Northern State Ghost Town. Credit: Jennifer Johnson
Northern State Ghost Town
The prize: Creepy old buildings and a disc golf course.
The hike: While not exactly wilderness, a walk through Northern State Ghost Town has enough cool factor to entice teens and tweens who might otherwise want to stay home. The trails are on the site of an old mental hospital; dilapidated farm buildings from that era provide unique photo ops. There are signs warning against entering the buildings, and there are hazards such as broken glass and roofs in the process of caving in, so keep a close eye on youngsters. The trails are flat and open, and you might be lucky enough to spot raptors or songbirds at the forest edges. To play disc golf, bring Frisbees and snap a photo of the course map posted near the parking lots.
Details: 5 miles of trails, 50 feet elevation gain. No pass needed.