More than 12,000 years ago glaciers sculpted a remarkably beautiful landscape across Wisconsin. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a thousand-mile path that highlights unique landscapes carved out by these glaciers; and is entirely within Wisconsin. It is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails. Millions of people hike, snowshoe, and backpack the Ice Age Trail each Year!
The Ice Age Trail is more than a path through the woods! Many of the best examples of glacial features in Wisconsin are located along the trail; including kettles, potholes, eskers, and glacial erratics. An array of birds and animals can be seen along the trail, including red foxes, black bears, grey wolves, porcupines, woodpeckers, and bald eagles. Although the trail is divided into shorter segments, there are numerous opportunities for longer-distance backpacking trips with camping opportunities.
A hike on the Ice Age Trail can be a simple afternoon stroll on any given section or a more challenging once-in-a-lifetime thru-hike. A complete trail map can be found here.
The Rock County Segments include Storrs Lake, Milton, Janesville's Palmer Park & Rotary Gardens, Gibbs Lake, Magnolia Bluff, The Devil's Staircase, and Arbor Ridge.
The trails at the Storrs Lake Wildlife Area extend two miles through mixed hardwoods, tall prairie grasses, wildflowers, and dry kettles. Hikers can expect to see cranes, deer, turkey, pheasants, and owls.
The portion of trail running through Milton is on sidewalks, traveling past the historic Milton House Museum, The old Milton College, and the old depot area, Milton Junction.
In Janesville, the trail is paved and follows a stream that was once a large glacier melt-water river. The route travels along the west bank of the Rock River into Riverside Park, and passes Palmer Park & Rotary Gardens.
Also in Janesville is The Devil’s Staircase Segment. This is a “Must See”! The trail climbs up a century old stone staircase and travels along the side of a bluff along a natural shelf. Hikers can gaze over rock cliffs at the beautiful Rock River.
The Arbor Ridge Segment is an area of covered bedrock hills, with open views of the mixed hardwood forest and magnificent oaks.
Hikers in Rock County can earn the “Walk Across Rock County” Certificate for exploring all the segments of the Ice Age Trail. Click Here for more details! Since the segments are sometimes connected by country roadways, it is recommended for some hikers to Shuttle from one section to another.
Drift Away Paddle Co offers an affordable shuttle service to hikers in Rock County. Click Here for more details or call 608-295-4348 to schedule a shuttle on our next hiking trip.