The 1200-mile Ice Age Trail was so named because it follows the path where the last continental glacier stood before it melted and receded, leaving behind many glacial artifacts such as potholes and moraines, as well as water features such as kettle ponds and ice-walled lake plains. The full trail travels from Potawatomi State Park in Door County, and ends near St. Croix Falls, visiting wilderness, forest, marshes, towns and cities along the way.
The majority of the various segments welcome pupsters on the trail, but be sure to check with an authority or look for signs designating a particular area as "No Dog-Ville." The hiking and camping ethic on all trail sections is to Leave No Trace, which means carry waste bags, use them to collect waste and carry it out to be discarded. This rule applies to all garbage, wrappers, cans and bottles, etc. Portions of the trail are ADA-accessible, so don't forget to check the particular part you want to hike. While parking is generally free, some public lands may charge a fee, so this is something else to sniff out before you go! Open year-round, most of the trail is groomed for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter, too!
Two of the most interesting and pupular segments of the trail are the Sturgeon Bay Segment and the Chippewa Moraine Trail. The Sturgeon Bay Segment is 13.7 miles on Lake Michigan. This section features three widely diverse hiking experiences, from a rail-to-trail hike that is mostly flat and easy, to an urban hike on city streets, to a a quiet, forested state park. Picnic areas, private campgrounds and a unique peat swamp mingle with overhanging trees, orchards and farmlands. An observation tower sitting atop a dolomite bluff is located at the eastern terminus at Lake Michigan's shore.
In the northwest lies the 7.6-mile Chippewa Moraine trail, pawrfectly scenic in its hummocky terrain and more than 20 kettle lakes that provide water and are home to many migrating birds like woodpeckers, tanagers and vireos. The view of 5 bays that are visible during off-leaf season is furtastic! This segment begins at 267th Avenue (Oak Lane) and finishes at the Chippewa Moraine Reserve's Circle Trail.
Bring any supplies you may need for this long hike, such as water and clean up bags, and ensure your trek stays furtastic!
Whether backpacking the entire trail or staying with separate segments that you can choose, there's something here for every human and every pooch!