Description - The Kettle Moraine and Lapham Peak were formed 10,000 years ago when a glacier covered much of Wisconsin. More than 1,000 acres of hilly terrain are within the Lapham Peak boundaries. Lapham Peak has a variety of sights and activities to offer. Climb a 45-foot observation tower atop the highest point (1,233 feet) in Waukesha County or enjoy glaciated topography while hiking, backpacking, or cross-country skiing on lighted trails.
Lapham Peak was originally purchased by the government in 1905 after receiving a National Weather Service signal station in 1870. A portion of the land was turned over to the state in 1939 and in 1940 a crew from the WPA (Works Project Administration) erected the 45-foot tower. The 1,233-foot peak is named for Increase A. Lapham, a renowned New Yorker educated as an engineer but recognized as a botanist, geologist, scientist, and archaeologist. He is credited with fathering the U.S. Weather Bureau.
- Lapham Peak offers recreation opportunities that include 21.2 miles of trail along with a portion of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail which features a reservable backpack campsite. Over 17 miles are offered to cross-country skiers, including 2.5 miles of lighted trails for night skiing, and 5 miles of designated mountain bike trail. The trails wind through wooded hills and open meadows. Abundant bird life and wildlife can be observed from all trails and guided bird hikes are held each spring. There are several prairie restoration sites and a butterfly garden. The Forest also has two reservable shelter buildings. Trail passes ($) are required for horseback riders, mountain bikers and skiers over 16 years of age. The 51-mile multi-use Glacial Drumlin Trail is an old railroad route located approximately one mile from the Forest.
A park naturalist offers programs on a scheduled basis. Visitors may participate in an orienteering lesion, a bird walk, a wildflower hike, or holiday hike. Call the park office for details.
Recreation - Visitors come to Lapham Peak to hike the trails and climb the tower, enjoy nature study, take a guided hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, and cross-country ski.
Climate - Southeast Wisconsin has four distinct seasons with warm summers and long winters. January's average temperature is above 16 degrees F (-9 degrees C). Average July temperature is 85 degrees F (29 degrees C). During summer, temperatures can climb to above 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). The area's average yearly precipitation ranges from 32-34". Annual snowfalls in the Southeast Region can range from 20 - 50". Dressing in layers is a good way to remain comfortable in Wisconsin.
Lapham Peak Unit - Kettle Moraine State Forest is located near Delafield, 1 mile south of Interstate 94.