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The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,000 mile trail within the state boarders of Wisconsin. The Ice Age Trail highlights the landscape and features left by a glacier thousands and thousands of years ago. Today, the Ice Age trail has over one million users yearly and is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States.
The Ice Age Trail makes its way through 31 counties with a western terminus in Interstate State Park in Saint Croix Falls and an eastern terminus in Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay. The trail is open for hiking and backpacking as well as snowshoeing in the winter. A majority of the trail fits the traditional idea of “off road hiking” but some segments go down main streets in cities. The connection from rural to populated areas isn’t a mistake, the trail was designed as something to connect people and communities.
Blue Hills Segment
Less than 20 miles from Rice Lake is the Blue Hills segment of the Ice Age Trail. This portion of the trail was adapted into the trail system in 1992. The Northern and Southern Blue Hills segments offer over 20 miles of hiking through forest lands. This segment crosses scenic streams, wetlands, rolling hills, hardwood forest and wildflowers. The Northern terminus starts at Bucks Lake Road and CTH-F and ends at the Southern CTH-F Trail Access. Primitive style camping is allowed along the trail on county forest lands.
The Ice Age Trail is a great place to enjoy the outdoors with the entire family. Plan a day trip and explore a portion of the segment or spend a few days hiking the whole thing! Whether you decide to be out for a few hours or a few days make sure you have these items to keep your family safe and entertained.
Water/Water Filter: Spending a long day hiking can be exhausting. Make sure you and your family stay hydrated so you don’t suffer from dehydration. We recommend bring full water bottles and a water filter out on the trail. Luckily, the Blue Hills segment of the Ice Age Trail passes through many streams so finding water to filter and fill up on shouldn’t be an issue.
Snacks/Extra Food: While hiking on the trail, be sure to bring fueling snacks to keep your energy up. If you’re spending a few days on the trail, bring an extra day’s worth of food – just in case! We love bring Larabars as a snack because they are lightweight, filling, and use real, wholesome ingredients (no added sugar!) to keep your energy up and level.
First Aid Kit: Although we always hope nothing goes wrong when hiking – it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you have a first aid kit with you. Included in that kit should be bandages, gauze, tweezers and disinfectant in case of cuts and bruises.
Binoculars: Quiet days out on the trail can bring out all kinds of wildlife. Make sure you bring a pair of binoculars so you can see all the wildlife in clear detail.
Notebook: Keep the kids entertained on the trail with a notebook and baggies so they can write down and collect items they find on the trail. From wildflowers, to trees, to different animals – their notebooks and baggies should be full!
Clothing: Always be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and conditions. Layering, using non-cotton based clothing, is a great way to control your body temperature while keeping moisture away from your skin. A good pair of hiking boots or shoes are also recommended.
Accessories: Don’t forget the extra, often forgotten items that you’ll appreciate having on the trail. A hat is a great way to keep the sun off your head, as well as keep the bugs at bay. Speaking of bugs, you may want to pack some bug spray as well! Sunscreen is always a good choice when playing outside. Finally, you’ll wish you had sunglasses when you hit the sunny, open parts of the trail, so don’t leave them behind in the car.
Refuel After Your Hike
After a hard day (or days) on the trail, fill up at Adventures Restaurant and Pub in Rice Lake, Wi. Adventures is located on College Drive next to the Red Cedar River. From lobster and steak, to fajitas, Adventures has heartwarming (and stomach filling) dishes to fill you up after a trek outside.
Relax in Rice Lake
Rice Lake, WI is the perfect place to relax and recharge after your hiking trip. Whether you are looking for a quiet place to rest your feet and enjoy the water, or want to go shopping – Rice Lake has everything you need.