb at The Needles, a sea of granite spires.

Tour the Black Hills by bikepacking the Centennial Trail.


Climb at Devil’s Lake, one of the Midwest's finest climbing destinations, with plenty of moderate routes.

Mountain bike the Rock Lake IMBA Epic, "one of the longest skinny-trail routes in the Upper Midwest."