One of only eight national scenic trails in the U.S., the Ice Age Trail spans approximately 1200 miles in Wisconsin. Currently, only about 575 miles of the trail are open to the public for hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing. Established in 1958, the Ice Age Trail Alliance is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization whose mission is to preserve Wisconsin’s cultural and glacial heritage for the education and enjoyment for present and future generations. The organization has 21 chapters, including the Baraboo Hills Chapter and over 2,000 members.
The dominant feature of Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail is located in Sauk County’s small town of Baraboo. Formed 1.6 billion years ago, the Baraboo Hills rise 500 feet above the surrounding landscape. The Green Bay Lobe covered the eastern half of the Baraboo Hills and deposited the end moraine, which created Devil’s Lake. To the north and south of the Baraboo Hills, the trail crosses glacial out-wash plains and small moraines. A combination of interesting geology, diverse fauna, prehistoric effigy mounds, historic Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) buildings and spectacular scenery make Devil’s Lake a popular “must-see” destination. The Ice Age Trail takes in much of this story as it winds through the park.
The Baraboo Hills Chapter portion of the trail lies nestled approximately seven miles south of Baraboo, Wisconsin. The trail begins at the Merrimac ferry and Lake Wisconsin, continues for approximately four miles through Riverland Conservancy’s wetland and prairie before traveling along the bluffs surrounding Devil’s Lake at Devil’s Lake State Park. A spur of the trail, which is approximately 4.4 miles in length begins on Hwy 113, and concludes at Parfrey’s Glen, another hidden treasure of Baraboo.
Memberships to the Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation provide much-needed financial support to help preserve the Ice Age Trail. Five dollars of each membership are allocated to the member’s local chapter. For more information about becoming a volunteer or offering financial support for the Baraboo Hills Chapter click here.