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Ice Age Trail - Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest

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Distance: 24.1 miles


Hike though open prairies and oak forests as you travel 30 miles along the terminal moraine left behind from retreating glaciers approximately 10,000 years ago. Plan a three day hike to observe the many State Natural Areas that border the trail.

You can hike this 30 mile point to point section of the Ice Age Trail in either direction.  Plan transportation accordingly by either leaving a car at both ends if hiking in a group, or by arranging pick-ups and drop-offs if hiking solo.  There are three backpacking shelters that are available for hikers to spend the night.  Reservations are recommended in advance.  Shelters are three sided and have a gravel floor with benches for sleeping or to store your gear.  I recommend pitching a tent in the grass outside of the shelter.  Outhouses are nearby.  Day one, north to south, is a pleasant 12 mile hike on mostly flat ground through open remnant prairie and oak forests.   Take time to discover and photograph the prairie plants as you pass through Scuppernong Prairie State Natural Area.  A short side trail leads to Brady's Rocks, the site of an early settler's home.  Spend the first night at shelter # 2, which sits atop a ridge that offers views of stunning sunsets.  Water is located nearby at the Forest Headquarters.  Day two is a 10 mile walk through oak and maple forests.  It is a good hike for birdwatchers as numerous birds call the oak savannas home.  Keep your eyes open for Pileated Woodpeckers, the largest woodpecker in North America.  A side trail leads to the Stone Elephant, a site of Native American worship and offerings.  Plan to stop for lunch atop Bald Bluff, another State Natural Area, where remnant prairie still stands.  On a sunny day you can see for miles.  Spend the second night at shelter # 3 near the Oleson Cabin, another home of an early settler.  The only nearby water is from a small pond.  However, the shelter is only a couple hundred yards from the road so you can easily cache water before the hike.  Day three wraps up the hike with a strenous 8 mile hike up and down the moraine through oak forest.  Drop your gear at your car at the ranger station at Whitewater Lake and hike the remaining mile to the end of the trail.  Backtrack your steps to the ranger station and your car, and have lunch in nearby Whitewater.   

* GPS landmark points below are approximations stated by the internet maps used.  They are close representations to the actual landmark.

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