EXPEDITION PLANNER: Ice Age Trail, Wisconsin
DRIVE TIME: The Jerry Lake segment is 2 1/2 hours (about 160 miles) east of Minneapolis-St. Paul, and 4 hours (240 miles) northwest of Milwaukee.
THE WAY: From Medford, take WI 13 to WI 64, then drive west 4 miles on
WI 64 to County Highway E. Turn north on E and go 26 miles to Forest Service Road 102. Continue 1.6 miles west (200 yards past the North Fork bridge) and park.
TRAILS: The Ice Age Trail winds for 42 miles across the Medford Ranger Dis
trict. The Jerry Lake segment, combined with the Chippewa Lobe Loop, makes a good 18-mile point-to-point hike (car shuttle required). Waterproof boots and trekking poles are useful for creek crossings.
ELEVATION: The trail is at a shade under 1,400 feet, with almost no elevation change.
CAN’T MISS: The impressive hemlock grove south of the South Fork crossing.
CROWD CONTROL: Solitude prevails on the Jerry Lake segment. The Ice Age Trail is closed during the gun deer-hunting season (usually the week of Thanksgiving). Use caution and wear bright colors during other fall hunting seasons. Check with rangers for hunting season dates.
SEASON: The Jerry Lake segment typically is snow-free from mid-April to late October. Beware of bugs in early summer.
GUIDES: Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation (IAPTF) Jerry Lake Segment #61 map ($1), or Forest Service map Ice Age National Scenic Trail (free), both available from the IAPTF (see Contact below).
WALK SOFTLY: Lakes and streams are abundant, so be sure to camp at least 200 feet from water.
CONTACT: Medford Ranger District, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, (715) 748-4875; www.fs.fed.us/r9/cnnf. Ice Age Park
& Trail Foundation, (800) 227-0046; www.iceagetrail.org.