Thousand milers conquer Ice Age Trail one step at a time
If you hike
Accessing the trail: In Walworth County, the Ice Age Trail stretches from the Rock County line east of County Line Road and south of Island Road to the Jefferson County line on Young Road, just east of County Highway H. All but five miles is off-road trail.
Parking options: A parking lot on U.S. Highway 12 at the trail crossing east of Whitewater provides access for cars with state park stickers, and so does the Rice Lake parking lot where a connector trail starts. Parking isn’t allowed on roads; however, in Walworth County it is legal to park if all four wheels are off the pavement. (An exception is County Highway H and Bluff Road, where parking along the road is prohibited.) Limited parking can be found at the Oleson Cabin entrance on Duffin Road and at each remaining road crossing.
Scenery abounds: Russ Helwig, a volunteer with the Walworth/Jefferson County Chapter of the Ice Age Alliance, and a longtime leader of hikes along the trail, said the Walworth County segment offers prairies, waterways, interesting glacial features and landmarks like the Ole Oleson Log Cabin, built in 1848 and located near the trail not far from Duffin Road.
Start with a group hike: Helwig leads hikes each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Highway 12 Ice Age National Scenic Trail crossing located about 4 miles east of Whitewater and about a quarter-mile east of the intersection of Highway 12 and Sweno Road. Note that a state park pass is required to park a car at the Highway 12 lot. A daily or yearly pass can be purchased at the meeting place, provided correct change is available.
For more information: Visit online at www.iceagetrail.org.
More Walworth County news
For breaking Walworth County news and hourly updates, visit the WalworthCountyToday.com home page throughout the day.
Hikers cross Bluff Creek during a winter hike. The Ice Age trail is accessible by foot or snowshoes most of the year. Winter will be here before you know it, but that’s no reason to stop hiking. Photo by Russ Helwig.
JANESVILLE — Clara Marr celebrated her 60th birthday last year just the way she wanted — in a scenic spot wearing hiking shoes.
Marr and her husband Russ, both of Janesville, started their journey that day to become Thousand Milers — the name given to those who’ve hiked the entire length of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
The trail is a footpath located entirely in Wisconsin that highlights environmental features sculpted by glaciers that crossed the state more than 12,000 years ago.
In Walworth County, the Ice Age Trail stretches from the Rock County line east of County Line Road and south of Island Road to the Jefferson County line on Young Road, just east of County Highway H. All but five miles is off-road trail.
The length of the trail is closer to about 1,200 miles if you complete a “doughnut” or circular route in the middle of the trail, according to Eric Sherman, communications specialist for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, based in Cross Plains.
Some 600 miles are made up of officially marked trail that follows off-road paths and segments that bring hikers straight down the main streets of small communities. The other half of the route is made up of unofficial “connecting routes.”
The Alliance, a nonprofit organization that works with private landowners and agencies like the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to preserve and maintain the footpaths, hopes to eventually make all connecting routes part of the official Ice Age Trail.
Read the full story in the Oct. 20, 2010 e-edition of Weekender HERE.