Summer Fun | Portage Area Chamber of Commerce
 

Summer Fun

Portage Park & Recreation Department

The Portage Park & Recreation Department provides year-round activities for the whole family in addition to maintaining the quality of our beautiful city parks.

For more information about their programs, call 608-742-2178.

Swimming

Silver Lake Beach in Portage offers a wide, sandy beach, wading, swimming and diving opportunities for the whole family. An indoor pool is located next to Rusch Elementary School at 117 W. Franklin Street. The Splash Pad, located next to Rusch Elementary at Goodyear Park, keeps youngsters cool from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Biking

Biking enthusiasts should come and explore Columbia County with 14 different bike loops providing views of wetlands, valleys, rivers, lakes and wildlife areas.

Please note the routes are traffic routes, not designated biking trails. Please wear a helmet and ride with caution. Click here for the bicycle loop map.

Shoot

The Portage Rod & Gun Club offers members full use of outdoor pistol and rifle ranges, archery range, 4 trap stations, skeet station and 120 acres of hunting land. The clubhouse is available for meetings and weddings with central air conditioning, ample seating, and a separate bar area.

Located just west of Portage on Hwy 16 with access from Interstate 39 (Southbound exit 89B; Northbound exit 89C ).

Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoe or kayak the Fox River, part of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway. Drop in at the Agency House and paddle up to Governor’s Bend and points farther north for a great summertime adventure. Or plan a trip with the Sand County Water Trail guide as your companion.

Kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at Silver Lake Beach, 522 Silver Lake Drive. Call 608-742-2178 for information.

Hiking

The Wisconsin River Levee Trail is a smooth 2.8-mile asphalt path along the Wisconsin River perfect for walking. The Ice Age Trail, a little more rugged, is a 10,000-year-old trail with a segment running through Portage.

The grounds of the Historic Indian Agency House in Portage also offers hiking along the Stories of the Land Interpretive Trailway and the Marquette Trail (part of the Ice Age Trail).

Amish Community

Located to the northeast and east of Portage is a fairly large Amish community, who are known for their beautiful handmade quilts, baskets, furniture and many other items. Amish businesses here include bakeries, furniture and cabinet making shops, quilt shops and general stores. From Portage: Head east along State Highway 33 to 4-way stop at intersection of Hwy 33 and Hwy 22. Turn left onto Hwy 22 (north). Proceed roughly 5 miles to right on Barry Road. Click here for a map.

Some Amish businesses are closed on Thursdays. All Amish businesses are closed Sundays and Church Holidays.

The Portage Canal

The Portage Canal, a connector of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, was finished in 1876 and at its peak for recreational boat traffic in 1908. By 1950, the number of lockages had dwindled, and the following year, the Portage locks were welded shut.

The west end of the canal was refurbished in 2007. Work has started on bringing a second segment of the canal east of Adams Street back to life.

Golf Portage

The most avid golfers will find all the challenge they need at a couple courses in the Portage area. You can try your luck at the 18-hole course at Portage Country Club or the nine-hole course at Saddle Ridge Golf Club. These courses will provide golf enthusiasts with hours of recreation.

Other Attractions

  • Church Hill District. Containing six early churches and many prestigious homes built between 1855 and 1930, the Church Hill District is only two blocks from the downtown area.
  • Society Hill, a residential district of 138 buildings, was home to the city’s early prominent citizens. Many of the buildings are made of yellow Portage brick and were constructed between 1870 and 1910. Society Hill contains the homes of two Pulitzer Prize winners; playwright Zona Gale and historian Jackson Turner.
  • Downtown Retail District. As a trade center for central Wisconsin, the downtown retail district was a beehive of activity as early as the 1860s. Many of the buildings have been preserved in their original Victorian architecture, providing a colorful background for the busy retail area today.
  • Barn Quilts of Columbia County celebrate the agricultural heritage of our county through the beauty and warmth of quilting art.

Boating

Boaters can hit the waters of the Wisconsin River (access at Sunset Park at 601 Summit Street in Portage) and nearby Swan Lake, located 3 miles east of Portage.