The Ice Age Trail is part of the National Park Service National Scenic Trail System. The Trail loosely follows the outline of the furthest extent of glaciation from the last ice age that receded about 12,000 years ago.
The Trail traverses the state starting at Potawatomi State Park in Door County and runs southeast through the Kettle Moraines to Janesville. Then as it turns north and passes west of Madison, it continues through Devil's Lake State Park and on north to Langlade County. It then meanders west through northern forests to Interstate State Park on the St Croix National Scenic Riverway. The Ice Age Trail is 1100 mile long and runs entirely within the state of Wisconsin.
There are some challenges along the trail, but mostly it is a moderate to easy hike that is great for day hikes. Thru-hiking the trail has been done by relatively few people, maybe because the trail connects a vast number of communities throughout the state. But this could be a plus for restocking. At any rate, enjoy it as whatever pace you prefer.
A few of the popular trail sections are Greenbush in Sheboygan County, John Muir Memorial Park in Marquette County, Loew Lake in Washington County and McKenzie Creek in Polk County.
For you ultra runners there is a tangled and rolling course called the Ice Age Trail 50. Some of the country's best ultra runners live nearby and consider this their home course. Others travel in from states far away such as Arizona, Georgia, Florida and New Mexico. Most consider this a springtime ritual.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is one of only eight National Scenic Trails in the country.
There are 620.2 signed miles and 479.3 unsigned (connecting route) miles. Breaking down those 1099.5 miles another way, 467.0 are "traditional" hiking trail miles, 103.2 are multi-use path miles and 529.3 are road and sidewalk miles.
Biking is only allowed on a few segments of the Trail where it coincides with state bike trails.
One of the virtues of the Ice Age Trail is its involvement with the diverse communities along its route. It was designed to connect communities, not avoid them. In fact, approximately 57% of Wisconsin residents live within 20 miles of the Trail. The Ice Age Trail was also designed very specifically to preserve and protect Wisconsin’s cultural and glacial heritage.
Maps and descriptions of all the sections can be found in the Ice Age Trail Atlas and the Ice Age Trail Companion Guide available online at www.iceagetrail.org. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources maintains an online interactive mapping resource which allow users to create and print custom maps of the trail at http://dnr.wi.gov/maps/gis/appwebview.html
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